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Old 08-06-2007, 10:41 PM   #1
Russell
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Default Foreman - Is it telling that...

A 40 some odd year old, overweight man from another era completely was able to win a major title and by and far blow through the 80's and
90's heavyweight scene?

Basically, I'm asking if Foreman's the deciding factor in looking at the quality of the 80's/90's HW scene as opposed to the "golden age" of the 70's.
The closest thing to a direct comparison that we have, considering no one really had the longetivity that big George did.

Thoughts? Opinions?
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

No, I think it was a case where Foreman was an anomaly in being so good for his age.

There was a thread earlier about weak linear champs in strong eras, and Moorer and Foreman were two of the guys I thought who fit. Moorer was a pretty skilled southpaw but often a lazy fighter, and didn't have the sturdiest of chins. He also ate his way up to heavyweight.

Foreman did amazing things for his age, but he was also very careful in picking his opposition.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Foreman was an exception.

Look at Ali, Frazier, Norton, Lyle and Shavers. They never carried any real success past the 70s.


There are two types of fighters that can have extended careers: Technically sound fighters who rely on thier technical ability or Big Strong Durable power punching fighters.

From the HW division guys like Holmes, Lewis are guys that, if in similar circumstances they could have replicated Foreman's sucess.


Remember George's level of opposition was handpicked. Its not like he tore through the division's elite.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

He cherry picked, yeah... But he also tore down some impressive guys, even more so looking at his age and weight.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell
He cherry picked, yeah... But he also tore down some impressive guys, even more so looking at his age and weight.
Holyfield was cherrypicked? Probably the riskiest fight at the time. And he was still for years afterwards calling out Tyson.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rr94
Holyfield was cherrypicked? Probably the riskiest fight at the time. And he was still for years afterwards calling out Tyson.
Well obviously not for the TITLE. Can't cherry-pick there.

But look at who else he faced. In his 24 fights leading up to the Holyfield fight, the closest thing he faced to a top 10 heavyweight contender was Adilson Rodriguez. He was on the fringes of the top 10, and had recently been stretched in 2 by Holyfield.

After the Holyfield fight, Foreman fought journeyman Jimmy Ellis (nice if you go back 20 years and change the skin tone), Alex Stewart (whose own manager said he had lost his confidence and ability to take a shot), a Pierre Coetzer coming off 2 straight stoppage losses (including a brutal fight with Riddick Bowe), and then took on a young dangerous contender in Tommy Morrison, who won handily. Then came the Michael Moorer win, and then Foreman was stripped of his belts not too long after. He faced fringe contenders Alex Schulz, Lou Savarese, Crawford Grimsley, and Shannon Briggs, who fell apart in his biggest fight before that in 3 rounds against Darroll Wilson.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Who doesn't dispose of fringe guys and tomato cans on the way to the top?

That's what Foreman did in the beginning of his comeback. Built his reputation back up. Got to remember, no one was taking him seriously at first. Of course he was going to have to prove himself, all over again at that.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

It's easy to look good against hand-picked fighters. Sure, Foreman was a gifted fighter who was able to fight well at an advanced age. However, his quality of opposition was horrible, at least prior to Holyfield.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

In terms of longevity balanced against averaged quality of opposition, Big George fared pretty well. I'd say he's pretty much in a class of his own in the heavyweight division. But keep in mind he had a long layoff, which helped minimize damage to the old noggin and wear and tear on the body, especially the back and knees, from keeping in shape. Gym work is hard on the body after age 40, even without fighting.

Every boxer who's earned some credibility deserves to pick a cherry now and then, especially after long layoffs and between tough fights. Besides, it gives obscure boxers below the top 10 and 20 level a shot at glory.

What really made Big George ver. 2 special was what he learned from mistakes of his youth. He had more ring smarts. He learned to pace himself. Instead of throwing bombs with every shot he'd mix up deceptively soft punches ("Just keep touching 'em," he used to say), just like a well aged baseball pitcher and spitballer. He learned that focus and concentration counted for more than meanness and intimidation.

And he knew when to get out.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell
A 40 some odd year old, overweight man from another era completely was able to win a major title and by and far blow through the 80's and
90's heavyweight scene?

Basically, I'm asking if Foreman's the deciding factor in looking at the quality of the 80's/90's HW scene as opposed to the "golden age" of the 70's.
The closest thing to a direct comparison that we have, considering no one really had the longetivity that big George did.

Thoughts? Opinions?
The best heavyweights of the 1980's and 1990's were Holmes, M. Spinks, Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, and Lewis. Foreman did not defeat any of them and only fought Holyfield. Looking at The Ring's yearly ratings, only Moorer seems to have been rated when George defeated him. Cooney had long fallen out of the ratings. Even Rodrigues had not been rated in 1989.

