Advertisement

Foreman Earns Easy $5 Million : Boxing: He stops Ellis in the third round and is never really threatened.

Share via
TIMES STAFF WRITER

For 15 years, through youth leagues, high school, college and even a brief stint with the Raiders, Jimmy Ellis always wore a football helmet.

He sure could have used one Saturday night.

With only boxing gloves to protect him, the big-hearted but clearly outgunned Ellis became George Foreman’s 66th knockout victim in a 73-fight career that has spanned four decades.

Foreman hammered Ellis with jabs in the first round, brought a left uppercut to the party in the second and then let both hands dance against Ellis’s head in the third, sending him reeling on vibrating legs until referee Richard Steele halted the fight at 1:36 of that round.

Ellis never went down. Wobbled repeatedly by Foreman’s punches, he clinched, pinned Foreman to the ropes and fought back, even stopping Foreman in his tracks with two left hooks.

Advertisement

In the third, however, Foreman began unloading at will, stopping the attack only to assess the damage, waiting for Steele to halt the thrashing and then, when Steele didn’t, stepping back in to rock the groggy Ellis again.

Finally, after a right hand that turned Ellis sideways and a monstrous left jab, Ellis began swaying, hands low, defenseless.

Steele quickly jumped in and halted the fight.

“He punched hard, but I knew he would,” said Ellis, 228, an All-American linebacker at Boise State before a brief career with the Raiders in 1987. “But I’ve been hit that hard. But it just kept happening.

“It was a good experience. I’m still learning.”

It was the first loss in 18 fights for Ellis, who is from Redondo Beach, but the previous 16 were against little more than punching bags.

Against Foreman, 42, Ellis, 27, never had a chance.

“I hit him with some good shots and then stepped back to let the referee decide what to do,” Foreman said. “Jimmy Ellis is a young man. He’ll get better. He’ll be great by the time he gets to be my age.

“The thing is, you only want to win. That’s all. It’s a gentleman’s sport. There’s no need to hurt a guy.”

Advertisement

Foreman earned $5 million for the rather easy night. Ellis, who had never earned more than $1,500 for a fight, was paid $350,000.

From the opening bell, the mismatch was obvious. Foreman, 253, moving only slightly faster than the sun moves across the sky, began throwing big, heavy, ponderous jabs that arrived at Ellis’s face.

Ellis tried to get inside and work Foreman’s body and delivered a few heavy blows to Foreman’s midsection that had the former champion panting midway through the first round.

“Hey,” Foreman said later. “A 230-pound guy starts punching you in the stomach, you’ll be breathing hard, too.”

But the steady flow of Foreman jabs soon had Ellis backpedaling. And still they came, more than 25 of them in the first round.

In the second, Foreman, seemingly convinced that Ellis could cause him little more than discomfort, began to open the attack. The heavy jabs were followed by much heavier rights. And midway through the round, he delivered a short left uppercut that sent Ellis bouncing into the sagging ropes.

Advertisement

In the third round, Foreman threw 49 jabs, by computer count. Forty landed heavily against Ellis’s face.

“He definitely has a big jab,” Ellis said. “I worked so hard on being able to duck it, but I just couldn’t. It threw everything off. It kept me from doing much.”

The heavyweight bout was preceded by a bout for the vacant International Boxing Federation junior welterweight championship.

Rafael Pineda and Roger Mayweather turned in eight of the most dreary rounds boxing has ever seen, bringing roaring waves of boos from the crowd of 6,200 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

But in the ninth, Pineda, from Colombia, fired a lunging left hook that caught Mayweather on the jaw. Mayweather dropped hard, tangled in the bottom rope, and stayed there for four minutes.

Pineda, in his first world title fight, moved his record to 27-1 with 25 knockouts. Mayweather, 30, is 40-7.

Advertisement
Advertisement