How times have changed for a young heavyweight coming up through the pro ranks as he fights for recognition, experience and a ranking. Take the legendary George Foreman: back in December of 1969, his first six months as a pro almost complete, a young and raw 20 year old version of “Big George” fought no less than three times that month – on the 6th, the 16th and the 18th of the month.
Indeed, activity levels for a young fighter, in fact for any fighter, sure have changed. Foreman crushed a guy named Bob Hazelton in his first bout of December that year, then he pounded out a wide ten-round unanimous decision over Levi Forte in fight #2 that month, before returning to action just TWO DAYS later, to whack out a guy named Gary Hobo Wiler inside a round.
The following month, at the start of a brand new decade, George fought on two occasions; taking care of Charley Polite (these two would meet again, in Foreman’s infamous “Toronto Five” exhibition of 1975) and the huge Jack O’Halloran (famous for his portrayal of the mute villain “Nom” in two of the classic ‘Superman’ movies).
At the rate he was going, with a quite astonishing 28 pro bouts, all wins, accumulated by the time he had been boxing for a mere two years, a Foreman title shot was surely closing in. Instead, it would be January of 1973 before George got his first crack at the world. But Foreman’s activity levels were amazing in those first three-and-a-half years at pro level: thirteen wins in 1969, twelve wins in ’70, seven wins in ’71 and five wins in ’72.
Managed brilliantly and looked after by “Doc” Broadus and Dick Sadler, Foreman was as ready as can be when his shot at champion Joe Frazier came. Are fighters moved too slowly these days, or where fighters moved too fast, pushed too hard, back then?
Ask Foreman today and he will likely tell you his handlers knew exactly what they were doing. And the proof is in the pudding. The young Foreman, with all that testosterone and sheer aggression, needed to be released as often as possible and he was kept busy, busy, busy. George did little aside from train and fight, train and fight, train and fight…..
And today he’s a living legend who could pass on plenty of knowledge. In fact, George Foreman is the greatest living heavyweight today.