T Nation

George Foreman was technically underrated

Looking over some classic Foreman fights, it occurs to me, that I and lots of people had this image of Foreman as nothing more than a slow plodding bruiser with tremendous power and an iron jaw. But I was wrong, he is quite technically underrated, not the prettiest fighter, but a professional through and through.

Take a look at him dismantling Frazier here. Everytime Frazier tries to get inside, Foreman doesn’t just grab or shove, he turns him, holding the center of the ring for much of the fight. When he’s not ready to punch, he keeps Joe at a distance, as soon as he exchanges, he forces Joe to create distance again, very similar to tactics used by Klitschko.

His jab here isn’t as excellent as it is later in his career, but it is solid and workmanlike and he uses it to gauge Frazier as he’s bobbing and weaving.

Foreman doesn’t have great reflexes, but to his credit, Joe’s movement doesn’t fluster him at all the way it did to Ali. He’s very patient and times Joe’s weaves, leading to a very accurate series of punches that of course drop Joe several times.

His technique when punching is actually nearly perfect. Note the turning of the hips, transferring the weight on every punch, the pivot on the left hook, etc.

It was foreman’s style that’s made him one of my all time fav’s

He blocked hooks like a muay thai fighter, and slugged uppercuts from behind his hips. You take away the face and name, and any boxing coach would say that Foreman had some flaws in his technique. Not to say technique isn’t important, but don’t make Tyson fight like Ali, or Foreman like Frazier. The greats always had their signature style, regardless of what popular group think expected of them.

This isn’t a go ahead to negate technique, especially for a younger fighter, but it could be a testament to ingenuity. One of the reasons I like Virgil Hunter as a boxing coach is that he doesn’t change one’s style. Instead, he works with it, and fortifies it.