Living Legend: George Foreman

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HOUSTON – World icon and Texas native George Foreman has been named grand marshal of Houston’s 42nd Annual “Original” Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade.

Foreman (born January 10, 1949) is an American former professional boxer who competed between 1969 and 1997. Nicknamed “Big George,” he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Outside of boxing, he is also an author and entrepreneur.

Foreman was born in Marshall, Texas, but grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward community with his six siblings. After an admittedly troubled childhood, he took up amateur boxing and won a gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Having turned professional the next year, he won the world heavyweight title with a second-round knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. Two successful title defenses were made before Foreman’s first professional loss to Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974. Unable to secure another title opportunity, Foreman retired after a loss to Jimmy Young in 1977.

Following what he referred to as a religious epiphany, Foreman became an ordained Christian minister. Ten years later he announced a comeback and, in 1994 at age 45, he regained a portion of the heavyweight championship by knocking out 26-year-old Michael Moorer to win the unified WBA, IBF, and lineal titles. Foreman is the oldest living world heavyweight boxing champion in history, and the second oldest in any weight class after Bernard Hopkins (at light heavyweight). He retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76 wins (68 knockouts) and 5 losses.

Foreman has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Outside boxing, he is a successful entrepreneur and known for his promotion of the George Foreman Grill, which has sold more than 100 million units worldwide. In 1999, he sold the naming rights to the grill for $138 million.