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Difference Between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman

On Wed, 30th October 1974, a great battle was staged between two world boxing icons. The battle has remained entrenched in our history books and hailed as the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship.

This was no ordinary fight and has remained to be extraordinary, many decades after. It was the legendary fight between two world heavyweights, George Foreman, and Muhammad Ali.

It was held in the 20th of May Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Scheduled to run for 15 rounds, it went on to raise the levels of the two champions up to date. Muhammad Ali defeated Foreman through a knockout just before the eighth round concluded.

So, who are these guys who changed the face of boxing? Who is George Foreman and why was he considered the world’s undefeated heavyweight champion? Who was Muhammad Ali? Do these two have any similarities and what differences do they have between themselves?


Who is Muhammad Ali?

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, philanthropist, and activist. Born on 17th January 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., he went on to become one of the world’s most hailed kings of the ring. He came into the limelight after defeating the then world’s undefeated heavyweight champion, George Freeman in The Rumble in the Jungle fight held in October 1974 in Congo, formerly Zaire.

Born and raised in Kentucky, around Louisville, he attended Central High School and started training as an amateur boxer at the age of 12. At the age of 18 years, Cassius Clay won his first gold medal after winning a light heavyweight battle during the 1960 Summer Olympics games held on Rome. He turned to professional boxing that year and also converted to Islam after 1961, changing names to Muhammad Ali. He ditched his birth name although he called it his “slave name”.

At just the age of 22, Ali won the world heavyweight championship in a major upset against Sonny Liston.

Ali, nicknamed “The Greatest” has been widely regarded as among the world’s most significant and idolized sports figures of the 20th century. He was also regarded as among the greatest boxers of all time.

Muhammad Ali died on June 3, 2016.

Controversies and Criminal Records

One of the actions that celebrated him among the African Americans was setting himself as an example of racial pride when he expressed resistance against white domination during the Civil Rights Movement. He is also remembered for antagonizing the white establishment when he refused to be drafted into the U.S army citing his religious beliefs. He also expressed his opposition to the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Ali was also known for his womanizing skills and had several kids born of his extramarital affairs.


Who is George Foreman?

George Edward Foreman is a former American professional boxer. Born in Marshall, Texas, the U.S on January 10, 1949, Foreman was active between 1969 to 1977 and 1987 to 1997. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion as well as an Olympic gold medalist.

Foreman took to amateur boxing after a troubled childhood and went ahead to win a gold medal in the heavyweight division. This was during the 1968 Summer Olympics. He then turned professional in 1969 and won the heavyweight title by knocking out the then-undefeated Joe Frazier in the second round of their fight.

He made two defenses for the title before it was finally taken away by Muhammad Ali during the historical The Rumble in the Jungle fight in 1974 in Congo. Even with a successful career in the ring, he failed to secure the title and retired in 1977 after losing to Jimmy Young. However, he returned to the ring in 1987 and retired again in 1997.

Foreman is also an author, ordained minister, and entrepreneur.


Similarities Between Ali and Foreman

The two were world boxing heavyweight champions of their time. They also share American citizenships and were born in the same decade.


Differences Between Ali and Foreman

Regardless of the two being heavyweight champions of their times, they have differences too. The key ones include:


Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr but changed the name after converting to Islam while Foreman was born George Edward Foreman.

Date of birth

Ali was born on January 17, 1942, while Foreman was born on January 10, 1949.

Place of birth

Both boxers were born and raised in the US. Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Foreman, on the other hand, was born in Marshall, Texas.

Religious affiliation and beliefs

Ali converted to Islam in 1961 while Foreman is a Christian and has been an ordained minister for long.

Marriage and family life

Ali has been recorded as a highly promiscuous man with several children outside his marriages. He had been married four times while Foreman has been married for five.

Professional boxing record

Foreman tops the record between the two. He fought 81 fights during his career, winning 76 times and losing only five. Out of the 76 wins, 68 were by knockout. Ali, on the other hand, has a record 61 fights. Out of that, he won a record 56 times and lost only five too. His knockout wins were 37.

Ali Vs. Foreman: Comparison Table


Summary of Ali and Foreman

Even though these two boxing icons have registered many differences, they both shared quite a lot professionally. They both held the world heavyweight championship for some time. They have also been hailed and idolized for different activities and characters outside the ring. Even though Ali died in 2016, he is still fondly remembered, and the boxing history cannot be complete without his input.


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References :

[0]"The Official Site Of George Foreman". Georgeforeman.Com, 2018, http://www.georgeforeman.com/. Accessed 7 Dec 2018.

[1]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali#/media/File:Muhammad_Ali_NYWTS.jpg

[2]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Foreman_(27791452363).jpg

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