Feature | Mar 09 2017

In depth – the George Foreman comeback recalled

James Slater takes a penetrating look at George Foreman's extraordinary comeback
George Foreman
george-foreman  |  Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports

THIRTY years ago, March 9, 1987, former heavyweight king George Foreman shocked the boxing world by launching a comeback that was mostly, if not exclusively inspired by a need for money.

“Big George,” was 38, he had been largely forgotten by the sports world and he had not boxed for a full decade. Worse still, Foreman – who had turned to religion and had become a full time preacher after experiencing a life-changing episode inside his dressing room in Puerto Rico after his losing fight with Jimmy Young – had ballooned to around 300-pounds.

It was a dangerous decision to attempt a ring return, even if George had managed to get his weight down to a considerably lighter, but still too heavy 267. Foreman returned in Sacramento, against journeyman Steve Zouski, and a fairly large crowd of onlookers, mostly curiosity seekers, was on hand to see what the overweight, shaven-headed former heavyweight king could do as he set out to earn enough cash to save his Youth and Community centre in Houston.