The George Foreman story is well known and, as is the case with Muhammad Ali, there are plenty of documentaries, books and other tributes looking back on the incredible achievements of the former two-time world heavyweight king out there. As such, fans who have not yet seen the new (released in September of this year) documentary “Foreman,” may feel the Universal Pictures release offers nothing new.
But while it is true there is plenty of stuff featured in the 1hr-21 minute feature that has been covered widely before, there are also some far less well-documented gems for even the biggest fan of “Big George.” For instance: did you know that Foreman, desperate for a return fight with Muhammad Ali, turned up on the film set of Ali’s 1976 bio-flick “The Greatest,” so as to confront Ali and demand the return. Things turned physical and the police were called.
Also featured in “Foreman” is generous coverage of George’s utterly bizarre Canadian (mis) adventure, where Foreman fought five guys in one night; with Ali heckling him from the ringside. When we are reminded of the bad place George was in at the time, of his borderline out of touch with reality mental state, the success of the old champ’s 1987-launched comeback really is all the more remarkable.
And it is the second half of “Foreman” that really inspires and gets the blood pumping. Foreman, against overwhelming odds, managed to regain past glories, even surpass them. Chuck Wepner, one of young George’s opponents, makes an appearance (Wepner stating how Foreman hit him the hardest during his own long and tough career) as do Gerry Cooney and Evander Holyfield; both of whom fought the old George.
Holyfield (who Wepner states should be ranked in the top-3 greatest heavyweights ever) also states how Foreman hit him harder than any other fighter; to the point where “The Real Deal” felt he had actually lost “all my teeth” during the epic “Battle of The Ages” of 1991. Bob Arum has some tales to tell about his working relationship with Foreman, as does Bruce Trampler. Jim Lampley’s recalling of Foreman’s stunning title-regaining win over Michael Moorer, and his own “failure” to prepare a suitable on air verbal reaction to an actual Foreman win, is also a delight to listen to.
“The man behind the greatest comeback in sports history,” reads the tag-line for “Foreman,” and after watching the film, it really does seem to be a fitting statement. George Foreman the fighter really did experience two incarnations, as this latest tribute piece proves.