George Foreman is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, and has shared the ring with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Evander Holyfield.
Most would assume that Foreman’s memorable clash with Ali in Zaire, billed as ‘The Rumble in the Jungle,’ which saw Ali upset the odds to stop him in eight rounds, would see Foreman regard ‘The Greatest’ as the best fighter he has ever faced.
However, ‘Big George’ explained to RingTV that, on the contrary, it was a man whom he defeated who he holds in that regard – Ron Lyle.
“I have to say Lyle because he gave me the toughest fight of my career. He hit me so hard, knocked me down, got knocked down and picked himself up. That was the hardest fight I ever had in my life.
With Muhammad Ali I could do whatever I wanted, but I got tired and he was able to knock me down.
If I had been more respectful of Ali I could have coasted at stages in that fight, and preserved energy, but I couldn’t coast with Ron Lyle because he would have killed me.”
He and Lyle shared an epic five round battle back in 1976, that culminated in a stoppage win for Foreman, with the fight being awarded the 1976 Ring Magazine Fight Of The Year.
A biopic was released earlier this year about the incredible life of Foreman, and details his journey to becoming the oldest heavyweight world champion of all time in 1994, aged 45.