GeorgeForeman

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1. ACCORDING to Boxing News, George Foreman looked “fat and slow” as he halted Steve Zouski is four rounds in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 9, 1987. The 38-year-old, weighing over 19st, had not fought since losing to Jimmy Young in 1977 and had been forced back into boxing for financial reasons. Few were taking his return seriously, particularly now that the heavyweight landscape was being ruled by Mike Tyson.

2. ZOUSKI had been hammered by Tyson 12 months before and did not rate the former champion’s chances of regaining his title, saying Foreman is “going to have to do a lot more work and needs some luck,” before adding: “There are a lot of guys out there who are bigger and faster than me who can throw some punches that can reach him.”

3. FOREMAN was not impressive, plodding after Zouski before catching up with him in the fourth. Some onlookers – undoubtedly with memories of Foreman destroying all-comers in the 1970s – feared for Foreman’s future if he persisted with the comeback but the fighter himself said: “Hey, I’ve been off for 10 years. Not one year, not 10 months, but 10 years. In those 10 years I relaxed, got fat and had babies. What else can you expect?”

4. THE old campaigner had planned to seven or eight rounds to lose some rust, but claimed he went for the finish earlier due to a swelling he suffered under his left eye began to worsen. At the end, the 5,000 crowd gave Foreman an ovation but some boos were heard before the finish.

5. FOREMAN earned $24,000 – his percentage of gate receipts – and the minister declared his intention to put the funds towards church work like the youth centre in Houston, Texas.

6. BEFORE the opening bell the favourite looked relaxed and happy to be back inside the ring. It was a far cry from the scowling brute who terrorised Joe Frazier and Ken Norton.

7. TIME had soothed his rage and he admitted feeling compassion, saying he stopped hitting Zouski to give him a break. “I hit him with a left hook and let him recover,” George said. “Can you imagine me doing that 10 years ago?”

8. IN defeat, Zouski slipped to 25-11, a record which included losses to Marvis Frazier and Tony Tubbs, as well as Foreman and Tyson. This was his seventh defeat in a row.

9. CALIFORNIA boxing commission chief Ken Gray wasn’t impressed with the spectacle and wanted to see improvement in Foreman if they were going to allow his comeback to continue. “We approved George on the basis of him being in a good physical state,” said Gray. “But before he fights again I think I would have to talk to him about his weight first and also about facing a stronger opponent. My understanding is that he intends to do both, and that’s fine. But we just want to be sure we don’t have a repeat of this.”

10. SEVEN years later, 45-year-old Foreman stunned the world when he knocked out Michael Moorer to regain the world heavyweight title.

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