2. GEORGE FOREMAN
Title fights: 2-2
Summary: The greatest comeback in boxing history was punctuated by the single greatest accomplishment by a fighter 40 or older.
Foreman left boxing in 1977, after losing to Jimmy Young, to become a preacher. He returned 10 years later, at 38, fighting his way back into shape against many pushovers but some quality opponents (including Bert Cooper and Gerry Cooney). He failed in two attempts to win a major title, losing a unanimous decision in a competitive fight against Evander Holyfield in 1991 (at 42) and suffered the same fate against Tommy Morrison two years later.
He never gave up on his dream even as he was building a fortune selling grills and other products. And his persistence finally paid off on an unforgettable night in 1994 in Las Vegas. Michael Moorer, who held two titles, was outboxing his relatively slow but still-powerful 45-year-old foe when a straight right found his chin, putting the champion down and completely out in the 10th round. Foreman, caught in the moment, took a knee in one corner and prayed while the roar of the crowd was so loud at that moment that MGM Grand shook.
“Not only did he win the heavyweight championship at 45,” Caplan said, “he won it almost 20 years to the day that he lost it to Muhammad Ali in Zaire. What he did was phenomenal.”