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Thread: Foreman's superior strength...

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    Foreman's superior strength...

    Was there ever a physically stronger fighter than George Foreman?
    In all his fights, I can never recall seeing any fighter push him back or
    overpower him. He may have lost several fights, but he never was
    physically dominated. P4P he was IMO the strongest heavyweight ever.
    Even his 2nd career, he always pushed the opponents around, albeit he was
    heavier than the 70's, but he was older, that's gotta' affect strength.
    Discuss why?? or alternative stronger fighters?

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I completely agree.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I don't know if Foreman was the strongest heavyweight who ever lived - that's a very subjective judgment. But I think one can say that he used his strength better than any modern heavyweight.

    From the old-timers, Jeffries and Sullivan by all accounts used their superior strength very effectively, too.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I don't think he was talking about speed or skill, or stamina, but rather raw strength. Raw strength of the man, I don't think anyone tops Foreman. Sullivan might be the closest. Jeff got backed up by Sharkey. No one moved Sullivan or Foreman back.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    My impression of the Jeffries-Sharkey II fight was that Jeffries got moved back by Sharkey the same way Fullmer got moved back by Carmen Basilio - voluntarily and strategically.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Yeah, which left a lot of folks thinking the fight should have been given to Sharkey or a draw. If Sharkey had rushed at Foreman, George would have taken his head off. Not criticizing Jeff, but he simply was not the brute that George was. I NEVER saw George get moved back by anyone, any size, any time, at any age. Not saying Jeff wasn't very strong - the guy had the body of an Adonis, but I think George edges him in the raw strength department.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Maybe. George was certainly bigger than Jeff and Sully (and in his second career, maybe even Jeff and Sully put together ). But its hard to judge guys who lived 75 years apart.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I would say for pure strength in the last 80 years Liston and Foreman are tops no doubt. I don't recall anyone ever backing Liston up either. Williams tried twice and got demolished.

    That picture of George with the cow over his shoulders is pretty impressive!

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Good call re liston too. I do think George was stronger even that Sonny, but he's up there too.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I think Ali used his strength more effectively on George than vice versa. Got him drunk then mugged him. No, he didn't just push right back at George, but like a judo player, he used George's own strength against him. He also held his head down a lot.

    Admittedly, George was fatigued, and this played into his loss of strength.

    Frankly, I've never seen anyone outstrength ALI, though many opponents made him back up or, more usually, circle.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I admit I haven't seen the fight in a while, but I don't recall George pushing Lyle, who was pretty darn strong himself, around too much.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Foreman is on record saying that Liston was "the only fighter who was ever able to back me up in the ring".
    The two sparred many rounds together just after Foreman turned pro.
    Liston would be around 40 at that time, but probably not much removed from his physical prime as far as pure strength is concerned.
    Foreman, on the other hand, was a youngster then and probably got notably stronger over the next decades.

    Prime for prime, I'd say Foreman must have been physically stronger than Liston, not by much maybe, but still.

    -KOKid-

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Okay, don't burn me in effigy (or for real), don't send letter bombs, don't hire anyone named "Guido" to come looking for me, but . . . what about this person:

    Nicolay Valuev?

    We're not talking about skill-wise or even punching power here, right? Just pure, unadulterated strength? Seven foot-one inch, 325 pounds in reasonable shape. The guy's going to be pretty damned strong, it seems to me, whether he knows how to use it in the ring or not.
    PeteLeo.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Yeah, it probably is Valuev if we are just talking about pure strength.

    I'd be extremely surprised if he wasn't capable of pushing Foreman or Liston about with ease.Even just with the leverage he would generate.

    Unfortunately he doesn't seem to use his strength much at all.

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    Paul Anderson

    Technically speaking, I think Paul Anderson may have been the strongest man to ever participate in boxing. See the article below:



    Paul Anderson: The Story of the "World's Strongest Man"
    by Thomas P. Ryan


    Paul Edward Anderson was born on October 17, 1932 in Toccoa, Georgia. His family moved frequently when he was a child, in conjunction with his father's construction projects. Paul was sickly as a small child and although he did recover from Bright's disease, he was not expected to have a long life because of the damage to his kidneys. They did eventually give out, but not before he made quite an impression in the sports world.

    He entered Furman University in 1950 on a football scholarship, but his interest would soon turn to weightlifting. There was a small but serious group of weight trainees at Furman and they were impressed with what Paul could lift, although at this point in time Paul was simply fooling around with weights. He soon realized that he had discovered something at which he could really excel and this motivated him to pursue weightlifting seriously.

