Madam Speaker, Today I am proud to recognize one of boxings most feared fighters, Mr. George Foreman. We are near the same age, and I have been a fan since I was a kid.
A product of a less fortunate family, Houstonian George Foreman was in constant trouble with the law. He vowed to make a better life for himself and later joined the Job Corp. While stationed in Oregon, Foreman became infamous for picking fights with fellow trainees. It was then that his fighting skills were noticed and he was introduced to the sport of boxing, which he grew to love. Foreman got his start as an amateur from the AAU in San Francisco.
At the age of 19, Foreman won a gold medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. He won his first fight on points and then three fights by stoppage including the final title bout against the favored Soviet fighter. After winning the gold, Foreman walked around the ring, holding high a small American flag following his victory. Members of the black community chastised him for his display; others, however, lauded him for being a patriotic American during a time of political upheaval and strife. Madam Speaker, this was the most patriotic moment I had ever seen.
Foreman, after an amazing amateur record of 27-0, turned professional in 1969 with a three-round knockout of Donald Walheim in New York. He had 12 fights that year, winning all of them, 11 by knockout. Among the fighters he defeated was Cookie Wallace, who lasted only 23 seconds.
In 1970, Foreman continued his journey toward the undisputed heavyweight title. In 1971, he won seven more fights. After amassing a record of 32-0, Foreman ranked as the number one challenger by the World Boxing Association and Council. In 1972, his string of wins continued with a series of five consecutive bouts in which he defeated each opponent within three rounds.
Still undefeated, and with an impressive knockout record, Foreman was set to challenge undefeated and undisputed world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. Foreman knocked down Frazier six times in two rounds to win the championship by knockout in one of boxing's biggest upsets. In what was HBO Boxing's first broadcast, the call made by Howard Cosell became one of the most memorable in all of sports: "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!" Before the fight, Frazier was 29-0, with 25 knockouts, and Foreman was 37-0, with 34 knockouts. Equally memorable was Foreman's final punch, an uppercut, landed with such force that it lifted Frazier off his feet before sending him to the canvas for the sixth and final time. As he had done following the previous knockdowns, Frazier managed to get to his feet, but the referee called an end to the bout.
Nevertheless, Foreman went on to defend his title successfully twice during his initial reign as champion. His first defense, in Tokyo, pitted him against Puerto Rican heavyweight champion Jose Roman. Roman was not regarded as a top contender, and it took Foreman only 55 seconds to end the fight, the fastest-ever knockout for a heavyweight championship bout. Foreman's next defense was against a much tougher opponent. In 1974, he faced the highly regarded Ken Norton who was 30-2, a boxer notorious for his aw