Big George Foreman: Nothing good will come of pros at the Olympics
George Foreman is one of the all-time awesome, big hitting greats of boxing. No boxer in the history of our sport has achieved what Big George has!
On November 5th 1994 at the age of of 45, he KO’d Michael Moorer in the tenth round with a short perfectly placed booming straight right to win back the World Championship, a staggering 20 years after he’d lost it to Muhammad Ali in Zaire on October 30th 1974. George had retired between 1977 and 1987, but then he dedicated himself to return and achieve, what was thought a herculean feat even beyond his long reach, exceptional resolve and mighty grasp.
Belief in God, his own self belief and hours of lonely extra practice during the middle of the night on a heavy punchbag in the loft of his home, along with a brilliant single minded strategy, earned George that split second miracle of opportunity, which he seized, to do what no man has ever done before, and what probably no person will ever again achieve. He was wearing the same famous red and blue trunks he’d worn during the Ali encounter. The most incredible boxing feat of all time! The first thing Big George did was to look up to the Heavens to thank God, then kneel down in his corner and offer a heartfelt prayer of sincere and humble thanks to Him, as people cheered, wept and just marvelled! History had well and truly been made.
Yet it all started with the Job Corps and Charles Doc Broadus, who inspired and guided young George on his fabled path to boxing. George did not just wade into the pro ranks. His amateur record is 22-4. It culminated in a gold medal in the heavyweight division in the 1968 Mexico Olympic, when George TKO’d Soviet Ionas Chepulis in the second round. One of the most enduring and endearing memories of those Olympic was George bowing to an appreciative audience and waving a small Stars and stripes flag.
Following this, there were also sparring sessions with the formidable Charles Sonny Liston. Four inches taller than Sonny, George remembers the fully mature Sonny with his extraordinary 86 inch reach, as looming ten feet tall in the ring. And Sonny’s manager Dick Saddler pointedly warning Sonny in no uncertain terms, to go easy on impetuous youngster George!
Unfortunately as a raw novice, naïve George with boundless enthusiasm, overflowing energy and heaps of courage, hadn’t picked up the script of sparring etiquette, and audaciously started fighting the surprised and glowering Sonny, who tolerated it for a while, but then cuffed the audacious youngster with an irritable King Lion left, followed by an admonishing follow up right swipe, to rightfully and timely restore the balance of power… and respect! A club for a cub!
The point to all of this is that George who built an extraordinary, phenomenal and so memorable 76-5, with 68 KO’s career, did it via graduated stages. One of those was through the invaluable in depth learning curve of amateur boxing.
Without this, it’s most unlikely that the rest would have followed, and God forbid, 100 million people including me would never have owned the George Foreman grill !!!
So it’s unsurprising that George has a clear, straightforward, straight from the shoulder view of why young, developing, promising rare talented fighters should NOT be baisted and roasted by seasoned pro’s in the forthcoming Olympic Games
“This is my opinion of bringing Professional boxing to the Olympics.
“Myself having been a past member of the USA Team, I dislike the idea and see nothing good coming of it. It will only put the dream of the ‘Ordinary boy and girl,’ farther out of reach. As we can see with Pro basketball there are no Rags to Riches anymore, just the pick of the litter. The Amateur boxer is the life-line of the Olympics. Thank you. – George Foreman.