By George

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

George Foreman has a remarkable story to tell. His astonishing ascent from a dirt-poor ghetto life is inspiring enough, but even more impressive is his amazing struggle to conquer a lifetime of brutal bad habits, culminating in a ministry to serve young people and to regain his championship.

Foreman presents a powerful picture of the way environment can limit choices and dim horizons. He portrays himself as an obstreperous boy, disciplined by a loving but tough mother who tried to beat him into obedience. Teachers ignored him, figuring that his poor clothes matched a type of person from whom they expected little. Excelling in junior high football, Foreman quit school knowing that his awesome coach would beat him mercilessly for having been caught smoking.

Everything in Foreman’s world seemed to teach him that his violent behavior and massive body were the key to success. He bullied everyone and bulled his way to success. Losing his title to Muhammad Ali and then failing to master lesser boxers such as Jimmy Young, unmanned Foreman, who lacked any sort of finesse or resources other than brute strength.

Yet this tortured man had an underlying decency that finally caused him to question his thuggery and turned him toward religion and a quest for salvation. Unlike many converts, however, Foreman laces his sermons with humor and sensitivity and is tolerant of human shortcomings—just as his mentors were understanding of his own. Few human beings—whatever their backgrounds—have been so successful in confronting their shortcomings and triumphing—as Foreman did when at forty-five he became the oldest heavyweight to win the world title.