It seemed as though something pretty memorable always happened whenever George Foreman fought in Canada. It was in Toronto when Foreman engaged in that quite bizarre exhibition, when he fought five fighters, back-to-back in less than an hour. It would be 15 years before Foreman returned to Canada to fight. A lot had changed by July of 1990 and the night Foreman faced Canadian heavyweight champ Ken Lakusta.
Foreman was now 41 years of age, he was bald, plump, ridiculed in many quarters, and Foreman was a smiling, couldn’t care less fighter/preacher. The critics couldn’t get to George and neither could his “hand-picked” comeback opponents. Well, one of them did manage to do so. Foreman was 22-0(21) in the comeback he had shocked everyone by launching in March of 1987, and he had hardly been hit. Facing cruiserweights, even light-heavies, Foreman was following the pattern of quantity over quality.
Foreman was staying busy and he had, by the time of the Lakusta fight, won over many millions of fans. When facing Lakusta in Alberta on July 31, 1990, Foreman heard some boos; this something he had not experienced since his initial career, when he was a mean, brooding Texan monster. As he awaited the first bell against the 20-15(11) Lakusta, Foreman relaxed as he stood in his corner, his arms resting on the ropes as he scanned the crowd, looking quite emotionless.
Foreman dominated the opening round but something seemed to be a little different in comparison to Foreman’s previous comeback bouts; George looked to be in a bad mood, somewhat irritable. This seemed clear in round-two when Lakusta, trying to hold after he had been stung by yet another clubbing Foreman blow, felt Foreman’s elbow come smashing down on his arm. Foreman was in no mood to be held. The referee warned Foreman, yet the former champ soon repeated the foul when Lakusta attempted another clinch later in the round.
Then, in the third-round, the fireworks, as briefly as they lasted, really got the crowd pumped up. Foreman decked Lakusta with a sweeping left hand to the head early in the session, 35 year old Lakusta collpasing to the canvas, looking all done. Showing real heart, Lakusta managed to haul himself up at “9,” but it was surely a matter of time. Foreman lumbered over, thinking he had a sitting duck of a wounded opponent in front of him; one that needed putting out of its misery.
Instead, in stunning fashion, Lakusta cranked up THE punch of his entire career. A massive, and wholly unexpected, overhand right crashed into Foreman’s skull and for a brief moment the big guy who had been so careful in picking his opponents wobbled. In fact, Foreman lurched. It was the first time he had been hit this hard in a long, long time. The crowd went nuts and the two men – the 261 pound giant and the “small” 216 pound underdog – slugged it out.
For around ten seconds, it was thrilling stuff. Foreman ended the fun by putting Lakusta back in his place, a no-nonsense combo sending Lakusta down and this time out. But, boy, did Kenny go out with a bang! Foreman, swollen underneath his right eye, said he had been surprised by Lakusta’s big punch, but not hurt. Lakusta, for one or two seconds, had the jackpot in his sights.
“He got that mean look in his eye,” Lakusta said post-fight. “I could sense he got really mad in there.”
That George did. Foreman’s comeback spiel was one of “never a shot in anger.” But “Big George” was plenty angry in the Lakusta fight.