    Not being scholarly inclined (in his autobiography he stated that he did not crack a book to study outside of class in high school), Paul was not suited for college and he wanted to pursue weightlifting, not football. So he left Furman during his first year and returned to his parents' home, which at that time was in Elizabethton, Tennessee. He did very little for a year but he devised ingenious ways to make himself stronger. Indeed, when he and Terry Todd, Ph.D., collaborated on a series of articles in Muscular Development magazine in 1969-70, Todd stated at the outset "I have the Ph.D., but he has the genius."

    Power racks, which allow a very heavy barbell to be safely lifted over a short distance, were almost unheard of in 1950 and were not available commercially until several years later. So Paul had to be inventive. Accordingly, he devised a method for doing partial squats that consisted of filling two barrels with heavy objects and digging a hole in the ground in his back yard to shorten the distance that the bar had to be lifted, with the bar attached to each barrel. When he needed to increase the distance that he lifted the weight, he would simply partially fill in the hole. Shown below is a photo taken by Atlanta Journal and Constitution award-winning photographer Floyd Jillson on May 24, 1955, which shows Paul standing in the hole at the completion of a partial squat, with a pretty girl sitting on each barrel.





    Paul's novel training methods coupled with undoubtedly vast strength potential quickly catapulted him to the top of the weightlifting world. At a height of approximately 5-9, his weight soared past the 300-pound mark, exceeding by more than 100 pounds his weight when he entered Furman. On April 16, 1955, lifting at a meet in High Point, North Carolina, Anderson became the first weightlifter to press 400 pounds in competition when he lifted 402, a weight that was previously regarded as impossible. Despite the world records that he set in 1955, he was still unknown internationally. This changed dramatically in June of that year, however, when he pressed 402.25 at a competition in Gorky Park in Moscow, with about 20,000 people in attendance. Paul's performance was so astounding that the crowd rose to its feat and shouted, "Chudo Prirody," which means "a wonder of nature."

    Paul went on to win the world championship in the heavyweight class in Munich in October, 1955 and received a hero's welcome when he returned home to Toccoa. He and other weightlifters and coaches were received at the White House by then Vice-President Richard Nixon.

    After Munich, at which he weighed 370 pounds, Paul lost down to about 300 pounds because, as he stated in a magazine article dated October 28, 1956 (Atlanta Journal and Constitution) he was unable to hold the bar in the proper position at his chest because of the size of his arms at the heavier bodyweight. He weighed 304 at the Olympics that year and needed to make his final attempt in the clean and jerk with 413.25 pounds (after missing his first two attempts at that weight) to win the competition on bodyweight. He did just that and became an Olympic champion.

    Hoping to make the Guinness Book of World Records, Paul reportedly staged a backlift in 1957 in which he lifted from the ground a table with a safe and assorted weights on it weighing a total of 6,270 pounds. Guinness later recognized Anderson's feat as the greatest weight ever lifted by a human being--which became the basis for his reputation as the "World's Strongest Man." [Italics mine] However, in the years that followed several questions arose about the lift--including the actual weight of the safe and table--leading Guinness to withdraw its recognition of his 1957 lift. As a result, Paul Anderson's name is no longer found in the Guinness Book of World Records. While we will never know how much he could have lifted, he forever will be remembered as the "World's Strongest Man."

    In addition to his love of weightlifting, Paul had a strong desire to start a Youth Home. He participated in boxing (ingloriously) and wrestling in order to raise funds for that effort, and also had a small part in the 1958 movie Once Upon a Horse.

    Originally engaged to Gail Taylor of Tallulah Falls, Georgia in 1956, while she was a high school senior, Anderson became engaged to Glenda Garland in 1959, directly after she graduated from high school. (It was Gail who introduced Anderson to Glenda.) Reared in a boarding school and sharing Paul's dream of starting a Youth Home, Glenda became Paul's life partner and their 35-year marriage ended with Paul's death in 1994. Their mariage was blessed with an adopted daughter, Paula.

    In addition to his Youth Home in Vidalia, Paul positively influenced the lives of thousands of young people, including various youth groups. The photo below shows him speaking at a youth retreat.

    Combining strength demonstrations with his Christian witness, Paul also took his message inside prison walls.

