World champion in boxing 2000 in heavyweight at the age of 45

George Foreman was born on January 10, 1949 to J.D. and Nancy Foreman in Marshall, Texas as one of seven children. He started boxing in the Job Corps, and had only eighteen amateur fights before he won the Olympic gold medal as a heavyweight in 1968. He became a professional in June of 1969 and won his first 34 fights to gain a shot at the heavyweight championship against Joe Frazier. Thirty-one of those victories came on knockouts, 29 of them before the 6th round. After two defenses, Foreman suffered his first loss, an 8th-round knockout by Muhammad Ali on October 30, 1974, at Kinshasha, Zaire. After a series of exhibitions in 1975, Foreman won his next five fights by knockout but he retired after losing a 12-round decision to Jimmy Young in 1977. Ten years later, he came out of retirement and knocked out thirteen opponents before meeting Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title in 1991. Holyfield retained the championship with a 12-round decision. Foreman returned to the ring in 1994, after being away for nearly a year and half, and became the oldest champion ever in any weight division by knocking out Michael Moorer in the 10th round of their IBF/WBA heavyweight title fight on Nov. 5. After that he won a fight against Axel Schulz in 1995. Foreman has won 75 of his 80 professional fights, 68 by knockout. 

In his youth, he was a miserable bully with a chip on his shoulder. But, then he got into boxing and became the World Heavyweight Champion. He had it all...but he still wasn't happy or at peace until he met the Lord. His conversion happened on March 17, 1977. Just a few days previously, life had been looking good. He was on the comeback trail after having lost his title to Muhammad Ali a few years before. And now he was ready to fight a big fight against Jimmy Young, one that would be a set up for a rematch title fight. Several years ago, he spoke with David Mainse on 100 Huntley Street about that day and his life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ: "I had just fought a fight with Jimmy Young...just a decision, it wasn't a tough fight or anything. After I found out I had lost, I went back to the dressing room...just a normal cooling off. And let me tell you business picked up for me there! I had always prayed to God. I believed there was probably a God somewhere; and I'd always said, 'No matter what, everybody got their own religion as long as they treat people right it's OK.' But when I left that dressing room, I was screaming the name of Jesus." 

Foreman's friends and trainers got him up off of the floor and onto a training table where the sensations of meeting Jesus and feeling the pains of His death continued: "So as I laid on the table, I'm coming back into my body; and I told one of my doctors to move his hand because the thorns are making me bleed on his hand. And blood started running down my face. And I told the other one to move his hand because on my hands and on my feet there was blood. All of the places where Jesus had blood when He died. I never had believed in Jesus; I wasn't going to go for it. I never would have, but let me tell you Jesus is alive. And I started screaming 'Jesus Christ come to life!' And I walked out of that room...jumped off of that table...and headed for a cold shower 'cause that's the last thing you would ask me to do after a fight."

After the loss, he had entered the dressing room and began pacing up and down, obsessed with thoughts of his future and about his relationship with God. He was obsessed with the thought of death. This inner conflict and suddenly wrenching turmoil left him lying on the floor. He talked about it later: "If you stick a match to a piece of paper, for a moment it stands up after it's burned; then you touch it, and it crumbles. I saw the whole world crumble behind me, and all I had was nothing. I had to leave all of it in the world. I couldn't even tell my mother 'bye,' I was dead! I was dead! And I started crying saying 'Lord I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die, I can still box,'...and I was talking to God...'I can still box!' God said 'I don't want your money, I want you!'" 

I started screaming words like 'hallelujah I've been born again.' They thought I was crazy and hurt, so they took me to the hospital. They thought I was losing my mind. And they ran all kinda tests on me for two or three days, and nothin' was wrong with me. But I saw the glory of God...I saw it! And let me tell you that Jesus is alive...there's a living God, and I didn't even know it. I was wondering about it before, but now I'm not wondering. I know! And I thank God because there's a lot of people who think for sure...and some think maybe, or maybe not. But I know. God...I don't know...for some reason touched me, an old sinner. There's a lot of clean men out in the world doing everything right, and He showed me that there's a living God."

Since then I've been telling everybody! I don't care where you come from or what you're doing, stop it and learn about God and the Bible. And why God did this to me, I don't know; but I just praise Him every day. I dropped everything I was doing to tell the whole world that Jesus Christ is alive. God took me all over the country fighting, and I was just trying to exalt George Foreman. Now I'm going all over to try and tell them about Jesus".

George Foreman became on ordained minister and for ten years left boxing to preach the Gospel. He returned to the ring on March 9th, 1987 to raise money for the youth center he had started in Houston, Texas. Foreman won the WBC heavy weight championship in 1994 at the age of 45, becoming the oldest man in history to capture the title. He's still active in and around the ring today, most recently as a cable TV boxing color commentator. 

Here you can find his homepage.

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