Boxing's Greatest Fighters: George Foreman In any listing of great comebacks, the finger of history lingers longer over the name of George Foreman than any figure in boxing -- nay, all of sports. For this fugitive from the law of averages made dust out of conventional wisdom by coming back after a ten-year layoff to win the heavyweight championship 21 years after winning it the first time. And, in a turnaround worthy of a Harvard B-School thesis on how to change your image, reinvented the George Wheel by transforming his image from that of the winner of the Sonny Liston scowl-alike contest to that of a cuddly teddy bear. Like Gaul, Foreman's career could be neatly divided into three parts. The first began in 1968 when the former dead-end kid from Houston's Fifth Ward's mean streets and recent entrant into federal Job Corps program used his crude strength to overwhelm Soviet finalist Jonas Cepulis in two rounds to win the Super Heavyweight gold medal at the Mexico City Olympics, and then paraded around the ring holding a tiny American flag in celebration. Turning pro the next year, Foreman ran off a string of 37 consecutive victories over some of the heavyweight division's most well-unknown names, dissembling 34 of them into smaller, neater pieces with his ponderous punches, delivered in the manner of a man hewing down trees. All of which earned him a shot at the reigning world champion, Joe Frazier. Preparing for his fight with Frazier, Foreman watched films of the champ and soon discovered that "he only knows one way to fight ... he comes at you straight ahead and wide open." And so it was that the first time Frazier rushed in, Foreman hit him with a thunderous left which sounded like that of an explosion felling six or seven bystanders. And Frazier as well. That was the first sound heard. The second was ringside commentator Howard Cosell's by-now famous call, "Down goes Frazier ... Down goes Frazier." It was to be the first of six times Cosell would utter that phrase as Frazier took on the look of a bouncing ball, once even lifted up in the air like a tree trunk being pulled from its moorings. Finally, after the sixth knockdown, Foreman called to Frazier's corner, imploring them to "Stop it ... I don't want to kill him." But even if Frazier's corner hadn't had enough, referee Arthur Mercante had, and stopped the one-sided ass-whuppin' at 1:35 of the second round.