Does Foreman's success prove anything about the 1970's versus the 1990's. No. I don't think so. If Sonny Liston were about the age Foreman was in 1995 in 1978, could he have perhaps beaten Leon Spinks or Ken Norton?--he certainly would have had a shot.
What if Godoy had gotten the decision over Joe Louis in 1940. Would a comebacking Dempsey have had a shot at beating Godoy? I think so.
Neither would prove the fifties were better than the seventies or the twenties better than the forties. It would only prove things broke right.

All that said, Foreman actually did it and it is a unique achievement.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lex
In terms of longevity balanced against averaged quality of opposition, Big George fared pretty well. I'd say he's pretty much in a class of his own in the heavyweight division. But keep in mind he had a long layoff, which helped minimize damage to the old noggin and wear and tear on the body, especially the back and knees, from keeping in shape. Gym work is hard on the body after age 40, even without fighting.

Every boxer who's earned some credibility deserves to pick a cherry now and then, especially after long layoffs and between tough fights. Besides, it gives obscure boxers below the top 10 and 20 level a shot at glory.

What really made Big George ver. 2 special was what he learned from mistakes of his youth. He had more ring smarts. He learned to pace himself. Instead of throwing bombs with every shot he'd mix up deceptively soft punches ("Just keep touching 'em," he used to say), just like a well aged baseball pitcher and spitballer. He learned that focus and concentration counted for more than meanness and intimidation.

And he knew when to get out.
But George picked a whole field of cherries! Yes, I think George was a remarkable fighter with a great story. But in my view, too many people confused George the fighter with George the salesman. George came back as a mellow, happy-go-lucky kind of a guy. He had the angle of him being the feared George Foreman from the 1970's who came back to fight as a bald, overweight preacher. George had a great story, and it was his story - more so than his fighting ability - that gave George the big breaks. He had to pick the weak competition like he did, or he would have been defeated long before he lost to Holyfield. George came back for the money, period. And he wasn't going to stand for any competition to get in his way of a big money fight. I guess a down-home preacher man can be just as easily seduced by the bright lights and big money as the next guy.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

While I don't think Foreman's comeback proved the 70's were superior to the late 80's / early 90's, I think it does prove that a great chin and a big punch can take you quite far in the heavyweight division.
I can imagine a well-preserved David Tua in 10 years being able to do quite well for a while, and to a point mimic George's comeback.

In the long run though, a big punch and sturdy chin only takes you so far. What impressed me a lot with George was how extremely accurate he was. He improved a thousand fold in this area compared to his prime years.
He also learned tp pace himself and set up the KO instead of wasting all that energy like he did in his youth.
All in all, I think he was a better all-round fighter the second time round.

George was probably just too slow to compete with the likes of Bowe, Lewis, Holyfield & Tyson, but he still remained competitive in all his comeback fights against good opposition like Morrison, Moorer, Briggs etc.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

At the end of the day most eras never fulill the potential of their talent because of circumstances and politics and fighters who are not the best around at the time end up as champion.

What sets the 70s apart is not so much that there was more talent but that the big fights were made and it was largley fought out between the bigest names.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:50 AM   #14
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLD FOGEY
The best heavyweights of the 1980's and 1990's were Holmes, M. Spinks, Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, and Lewis. Foreman did not defeat any of them and only fought Holyfield. Looking at The Ring's yearly ratings, only Moorer seems to have been rated when George defeated him. Cooney had long fallen out of the ratings. Even Rodrigues had not been rated in 1989.

Does Foreman's success prove anything about the 1970's versus the 1990's. No. I don't think so. If Sonny Liston were about the age Foreman was in 1995 in 1978, could he have perhaps beaten Leon Spinks or Ken Norton?--he certainly would have had a shot.
What if Godoy had gotten the decision over Joe Louis in 1940. Would a comebacking Dempsey have had a shot at beating Godoy? I think so.
Neither would prove the fifties were better than the seventies or the twenties better than the forties. It would only prove things broke right.

All that said, Foreman actually did it and it is a unique achievement.
This post says it all.

In the end it's the distinction of the contender, not the era.

An old Patterson was also succesful in the 70's while taking the hard path, not the easy one that Foreman took. At high age he was never destroyed in the 70's while he was in the late 50's/early 60's, which many of the people here would hold in lower regard than the 70's.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Foreman - Is it telling that...

George came back to knok out the undefeated heavyweigh champion of the world. Surely that counts for something!
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