Directed by George Tillman Jr., Big George Foreman tells the real-life story of the legendary boxer, taking us through how he rose to fame and dealt with his downfalls and how he mustered up the courage to once again fight for what was rightfully his. The film documents the events that became the highlight of George’s life and shows us how unpredictable and amazing his journey had been. George had a difficult childhood, and it was amazing to see him rise from such hardships and make his name in the field of boxing. George started from nothing, and the odds had never been in his favor, but one can say that he was overly optimistic at times, as he always felt that he would get what he wanted. George had this strange relationship with God where, in the beginning, he hated him but then, over a period of time, started believing in him so much that he decided to spread his word and dedicate his life to the service of the Almighty. So, let’s find out what happened in George’s life and how he became the oldest heavyweight champion in the world.
‘Big George Foreman’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Life was not easy for a young George Foreman who lived in the fifth ward in Houston, Texas. Every day, he and his family had to struggle hard to make ends meet. Foreman had a lot of anger inside him because of the way society treated him, and he always questioned the almighty as to why he, of all people, had to go through that ordeal and why he couldn’t have enough resources like everybody else. Foreman’s mother kept telling him to control his temper and study so that he could come out of the mess one day. Foreman got into a lot of fights, and he dropped out of school and started mugging people in the fifth ward with another friend of his. One day, he almost got caught by the police, and that’s when he realized that he needed to do something with his life and that he couldn’t be living the way he was. Coincidentally, he got to know about Job Corps, a program initiated by the Department of Labor that gave young adults like Foreman free education and job-related training. He expressed his desire to his mother to be a part of that program, and she agreed to it and asked him to give it his best shot. But trouble seemed to follow Foreman wherever he went. Somebody stole the new sneakers that his mother had given him, and when he found out who the person was, he pounced on him and taught him a lesson. Doc Broadus, who was the supervisor in the program, intervened and took Foreman with him. Doc Broadus saw a bit of himself in this angry kid, and he asked him if he wanted to learn boxing. That was the beginning of an illustrious career. Foreman could have never known when he stepped into that ring for the first time that one day, he was going to rule it.
How Did Big George Become The Heavyweight Champion?
Doc Brodaus had told Foreman that he would participate in the next Olympics as the event was going to happen in less than a year’s time, and he felt that going half-prepared would do them no good. But Big George Foreman was in a hurry to become the heavyweight champion, and he told his coach that he didn’t have the time to wait for another 4 years to win an Olympic gold. Foreman was a truly gifted boxer, and he defeated Jonas Cepulis in the 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City to win the gold medal for his country. The experts called it “the great upset,” as Cepulis was a veteran and he was almost 10 years older than the Houston boy. People had assumed that George Foreman wouldn’t be able to fight Cepulis for more than a round, but the impossible had happened, and now, there was no stopping George.
Broadus introduced Foreman to Dick Sadler and Archie Moore, who were going to train Foreman as he had decided that he wanted to win the championship belt. Foreman started his quest for the heavyweight title, and he remained unbeaten for the first 30 or so matches. In 1973, he finally went against Joe Frazier, and he dominated the match and became the heavyweight champion of the world. Foreman was a man with a big heart, and now that he had become successful, he wanted the others around him to also prosper. He asked his friend, Desmond, to handle his finances, and the latter gladly accepted the offer.
But this victory was short-lived, and life made Foreman hit rock bottom as quickly as it had made him the uncrowned emperor of the boxing arena. On October 30, 1974, Foreman went against Mohammad Ali, and that fight became a career-defining moment for both athletes. Muhammed Ali ended Big George Foreman’s winning streak and also took away his title as the heavyweight champion. Everything from there went downhill in Foreman’s life, and he had been on top for such a long time that he didn’t know how to deal with his defeat.
‘Big George Foreman’ Ending Explained: Was George Able To Make A Comeback?
After losing the fight with Jimmy Young, Big George Foreman became unconscious in the dressing room, and Don Broadus and everybody else thought that they had lost him. Foreman suddenly woke up, and he said that he had gotten an epiphany and that he had to spread the word of God. He had decided that he would leave boxing and start preaching in the church. That was around the time he met Mary Joan, who later married him. Foreman was satisfied with his life, though a lot of people could never understand why he left everything when he could have achieved so much more. But George was steadfast in his resolve, and he didn’t want to go back in the ring ever again. Talking about God and spreading his word gave him a lot of fulfillment, and he realized how full of hate and anger he was back in the day.
Though George had already foreseen the kind of future he wanted to have, life had other plans for him. He realized that he was in a huge amount of debt, as Desmond had made some very bad investments and lost all his money. George tried to sell merchandise and do all sorts of things to raise money, but he couldn’t even get close to the amount he owed. With no other option left, he decided that he would make a comeback in the boxing ring and try to win the championship. George was 45 years old, and everybody told him that it was a foolish decision to fight boxers half his age, who were holistically much better than him. But George had made up his mind, and for him, there was no going back. He went to Don Broadus, who told him to lose at least 50 pounds and only come to him if he was able to do that. George did it, and Don Broadus took him under his wing once again. George was a different man when he went into the ring this time, and his aggression didn’t come from his need to hurt people. He was doing it for his family, and he knew that nobody could stop him from achieving his goal. Though Big George Foreman lost to Evander Holyfield in 1991, he didn’t lose hope, and he decided to give it one last shot. Almost three years later, in 1994, Foreman once again fought his way back to the heavyweight title. Foreman went against Michael Moorer, who was 26 years old and the current holder of the title. With his will, determination, and hard work, Foreman once again did the impossible and won the fight to become the oldest person to ever hold the title.
George Foreman’s miraculous journey is an inspiration for everybody, but contrary to that, the film, Big George Foreman, is not only uninspiring but extremely dispassionate and bland. The film lacks an emotional core, and not even once does it make us feel anything. The choreography of the boxing matches, especially the initial ones, was painstakingly horrible, and the film, in general, lacked flair and drama, which is an essential part of this genre. The emotions that the characters were portraying never seeped in, and we never felt the impact of whatever was happening in their lives because the film was never able to make that connection. Moments where Foreman chose to be a pastor or where he won the heavyweight title for the second time had to be approached in a different manner, and they should have made us feel what a citizen of the United States would have felt back in the day when he heard it for the first time on the news. Maybe just reading the screenplay would have given us more goosebumps, and the film’s flawed execution didn’t let it justify the legacy of George Foreman.