5. George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle. Jan 24, 1976. Las Vegas. Result: Foreman KO 5
A great heavyweight slugfest between two very hard punching heavyweights. Foreman was now the ex-champion having begun a comeback after losing his title to Muhammad Ali. Ron Lyle was a legit heavyweight contender having lost in a title shot to Ali the year before. Shavers was coming off an impressive knockout victory against the also hard hitting top contender Earnie Shavers.
The Forman-Lyle fight was perhaps the greatest heavyweight slugfest of the last half of the 20th century. “The guys were hitting the canvas left and right. It was amazing,” noted matchmaker Bruce Trampler. The fireworks started at the end of the first round when Lyle staggers Foreman. Then in the second round Foreman turns the tide hurting Lyle against the ropes. Lyle appeared to be in deep trouble when he is saved by an early bell. The second round was only 2 minutes long. They boxed a bit more in the third although both men landed heavy punches. The explosions began in the viscious fourth round. Lyle knocked Foreman down with a hard right followed by a crushing left-right combination. George gets up immediately. Lyle moves in for the kill only to be greeted by a powering right that smashes Lyle to the canvas. Now Foreman moves in for the finish and pounds Lyle against the ropes. Desperate Lyle fights back and a tremendous left sends Foreman crashing down flat on his face. George said to himself “get up and win” refusing to be defeated. George beats the ten count and is saved by the bell. In the 5th round Foreman is badly staggered by a hard right and a left. An uppercut has Foreman seriously hurt but he comes roaring back with a series of blows that has Lyle badly weakened. Foreman softens Lyle up with a series of stiff jabs and then wails on Lyle who is back against the ropes. Lyle collapses from the onslaught of hard punches and is counted out. It was an all time slugfest that had the crowd screaming on its feet.