George Foreman has named his 1976 clash with Ron Lyle as the toughest fight of his 81-bout career.
This comes despite the fact that Foreman has taken on some of the greatest boxers of all time including Evander Holyfield, Joe Frazier and ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali.
Coming off the back of a first career defeat to Ali in 1974, the only time that Foreman would ever be stopped, ‘Big George’ returned to the ring a year and three months later.
Even though he was coming off a loss, Foreman did not choose to bounce back against easy opposition, instead opting to fight Lyle who was 33-3-1 at the time.
Lyle was a powerful fighter, having knocked out 22 of his previous opponents, and he had an edge to him, as he had spent seven and a half years in prison for second-degree murder.
He had also lost to Ali a year earlier, but then redeemed himself by knocking out arguably the heaviest hitter in heavyweight boxing history, Earnie Shavers.
Lyle and Foreman engaged in a thrilling contest, both hurting each other early on, but it was in round four when the real action got underway.
‘Big George’ found himself on the canvas twice in round four, while Lyle hit the deck once and somehow both men made it to the bell.
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This was not the case in the fifth round, however, as exhaustion set in for Lyle and Foreman trapped him on the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches that saw the contest come to an early end.
To this day, Foreman describes Lyle as his toughest ever fight, as he told talkSPORT while promoting his movie ‘Big George Foreman’: “I fought Ron Lyle and he hit me so hard and he knocked me down and bust my lip.
“I remember laying there thinking ‘what excuses am I going to give them now’.
“I didn’t want to get up because he hit me so hard, but I had to get up because I couldn’t think of any excuses anymore and I had to fight him.
“He beat me so bad that finally he got tired of beating me and fainted and I won the boxing match.”
Big George Foreman is out in cinemas on April 28.
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