    When Paul Anderson Appreciation Day was held in Toccoa in 1983, a few days before Paul's kidney transplant surgery, the featured speaker was the late Tom Landry, shown below with Paul at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes board meeting many years earlier.

    Paul had a very positive influence while maintaining a grueling travel and performance schedule, as evidenced by the numerous letters of appreciation that he received from people from all walks of life, including a 1963 letter from J. Edgar Hoover.

    Paul Anderson died in Vidalia on August 15, 1994. His last years were sad ones for the "World's Strongest Man." He experienced total renal failure in 1983 and only a kidney donated by his older sister Dorothy (Dot) Johnson enabled him to temporarily regain some semblance of a normal life. Unfortunately, his health began failing again several years later and he was practically bedridden during his final years.

    His memory lives on, especially in the form of the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia, Georgia, which he and Glenda started in 1961 and which has steered many young men toward a better life. (Readers who wish to learn more about him and the facility are encouraged to visit www.payh.org.) Perhaps for even more than his weightlifting feats, Paul Anderson should be remembered for a life dedicated to serving young people in need.



    Tom Ryan


    For additional information, see Paul Anderson entry in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

    Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia
    Last edited by Juan C Ayllon; 10-18-2007 at 02:40 PM.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I'm not so sure that plain physical strength is a key criteria for performing well in boxing anyway. I recall that in the ABC Superstars competition, Joe Frazier failed to lift a fairly light weight over his head (like 100 pounds). Virtually all the other athletes there (from various sports) lifted more weight than he did, likely because they lift weights in training whereas he probably didn't.

    But Joe was a top-tier heavyweight with terrific power, notwithstanding his inability to lift a lot of weight (or to swim).

    Separately, I recall none other than George Foreman stating that boxing is the "little man's sport, where a small guy with more skill can defeat a larger man." Which implied to me that skills trumped strength (not only size) in boxing, in Big George's opinion.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I think Jess Willard in his prime was certainly the strongest heavy for pure strength and I think Jeffires, Foreman and Max Baer are right up there. I dont know if Sonny Liston was brute strong in the sense of lifting but in boxing terms with his punches and jab, he can back up anybody. Foreman was certainly one very very strong dude and his comeback i didnt really see anybody back him up. he always seemed like he was the strongest guy in there.

  18. #18
    mike
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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    ali manhandled foreman, and lyle certainly was shoved around but also certainly shoved foreman around. foreman was stronger than hell- but balance , strenght, and athlectic strenght are some of the keys for boxing strenght. i never saw anyone backup johnson or in anyway manhandle him , if he didnt want to be, almost the same goes for dempsey. since foreamans time--it may be ali--if not foreman .

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Foreman proved himself against huge fighters. Even in his second career I was amazed at how little a strong, big heavyweight like Tommy Morrison was able to budge him.

    We have nothing similiar to gage Jeffries against ...Can you imagine Foreman fighting a 167 pound Fitz or 185 pound Sharkey .... it would be murder.

    Foreman was a physical marvel, proven in his second career when he was able to apply poise to his dimished skills and still have a hell of a career.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Valuev is without doubt strong, but he's a lot bigger than George and should
    be. George was weighing approx 220 at peak and for his weight, he is IMO
    the strongest heavyweight ever. Look how easily he pushed Frazier around and Norton and Morrison around. Even Evander who was pretty strong, couldn't maul George or
    dominate him. I would liked to have seen Bowe and George square up. That would have been a real test of two strong guys. Also LL in with George??
    Last edited by walshb; 10-19-2007 at 05:29 AM.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Valuev couldn't manhandle small chubby HWs in Ruiz and Chagaev on the inside . . beyond the poundage I don't see him as particularly strong (although I wouldn't want a bear hug from him, believe me). Carnera was stronger IMO. Da Preem before boxing had been a circus strongman himself.

    Foreman easily handled a prime Briggs who I think (despite his obvious flaws as a boxer) was as strong as Bowe.

    Interestingly, while Frazier was manhandled by Foreman and did poorly in the ABC athletic comp, he was really the only fighter to successfully "outmuscle" Ali, especially in the first fight and in Manilla.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Ali did not manhandlke George, he survived George. Another fighter not mentioned but who was exceptionally strong was Lennox Lewis.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Quote Originally Posted by hagler04
    Interestingly, while Frazier was manhandled by Foreman and did poorly in the ABC athletic comp, he was really the only fighter to successfully "outmuscle" Ali, especially in the first fight and in Manilla.
    I never saw Frazier in Superstars trying to lift a weight, but if this was some sort of shoulder press, clean and jerk movement would Joe's crooked left arm been a fractor? But like already said the other athletes may have had much more experience with the weights than Frazier and so hence have better technique.

