I remember it like yesterday. The date was November 5, 1994. I had just taken a job with a new company and was on a "retreat" in Orlando Florida. The hotel they put us up in was spectacular. I didn't know a soul. After a day of boring meetings, I retreated to the hotel bar. It was there I saw Angela. A stunning blond with a figure that was second to none, she appeared to be WAY out of my league. Little did I know that a sporting event would introduce me to an amazing evening. Before this starts sounding like a "Penthouse Forum" letter, let me get to the point.
The hotel bar decided that night to show a pay-per view heavyweight championship fight. Upon discovering this, I immediately grabbed my Miller Light & made a beeline for the best seat in front of the big screen. Three feet from the table that offered the best view, I nearly knocked over this incredibly beautiful woman that I had been admiring at the bar. "I'm so sorry...are you OK?" I shyly asked. "I'm fine...I'm sorry too...Were you wanting this table?" I looked her and said, "No, I can sit somewhere else, I was just going to watch the fight...you can have it." Then this woman shocked me by asking if I'd like to share the table to watch the fight.
After questioning my own confidence, I accepted. We made small talk, commented on the preliminary fights, and she shocked me with her vast knowledge of the "sweet science." That evening goes down as one of the greatest evenings in my life. I had been unemployed for a spell and was still recovering from a painful end to a relationship. My confidence and self esteem were incredibly low. To meet this woman, under these unusual circumstances, and for her to be a near perfect match to a woman I'd only dreamed of, was nothing short of a miracle. So again...why should you care? The reason is this.
I ended up having a torrid long-distance relationship with this woman that lasted a couple of months, had the most attractive "arm-candy" I'd ever had in my life, and used the confidence from this random "hook-up" for many more successful ventures with women I'd considered out of my league. After all of that info, the truth of the matter is when I think back on that night, the first thing that jumps to mind is a 45-year-old George Foreman winning the heavyweight championship of the world.
I consider myself a pretty good judge of boxers. Though underwhelmed by Michael Moorer's win over Evander Holyfield to become champion, I was less impressed by Foreman's prior bouts leading up to this fight. Foreman looked slow, plodding, even a little disinterested, in mixing it up. He appeared to be driven by the massive paychecks he never earned in his younger and better years. Moorer had been floored by Holyfield early in his bout, gotten up and outpointed the former champ, to claim his belts by decision. I took that as a sign the man could take a punch.
The fight began and Moorer was using Foreman's head like a speed bag. A constant barrage of jabs from the considerably younger and faster Moorer made Forerman's face puffy within three rounds. Even my new female companion stated Foreman looked like a '40s style boxer, with his right cocked, waiting for an opening. (Did I mention this chick had vast boxing knowledge? God I miss her!)
After the ninth round concluded, I threw the white napkin under my beer at the screen. "Go down, Rock...You ain't got nuttin' left, ya bum!!" I said, hoping Foreman could somehow hear me. We all had gotten caught up in Foreman's comeback. It was amusing. For those of us old enough, it was jarring because Foreman had been such a stoic figure in his prime; no personality at all. Some people watched like you would a NASCAR race, just waiting for the crash. This was getting painful. Moorer was doing everything but stealing Foreman's social security check.
Now this has been a subject of self-contention for me. I sometimes believe I was so enamored by my new friend (combined with the discomfort of watching a legend's career end in a most violent way), that I may NOT have seen the KO happen. With all the replays you see afterwards, it makes it easy to forget. But I do remember the room exploding. Boxing fans, curious onlookers, barflies, and staff all erupted when that cocked right hit Moorer's chin. When you saw it in real-time, it looked like a graze. We were all waiting for Moorer to get up. By the time the ref got to six, it was glaringly obvious that the fight was over.
Seeing Foreman struggle to raise his arms after the fight was called, just proved how much punishment he had endured waiting for that one small opening. The untrusting part of me, who had been screwed by boxing's shenanigans, began to question whether Moorer had taken a dive. Those thoughts were put to rest during the post-fight interview, when a still-foggy looking Moorer looked very humbled as he struggled to speak through a nastily swollen lip.
Eventually, the belts were put on Foreman, the interviews were conducted, the analyses was given, and the coverage ended. It was then, as I was leaving the bar with this incredible woman, that it really hit me: I had just witnessed history. I stopped at the door and looked back one last time. That is an evening I'll never forget and it was because of a fight. Who'da thunk that!!!
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