About George Foreman:
George Foreman was born to J.D. and Nancy Foreman on January 10, 1949, in the town of Marshall, Texas. An impoverished youth, Foreman often bullied younger children and didn’t like getting up early for school. Foreman became a mugger and brawler on the hard streets of Houston’s Fifth Ward by age 15.
Luckily, he was saved by the Lyndon B. Johnson Job Corps, a program developed to help disadvantaged kids by teaching them vocational job skills. Foreman traveled to California which is where he met Doc Broaddus, who was a Job Corps counselor and a boxing coach. It was Broaddus who encouraged Foreman to become a boxer.
Once he began to train at the gym, Foreman rapidly established an impressive amateur record. The culmination of his amateur boxing career came at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, where he won a gold medal in only his 25th amateur fight. He got extra attention when he brandished an American flag after his win.
In 1969, Foreman turned professional and within two years, Foreman was ranked the No. 1 challenger by the WBA and WBC. By 1972, Foreman had a perfect 37-0 record which included 35 knockouts.
Foreman got his shot at the world heavyweight championship when he fought Joe Frazier on January 22, 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica. Frazier was the favorite going into the bout, but Foreman knocked him down six times en route to a second round knockout. An unprecedented TV audience watched Foreman become the champ because the fight was HBO Boxing’s first-ever broadcast.
After becoming the champion, Foreman successfully defended his title twice. He beat Puerto Rican heavyweight champion Jose Roman in only 50 seconds, which at the time was the shortest heavyweight championship match ever. Foreman also beat Ken Norton, who had just beaten Muhammad Ali, in a mere two rounds. Winning those two fights then set up one of the most famous fights in history: “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Foreman and Muhammad Ali.
Ali used a tactic later known as “rope-a-dope” to wear out Foreman who threw hundreds of punches during the fight. Then in the eighth round, Ali unloaded with a series of punches that knocked out Foreman and allowed Ali to regain the heavyweight championship of the world.
After not fighting in 1975, Foreman returned to boxing and won five consecutive fights, all by knockout. Then in Puerto Rico on March 17, 1977, Foreman lost in a decision to Jimmy Young. It was in his dressing room after the fight that Foreman had a religious experience that changed his life forever. Foreman gave up boxing and became a born-again Christian.
He was ordained a minister in 1978 and began preaching in his hometown of Houston, Texas. In 1984, he founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Center, a non-denominational place for kids who need direction like he once did.