72 Facts About George Foreman

1.

George Edward Foreman was born on January 10, 1949 and is an American former professional boxer, entrepreneur, minister and author.

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2.

George Foreman is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist.

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3.

George Foreman defended the belt twice before suffering his first professional loss to Muhammad Ali in the iconic Rumble in the Jungle in 1974.

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4.

George Foreman dropped the WBA belt rather than face his mandatory title defense soon after, and following a single successful title defense against Axel Schulz, Foreman relinquished his IBF title as well on June 28, 1995.

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5.

George Foreman is the oldest to ever win the world heavyweight boxing championship of major honors, and the second-oldest in any weight class after Bernard Hopkins.

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6.

George Foreman retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76 wins and 5 losses.

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7.

George Foreman has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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8.

George Foreman was a ringside analyst for HBO's boxing coverage for 12 years until 2004.

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9.

George Foreman grew up in the Fifth Ward community of Houston, Texas, with six siblings.

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10.

Foreman, whom his mother had married when George was a small child, his biological father was Leroy Moorehead.

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11.

George Foreman dropped out of school at the age of 15 and spent time as a mugger.

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12.

At age 16, George Foreman had a change of heart and convinced his mother to sign him up for the Job Corps after seeing an ad for the Corps on TV.

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13.

George Foreman was interested in football and idolized Jim Brown, but gave it up for boxing.

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14.

George Foreman maintained that earning the Olympic gold medal was the achievement he was most proud of in his boxing career, more so than either of his world titles.

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15.

George Foreman turned professional in 1969 with a three-round knockout of Donald Walheim in New York City.

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16.

George Foreman had a total of 13 fights that year, winning all of them.

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17.

In 1970, George Foreman continued his march toward the undisputed heavyweight title, winning all 12 of his bouts.

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18.

In 1971, George Foreman won seven more fights, winning all of them by knockout, including a rematch with Peralta, whom he defeated by knockout in the 10th and final round in Oakland, California, and a win over Leroy Caldwell, whom he knocked out in the second round.

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19.

In 1972, still undefeated and with an impressive knockout record, George Foreman was set to challenge undefeated and undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier.

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20.

Sunshine Showdown took place on January 22, 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica, with George Foreman dominating the fight to win the championship by TKO.

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21.

George Foreman was sometimes characterized by the media as an aloof and antisocial champion.

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22.

George Foreman later attributed his demeanor during this time as an emulation of Sonny Liston, for whom he had been an occasional sparring partner.

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23.

George Foreman defended his title successfully twice during his initial reign as champion.

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24.

George Foreman needed only two minutes to end the fight, one of the fastest knockouts in a heavyweight championship bout.

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25.

In 1974, in Caracas, Venezuela, he faced the highly regarded future hall-of-famer Ken Norton, a boxer noted for his awkward crossed-arm boxing style, crab-like defense, and heavy punch (a style George Foreman emulated in his comeback), who had broken the jaw of Muhammad Ali in a points victory a year earlier.

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26.

George Foreman had cruised past two of the top names in the rankings.

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27.

George Foreman later commented: "That was the best thing that happened to Ali when we were in Africa—the fact that I had to get ready for the fight without being able to box.

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28.

George Foreman was favored, having crushed undefeated heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and toppled formidable challenger Ken Norton both within two rounds.

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29.

The ring ropes were unusually loose, and George Foreman later charged that Angelo Dundee had loosened them as part of Ali's tactic to lean back and away from the wild swings before clinching George Foreman behind the head; Dundee stated that not only did he tighten the ropes because they were so loose due to the heat, Ali came up with the "rope-a-dope" strategy entirely on his own.

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30.

Ali had been known as a fighter of speed and movement, but the rope-a-dope technique worked exactly to plan, since George Foreman had not had a fight that lasted past the fourth round since 1971.

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31.

George Foreman later claimed he was drugged by his trainer prior to the bout.

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32.

When George Foreman got up, Lyle staggered him again, but just as George Foreman seemed finished, he retaliated with a hard right to the side of the head, knocking down Lyle.

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33.

George Foreman said later that he had never been hit so hard in a fight and remembered looking down at the canvas and seeing blood.

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34.

George Foreman's opponent was the skilled boxer Jimmy Young, who had beaten Ron Lyle and lost a very controversial decision to Muhammad Ali the previous year.

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35.

George Foreman fought cautiously early on, allowing Young to settle into the fight.

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36.

