It’s one thing to have your story told, but another to be here to witness people’s reactions to the telling.
This is the sentiment for former heavyweight champion and boxing legend George Foreman, who is sharing a bit of his personal journey on the big screen in an upcoming biopic.
“Boy, you talk about miraculous? My life has been a miracle,” Foreman told AfroTech. “And I watched the movie and it became apparent… How in the world have I achieved so much without anything? I started from the bottom.”
He continued: “And sometimes you go through life worrying about income taxes and you forget what we really have come from, and that movie brought it alive for me. It was a good thing for me to see.”
Losing It All
The film explores Foreman’s humble beginnings, his journey to boxing, and life beyond the sport, including none other than the famous George Foreman® Grills, which actually were a saving grace for him after losing it all during the late ’80s/ early ’90s.
“You work so hard to have wealth. The old saying is to ‘live happily ever after’ and then you come to find out that people I trusted had gone away with some of my wealth. I lost a lot,” Foreman told AfroTech. “And I was out there with nothing again and that was scary. You wake up one morning and they say middle-aged, but that was like the end of my age. I didn’t have anything but I had such responsibilities, and I’m so happy that I was able to get back into boxing because so many people were counting on me.”
As previously reported by AfroTech, in 1986, after Foreman left the world of boxing to pursue his career in ministry, he nearly went bankrupt, losing all of the money saved from his glory days in the ring.
The George Foreman® Grill
Along with returning to boxing, Foreman set his sights on entrepreneurship, and from there a household staple was born.
“When I first tried the George Foreman® Grills, it wasn’t as beautiful as it had turned out to be,” Foreman said. “It actually moved the grease out of your food. I needed protein, but I didn’t need all of that grease, and the grill was successful. I thought maybe I’d sell 16 of them. One for my mom or a couple for my aunt. And then into training camp, I had no idea — I looked up and over 120 million of those things were sold. I didn’t know it was going to be such a success, and it was successful because it worked.”
In fact, Foreman laughed, explaining how the devices actually worked a little too well.
“That was a trouble with the grill — they kept lasting that no one needed to buy another,” he joked.
Don't Call It A Comeback
What’s more, his return to the boxing ring coupled with his new business venture came after numerous hardships. He suffered a $5 million loss “on bad investments,” according to Forbes, had faced homelessness, and on top of that had gotten older and out of shape. Foreman wasn’t expected to make a comeback — but he did.
“I hope that this film changes the narrative on who he was, I really do,” said Khris Davis, the actor who portrays Foreman in the film. “Because he was overshadowed by a bigger energy at that time, which was the great Muhammad Ali, but you know, if he hadn’t lost to Ali, I think people would be saying that he was the best fighter of all time because he could fight.”
Davis continued: “I hope that people take away the fact that Mr. Foreman actually had and always has had a big heart. His loving spirit and his kind eyes were always there. His love for his family was always there. He was always trying to connect with people. I hope that people, that the world, finally gives Mr. Foreman the flowers and the applause that he deserves for all of the work that he put in. All of the impact that he’s given to pop culture. I mean who doesn’t have a George Foreman® Grill? He raised a lot of people with those… I just hope that he gets the love he deserves.”
Despite “Big George Foreman” being a depiction of his life story, the 74-year-old says this is a tale of triumph and perseverance for everyone.
“The movie is not even about me, so to speak,” Foreman explained. “It’s about what life can do for you. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been knocked down, you can get up to move. It tells the story about getting up, believing in yourself, and then [most] importantly, believing in God. There’s always another chance. That’s what I want people to leave the movie theater thinking. If he can do that, I can easily do what I gotta do.”
The film “Big George Foreman” debuts in theaters Friday, April 28.