George Foreman Reflects on Boxing's Toughest Chin: 'My Hands Hurt from Hitting Him'

George Johnson boxed during the fifties, sixties and seventies of the last century, and shared the ring with numerous greats such as the aforementioned Foreman, as well as Joe Frazier

by Sededin Dedovic
George Foreman Reflects on Boxing's Toughest Chin: 'My Hands Hurt from Hitting Him'
© Stephen Cohen / Getty Images

Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, both heavyweight legends in their own right, once engaged in a debate over who possessed the most formidable chin in the history of the sport. Surprisingly, they both reached a unanimous decision, placing Oliver McCall on the throne due to his remarkable resilience.

McCall, a former WBC champion, boasted an impressive record of 73 matches, and astonishingly, no opponent managed to send him to the canvas. However, the discourse on the heavyweight division's toughest beard did not conclude with Lewis and Bruno.

The venerable George Foreman, a two-time heavyweight champion himself, added his perspective to the conversation. Foreman, no stranger to intense battles in the ring, singled out George Johnson as the epitome of toughness. Known by the moniker "Scrap Iron," George Johnson made his mark in the boxing world during the fifties, sixties, and seventies.

His illustrious career saw him share the ring with iconic figures such as Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Sonny Liston. Johnson retired in 1975 after participating in 54 professional matches, securing 22 victories, enduring 27 losses, and settling for five draws.

Foreman vividly recalled his own encounter with Johnson in May 1970, a bout that ended with Foreman securing a technical knockout in the seventh round. Despite emerging victorious, Foreman expressed his frustration, revealing, "I hit him so hard that I hurt my hands in that fight.

He beat 'Smokin' Joe Frazier by far and had the best chin I've ever seen." The fight, held in Inglewood, California, showcased Johnson's unparalleled endurance, leaving an indelible mark on Foreman's memory. In an interview with The Ring magazine, Foreman reflected on the night, emphasizing that although the fight was stopped, he did not manage to knock out the unyielding George Johnson.

This testament to Johnson's resilience only added to his reputation as one of the heavyweight division's enduring forces, earning him the title of the "toughest" according to the venerable George Foreman.