Young constantly complained about George Foreman pushing him, for which George Foreman eventually had a point deducted by the referee, although Young was never warned for his persistent holding.

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37.

George Foreman badly hurt Young in round seven, but was unable to land a finishing blow.

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38.

George Foreman was suffering from exhaustion and heatstroke and stated he had a near-death experience.

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39.

George Foreman spoke of being in a hellish, frightening place of nothingness and despair, and realized that he was in the midst of death.

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40.

George Foreman explained that he sensed God asking him to change his life and ways.

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41.

George Foreman continues to speak about his experience on Christian television broadcasts such as The 700 Club and the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

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42.

George Foreman won four more bouts that year, gradually slimming down and improving his fitness.

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43.

George Foreman was still capable of landing heavy single blows, however.

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44.

George Foreman continued his string of victories, winning five more fights, the most impressive being a three-round win over Bert Cooper, who went on to contest the undisputed heavyweight title against Evander Holyfield.

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45.

In 1990, George Foreman met former title challenger Gerry Cooney in Atlantic City.

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46.

Round seven, in which George Foreman knocked Holyfield off balance before being staggered by a powerful combination, was expected to be The Ring's "Round of the Year", though no award was given in 1991.

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47.

Year later, George Foreman fought journeyman Alex Stewart, who had previously been stopped in the first round by Mike Tyson.

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48.

George Foreman knocked down Stewart twice in the second round, but expended a lot of energy in doing so.

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49.

In 1993, George Foreman received another title shot, although this was for the vacant WBO title.

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50.

George Foreman's opponent was Tommy Morrison, a young prospect known for his punching power.

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51.

In 1994, George Foreman again sought to challenge for the world championship after Michael Moorer had beaten Holyfield for the IBF and WBA titles.

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52.

For nine rounds, Moorer easily outboxed him, hitting and moving away, while George Foreman chugged forward, seemingly unable to "pull the trigger" on his punches.

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53.

George Foreman lay flat on the canvas as the referee counted him out.

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54.

George Foreman went back to his corner and knelt in prayer as the arena erupted in cheers.

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55.

Shortly after the 1994 Moorer fight, George Foreman began talking about a potential superfight with Mike Tyson, then the youngest heavyweight champion on record.

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56.

In 1995, The New York Times quoted George Foreman as stating, "If he doesn't sign with Don King, we'll fight before the end of the year.

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57.

WBA demanded that George Foreman fight their number-one challenger, who at the time was the competent, but aging, Tony Tucker.

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58.

For reasons not clearly known, George Foreman refused to fight Tucker and allowed the WBA to strip him of that belt.

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59.

George Foreman finished the fight with a swelling over one eye, but was awarded a controversial majority decision.

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60.

The IBF ordered an immediate rematch to be held in Germany; George Foreman refused the terms and was stripped of his remaining title, yet continued to be recognized as the Lineal Heavyweight Champion.

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61.

In 1996, George Foreman returned to Tokyo, scoring an easy win over the unrated Crawford Grimsley by a 12-round decision.

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62.

Travelogue series of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts called The Walt Disney Magic Hour hosted by George Foreman was supposed to debut as part of PAX's debut lineup in 1998, but never made it to air.

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63.

George Foreman was gracious and philosophical in his loss to Briggs, but announced his "final" retirement shortly afterwards.

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64.

George Foreman was set to make $10 million and Holmes was to make $4 million, but negotiations fell through and the fight was cancelled.

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65.

George Foreman said he had no plans to resume his career as a boxer, but then announced in February 2004 that he was training for one more comeback fight to demonstrate that the age of 55, like 40, is not a "death sentence".

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66.

The bout, against an unspecified opponent, never materialized (George Foreman's wife was widely thought to have been a major factor in the change of plans).

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67.

George Foreman left the sport of boxing after leaving HBO to pursue other opportunities.

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68.

George Foreman had four previous marriages: to Adrienne Calhoun from 1971 to 1974, Cynthia Lewis from 1977 to 1979, Sharon Goodson from 1981 to 1982, and Andrea Skeete from 1982 to 1985.

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69.

George Foreman IV appeared on the second season of the reality television series American Grit, where he placed seventh.

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70.

George Foreman adopted a daughter, Isabella Brandie Lilja, in 2009, and another, Courtney Isaac, in 2012.

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71.

When George Foreman came back from retirement, he argued that his success was due to his healthy eating.

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72.

George Foreman was approached by Salton, Inc, which was looking for a spokesperson for its fat-reducing grill.

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