Better Late Than Never
George Foreman appears as himself on the new NBC alternative series "Better Late Than Never."
Trying to find a way to deal with a tough childhood, Foreman was encouraged to become a boxer during his teens. Once he began to train at the gym, Foreman rapidly established an impressive amateur record. The culmination of his amateur boxing career arrived at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City where he won a gold medal in only his 25th amateur fight.
A year later, Foreman turned professional and within two years was ranked the number one challenger in the world heavyweight division. By 1972, Foreman had a perfect 37-0 record, which included 35 knockouts.
Foreman got his shot at the championship when he fought Joe Frazier in 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica. Frazier was the favorite going into the bout, but Foreman knocked him down six times en route to a second-round knockout.
After becoming the champion, Foreman successfully defended his title twice. He beat Puerto Rican heavyweight champion Jose Roman in only 50 seconds, which at the time was the shortest heavyweight championship match ever. Foreman also beat Ken Norton, who had just beaten Muhammad Ali, in a mere two rounds. Winning those two fights led to one of the most famous fights in history - "The Rumble in the Jungle" between Foreman and Ali.
Ali used a tactic later known as "rope-a-dope" to wear out Foreman, who threw hundreds of punches during the fight. Then in the eighth round, Ali unloaded with a series of punches that knocked out Foreman and allowed Ali to regain the heavyweight championship.
After taking some time off, Foreman returned to boxing and won five consecutive fights, all by knockout. Then in Puerto Rico in 1977, Foreman lost in a decision to Jimmy Young. It was in his dressing room after the fight that Foreman had a religious experience that changed his life forever. He gave up boxing and became a born-again Christian.
Foreman was ordained a minister in 1978 and began preaching in his hometown of Houston. In 1984, he founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Center, a non-denominational place for kids who need direction like he once did. In 1980, Foreman founded the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, by the mid-1980s, Foreman was running out of money and people around him were advising him to close the Youth and Community Center. Foreman saw how much the Center was helping people, so he was determined to do what was necessary to keep it open. So, in 1987, after not fighting for almost 10 years to the day, Foreman returned to the ring.
While there was no shortage of detractors, Foreman proved them all wrong when he kept piling up win after win. In fact, Foreman won 24 consecutive fights during his comeback, including 22 by knockout. At age 42, Foreman's success and popularity earned him a chance at the title against unbeaten Evander Holyfield. The fight went the full 12 rounds and while Holyfield won in a decision, Foreman gained a great deal of credibility.
After more than a year out of the ring, Foreman took on new champ Michael Moorer in 1994 and knocked him out in the 10th round. With the victory, at the age of 45, Foreman became the oldest fighter ever to win the heavyweight crown, as well as the boxer with the most time between one world championship and the next. Foreman gave away his titles in 1995, after defending them against Axel Schulz and refusing a rematch. Foreman ultimately retired in 1997 after compiling an amazing 76-5 record.
Since the early 1990s, Foreman had discovered his talent for salesmanship, and by the end of the decade, he was making millions off of his appearances in infomercials marketing the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine. To date, more than 100 million of the units have sold worldwide.
Foreman tends to his ministry at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ where he preaches four times a week. He also loves spending free time with his family on his ranch in Marshall, Texas.