On this day in 1976, boxing legend George Foreman knocked out Ron Lyle in the fifth round.
Foreman fought Lyle for the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) title in his first big fight since the 1974 loss to Muhammad Ali. The match turned into a slugfest for the ages: in the fourth round, Lyle was knocked down once and Foreman twice. Foreman ended up winning by 5th round KO.
Foreman later wrote in his autobiography that Lyle was the toughest opponent he ever fought.
Lyle comes out the aggressor. He throws some wild swings, lands couple. Lyle attacks Foreman’s body, continues to stay the more active fighter. Wins round. [Analysis: Foreman always started fights feeling his opponent out, then used his power once he figured out the right attack.]
Both boxers exchange jabs, fairly evenly. Foreman then lands a few strong blows with overhand rights. He then stuns Lyle with an uppercut. Bell rings minute early, saving Lyle. [Note: Why did the bell ring early? ..]
Foreman wins round, but very close. Lyle gets thrown to the rope and has to be on the defensive for much of the round, but lands enough counter-attacks.
Here’s where things get fun. After the initial moment of circling one another, they go at it. Lyle lands some solid combos to get Foreman down on the ground. He’s back up fast though. Foreman, back up, goes at Lyle. They’re in the center of the ring trading power blows, Foreman gets one on Lyle that puts him to the ground. He’s back up, but looks hurt. Foreman lands five or six left hooks, unanswered. Somehow Lyle gets Foreman off of him, gets away from the rope, and gets back on the attack. With three seconds left in the round, Foreman goes down on a short right from Lyle. He gets up, beating the count.
After a series of exchanges, Foreman forces Lyle to the ropes. Foreman keeps throwing punches at Lyle, with the ropes basically supporting Lyle up. Foreman KOs Lyle, as Lyle is counted out.
“Boxing is like Jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it.” – George Foreman