September 17, 2006

Fortune's Fools: Why the Rich Go Broke

Published: September 17, 2006

GEORGE FOREMAN — bald, smiling and gigantic — is propped atop a stool in Gleason's Gym, the venerable boxing haunt in Brooklyn, watching a videotape of his heavyweight championship bout in 1994 with Michael Moorer.

Mr. Foreman is paid millions to endorse products, but says he does not know his net worth.

Mr. Foreman once devastated opponents with brutal, staccato punches short on artistry and long on force. He disposed of formidable pile drivers like Joe Frazier, traded blows with dangerous magicians like Muhammad Ali, and dropped the undefeated 26-year-old Mr. Moorer in the 10th round with a right to the jaw.

Mr. Foreman was 45 at the time of the Moorer fight, a roly-poly 250-pounder who had just reclaimed the heavyweight mantle that Mr. Ali had snatched from him 20 years earlier. By knocking out Mr. Moorer, Mr. Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history and he hailed his victory at the time as one "for all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in the jail."

As Mr. Foreman watches the tape of Mr. Moorer crumpling to the mat, part of a boxing retrospective that ESPN is shooting at Gleason's, he beams. "Play that again," he says to no one in particular, softly chuckling to himself. The knockout was the culmination of an unlikely return to the ring that Mr. Foreman staged in his later years, well after he had retired. He has often said that he ended his retirement to prove that nobody is too old for a comeback.

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