Was George Foreman the hardest-punching heavyweight champion in history?
Of course, no hard-and-fast, empirical evidence exists for comparing the punching power of George Foreman with, say, Mike Tyson, or any other heavyweight champion in history. However, former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, who fought both men, including a 42-year-old, 275lb Foreman in the so-called ‘Battle of the Ages’ in 1991, called ‘Big George’ the hardest puncher he ever faced.
Famously an ‘arm’ puncher, who threw punches from the shoulder without putting his body weight behind them, Foreman was, nonetheless, blessed with immense physical strength and fearless constitution, which more than compensated for what he lacked in speed, stamina and technical prowess. Indeed, in his early years, Foreman was probably the most intimidating puncher in the history of boxing.
Foreman first won the world heavyweight title against ‘Smokin’’ Joe Frazier in the so-called ‘Sunshine Showdown’ in Jamaica in 1973. In a devastating performance, Foreman punched Frazier from pillar-to-post, knocking the hitherto undefeated, undisputed champion down six times before winning by technical knockout after 1 minute 35 seconds of the second round. Foreman retired for the first time in 1977, but returned to the ring a decade later at the age of 38; seven years later, he became the oldest heavyweight champion in his history when, at the age of 45, he knocked out another hitherto undefeated champion, Michael Moorer, in the tenth round of the so-called ‘One for the Ages’ in Nevada with a clean, short right hand.