What a fight it turned out to be 33 years ago today. And what a build-up we fans sat back and enjoyed ahead of the fight dubbed “The Battle of The Ages.” Evander Holyfield, the reigning, unbeaten heavyweight champion, against George Foreman, the former heavyweight king who was now fighting Father Time along with his actual, flesh and blood ring opposition.

If you are old enough, you will recall where you were and what you were doing on the night of Holyfield Vs. Foreman. It was that big a fight. Personally, I can recall, the night before the fight, listening to the legendary Angelo Dundee, as he spoke on BBC radio, telling all who had tuned in how Foreman was “going to win the title back again.”

YouTube video

It was a big thing, a surprising thing, when Dundee joined Foreman’s camp; Angelo having been across Foreman all those years ago in Zaire, and now joining fellow cerebral giants, Archie Moore, Sandy Saddler, Dick Saddler, and Charlie Shipes in Foreman’s list of accomplished trainers/advisors.

As a teenager, I was confident, I was sure; I was determined – Foreman, the “old man,” would knock Holyfield out and make history. My friends and I, still new to Sky Sports here in the UK, stayed up late to watch the fight (and its undercard in Atlantic City; this a million miles away in the minds of a young fight fan), and we were all thrilled, surprised, and left in a genuine condition of happiness after seeing our new hero, “Big George” do something we had previously only seen in the ‘Rocky’ films we had grown up with.

Foreman didn’t win, but he went the distance.

I can recall the next day, when still on a high and a buzz over what Foreman had done (and, for what it’s worth, I had picked George to win, even betting on him, this at a time when I had very little spare cash, if any, to play with) – the landlord of the pub in which we had watched the fight, telling me how he had watched the peak Foreman fight against legends like Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, and of course, Ali.

Yes, I said, it had been amazing to see Foreman, at age 42, take 28 year old Holyfield the distance.

YouTube videoYouTube video

“Oh, Foreman’s much older than 42,” the landlord, John, said to me. “He’s 48 or 49. I know, I saw him fight in the 1970s.”

I didn’t try and correct the publican, both of us happy at what the former heavyweight champ had done, but possibly, in fact almost certainly, for different reasons.

It had been a great fight. 12 rounds, with Holyfield, at his peak at age 28, unloading all he was able to unload on Foreman, in rounds three and nine in particular…..yet not seeing the old man fall. In fact, after a hefty barrage that came his way in the seventh round of a fight that had, by this stage, already surprised so many people, Holyfield actually walked back and asked his corner if his teeth were still where they had been prior to the start of the round!

Holyfield, as he cheerfully recalls today, genuinely feared Foreman had smashed his teeth out. This is how hard Foreman hit, even when in so-called “slo-mo” mode.

In the end, Holyfield won via 12 round UD. But what a fight it had been. For Holyfield, for Foreman, and for me and the landlord who kindly played host to myself and my friends on fight night.

YouTube videoYouTube video

Read the full article here