Heavyweight legend George Foreman had some truly incredible career, or careers. It could be argued how the world actually saw two George Foremans: the big, bad and brooding 1970s version, who was a lethal and freakishly strong puncher who was also prone to run out of stamina if extended beyond a few rounds, and the jovial but still big and bad 1990s version, who was an amazingly relaxed fighter more than capable of going the full 12-rounds should the sledgehammer KO not produce itself.
Foreman enjoyed two runs as world champion, from 1973 to 1974 and again from 1994 to 1997 (in lineal terms; eventually losing to Shannon Briggs in a controversial fight). But when did the world see the best George Foreman the fighter? When was “Big George” at his peak? George takes to twitter often these days, answering questions put to him by his many millions of fans, and recently he was asked when he was at his peak.
Foreman replied thus:
“I was the best I ever was at age 46! Something I’d waited for for years. Boxing, sparring, bag punch and roadwork were like a dream.”
It’s interesting that Foreman would say he was at his best at age 46. Foreman was in fact 45 years old the night he KO’d Michael Moorer to regain the crown (45 years and ten months). At age 46, George fought just once; winning a close and debatable majority decision over a then unknown outsider called Axel Schulz. Still, Foreman has always told it like it is, and if he says he was at his best at age 46, then he was indeed at his best at age 46! Maybe George actually means he felt his best at age 46, both in the ring and in training.
It’s tough to imagine a more formidable heavyweight fighting machine than the 1973/74 version of Foreman though (his stamina shortcomings aside). Back then, as he admits today, his sole game-plan was “open the door, run to the ring and knock ’em out quick!” But he sure was proficient at doing just that. Was the 24 year old Foreman capable of beating anyone apart from the one and only Muhammad Ali? Maybe.
The 46 year old version of Foreman was certainly smarter than his much younger self, and he still had that punching power. But no way was he as intimidating, as fast and ferocious or as ruthless. It’s an interesting Dream Fight: the young Foreman Vs. the old Foreman. Which would have won? The way George tells is, there would have been a clear winner.
Foreman KO’d perhaps the hardest foe any boxer can come up against in Father Time and he did it at (almost) 46 years of age. Come to think of it, maybe the unfortunate Michael Moorer met the best ever George Foreman. And Moorer sure regretted it, didn’t he!