George Foreman vs Ron Lyle was one of the greatest heavyweight slugfests of all time and winner of Fight of the Year in 1976.

George Foreman was coming off a huge ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ upset to Muhammad Ali, after reigning supreme in demolishing Smokin’ Joe Frazier for the WBC & WBA world heavyweight titles. Many thought the magnitude of the loss may have a long standing effect on Foreman who took 15 months out, before returning to the ring against Lyle. Lyle’s record coming into the fight was 33 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw, with his losses coming against Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Young and Muhammad Ali.

The match was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and what transpired that January afternoon has since become nothing short of legendary. Lyle started the fight brightly, landing a flush right hand to Foreman’s temple which backed him onto the ropes, but he was saved from embarrassment by the bell. Lyle continued to give Foreman no respect in the 2nd and pressed the action but Foreman recovered well landing some huge bombs of his own. By the end of the 3rd, Lyle’s eye was beginning to swell from receiving countless stiff jabs from Foreman, whilst Lyle continued to have success with his backhand right.

A slugfest was well and truly underway and a wild 4th round delivered the first knockdowns of the fight. Lyle delivered multiple left & right hand blows to the head which sent Big George to the canvas. Foreman quickly rose to his feet and fought back connecting with wild hooks to Lyle’s head and returned the favour in sending him to the canvas. With Foreman now looking to end the fight and Lyle backed onto the ropes once more, Foreman threw 7 left hooks in a row leaving himself open for the counter. Lyle spotted the opportunity and threw a left hook counter which staggered Foreman again and with just 4 seconds left of the round, Lyle unbelievably had Foreman down for the second time.

Saved by the bell, Foreman returned for the 5th and the two warriors met in the centre of the ring both spent from their efforts. Lyle pressed forward once again but was visibly exhausted and his low guard allowed Foreman to connect with some effective right hands, forcing Lyle to fall back onto the ropes. Barely having the energy to hold his body upright, Foreman delivered the finals blows in the corner of the ring. The Vegas crowd rose to their feet as Lyle fell forward landing square on his face… and the fight was over.

A truly remarkable heavyweight battle, still revered to this day. Enjoy…


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