    Polands muliple Worlds Strongest Man winner Mariusz Pudzianowski Boxed as an amateur I understand, so he must rate as one of the strongest men to at least 'lace the gloves on'.

    As for established fighters Foreman gets my vote, the man was like a terminator.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Not wanting to repeat myself, but as I had noted above, I don't believe that plain physical strength is a key criteria for performing well in boxing anyway. So I wonder at the usefulness of this thread, though I'm certainly enjoying bantering with everyone.

    Again as noted, George Foreman stated that boxing is the "little man's sport, where a small guy with more skill can defeat a larger man."

    Who ARE the best fighters ever, pound for pound-- or at heavyweight if you like? Are they really the physically strongest people? Like Gene Fullmer, Jess Willard, Mustafa Hamsho, George Foreman, Vinny Pazienza?? These fighters all lost enough--to smaller, physically weaker opponents-- so as not to be ranked at the top, and with the exception of Foreman, not even in the top groups. George was probably a lot stronger than Tommy Morrison, but look who won. Earlier in his career, he was considered stronger than Ali and much stronger than Young, by the way with a much more lethal punch than either. But look who won.

    I wonder how many of us here would be boxing fans if simply the strongest guy was always the winner. Even in wrestling (and probably every other self-defense sport), technique trumps strength. I believe even in weightlifting of all things, where proper technique is crucial.

    Will the next topic be, what fighters had the best physique? I don't see its relevance . . .

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    I do not think anyone is saying the strongest guy is the best boxer althought I will say that Foreman was the best of the strongest....

    here's one for you ... not mentioned , except by one guy is the fact of how strong Ali was ... Holmes has told me many times that Ali was exceptionally strong...watch his fight with Bonavena and watch Ali throw Oscar all over the ring....

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    I do not think anyone is saying the strongest guy is the best boxer althought I will say that Foreman was the best of the strongest....

    here's one for you ... not mentioned , except by one guy is the fact of how strong Ali was ... Holmes has told me many times that Ali was exceptionally strong...watch his fight with Bonavena and watch Ali throw Oscar all over the ring....
    Hi, HE--

    I agree with everything you just noted, and I like the distinction you made, "I will say that Foreman was the best of the strongest....". Sharp.

    I'm the one who had noted Ali's strength vs. Foreman earlier; interestingly, that would help make the case (contrary to my own view) that stronger=better in boxing ! ??

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    No-one's saying stronger is automatically better. It's just one seperate category/off-shoot, like discussing who had the fastest hands.

    Strength does not equate to "superior" but adding strength to skill only makes a fighter tougher to defeat. Foreman was not just a free-swinging caveman. I would say 80% of his success in boxing was due to a quick, snapping left jab, which was definetely also one of the STRONGEST left jabs in the history of boxing. When a fighter is forced to worry about the hurt the jab will bring in addition to the power-punches, that's a lot on a man's mind.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Hi Mike,

    Your point got me thinking about the fight and while Foreman was the stronger man, Ali did manage to hold his ground. He clinched real well. He tied Foreman up. My point to try and add was that Ali may be the most underated as far as strength goes. Again I say watch the Bonavena fight where Ali is tossing him around the ring.

  29. #29
    mike
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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    agreed, ali was so underrated on that score, m,ainly i guess because he was not a he was not a hitter -but hitters are born. ali in clinchs was like a vise--very very strong and coordinated.. for power and streght combined i would go with foreman. for just sheer boxing strengh , not to be backed up or wrestled around much at all- unless they chose too- i go for jeffries- foreman next, johnson, dempsey,ali , willard way up there--they were all very hard to outmuscle and outmanuver--i imagine there are plenty of others but these guys do for now, i guess.
    Last edited by mike; 10-19-2007 at 11:11 PM.

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    Re: Foreman's superior strength...

    Actually, a point I've felt for years: Ali controlled the pace of every fight he was in until his last two. Always. Win or lose. He moved when he wanted, he stood and fought when he wanted. He dictated the pace. Always. And he ran from no one.

    I wonder what fighter in any weight division this also applies so strongly to. I can think of nobody. Even SRR was forced into other people's styles (ex: versus Fullmer).

    Ali was unique in his ring ability, and yes, some of it was due to his strength.

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