Written by Rob Scott
Atlantic City — On Friday, April 19, 1991, Atlantic City’s boxing history became even richer when Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame inductees, Bob Arum and his company, Top Rank, Inc., along with Dan Duva’s, Main Events, Inc. brought to the AC Convention Center, “Battle Of The Ages” – Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield vs. “Big” George Foreman for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Age…A Big Question
It was called “Battle Of The Ages” because it pitted a 42-year-old former world heavyweight champion against a young 29-year-old new champ who was making his first defense.
Foreman, who in his earlier career was known to have a mean reputation, was making the 25th appearance since coming back from a ten-year hiatus from the sport.
The new incarnation of “Big George” was the total opposite, being looked upon as a loveable, cheeseburger eating, funny guy. The fans fell in love with this new version.
But even with the love and support, questions of his chances of defeating the younger former undisputed cruiserweight, and now undisputed heavyweight champion remained.
Age…Nothing But A Number
From the first round, Holyfield used his quicker hands and feet to try and set the pace. Landing swift combinations Holyfield used movement and combinations to offset the older and slower Foreman.
In round two, Foreman came back, landing quite a few hard thudding shots that made the crowd roar. In the third, Foreman walked Holyfield down, landing decent shots; but in the last twenty-second stanza, Holyfield opened up on Foreman, wobbling the big man until the bell rang.
As the fight continued, Holyfield went back to work, landing combinations and doing his best to avoid what was coming back at him. The problem was he was in with a tough and determined opponent who had no quit.
Keeping the big man off of him began to become more of a chore than expected. In the second half of round seven, Holyfield unloaded some heavy combinations that would have dropped many heavyweights, but the iron-chinned Foreman persevered.
Even though Holyfield was still winning with his superior combinations, after the 8th round, Foreman asked his corner who consisted of the late and great, Angelo Dundee, what round it was and said, “I wanna to win this thing.”
Holyfield really rocked Foreman late in the 9th, but the big guy showed his heart was as big as his stature, staying up until the bell sounded.
After being warned a few times, Foreman had a point deducted for excessive low blows in the 11th round which furthered the divide on the scorecards in favor of Evander Holyfield.
The crowd began to boo as Holyfield showed a lot of fatigue in the 11th, holding on and taking a breath on more than a few occasions. In the 12th, both were exhausted and lumbered along, landing shots here and there, but the gas tanks on both were definitely drained.
After the final bell, George Foreman embraced Holyfield and AC Boxing Hall of Fame trainer, Lou Duva, and said “I love you. He gave me the opportunity and he (Holyfield) won it.”
The final scorecards read 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112, all in favor of Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield.
Foreman lost the bout but gained major credit for sticking in their with the young champion. It’s something many of his critics didn’t think he would be able to do, but indeed proved them all wrong.
On this night, The Battle of The Ages indeed became one for the ages and yet another exciting entry into the Atlantic City Boxing History books.