So here’s what we know: Yesterday, at approximately 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 68-year-old former two-time heavyweight champion boxer George Foreman challenged 65-year-old actor Steven Seagal to a 10-round, style vs. style fight via the following tweet.
When asked to confirm his reasons for throwing down such a bewildering gauntlet, Foreman only added that he plans on “fighting one more time” and that Seagal “is a true fight.” Oh and also that the fight would do 2 million pay-per-views guaranteed. And that he was currently shopping the idea to “Mayweather promotion.”
Obviously, this is a story that affords a lot of questions. A LOT of questions. Has Foreman finally lost the plot? Would a fight like this even stand a chance of getting sanctioned? Is Foreman only challenging Seagal to set up a fight with Vladimir Putin down the line and end the impending second Cold War? Is this somehow all Conor McGregor’s fault?
I’m not here to answer those questions (except for the second, which is yes, likely because of the fourth, which is also yes). I’m here to set any personal bias or common logic aside and provide an incredibly serious breakdown of exactly how this fight would play out, were it to happen.
Let’s go to the tape:
If you happen to be the kind of fight fan who somehow hasn’t heard of George Foreman, know this: He is exceptionally gifted at the art of face punching. Name an accolade that exists within the boxing realm, and chances are that Foreman has it: a gold medal in the ’68 Olympics, two heavyweight boxing championships, a line of insanely successful countertop grills… the list goes on. We’re talking about a man who decided to step back into the ring at 45 years old and won the damn title
How was Foreman able to accomplish all this? Simply put: Distance management and ruthless, almost superhuman power. As you might have been able to extract from the video above, Foreman was something of an anomaly when it comes to pure punching power — the kind of guy who dented 100-pound heavy bags to the point that they needed to be regularly swapped out during training camps. Of his 76 professional wins, 68 of them came by KO or TKO. Evander Holyfield said that Foreman hit him the hardest he’s ever been hit, and he once fought 6’5″, 245 lb Super Heavyweight Lennox Lewis.
Just look at the punch that won him the title at 45 years old:
To most people, that might look an underwhelming shot to end a fight, but it was enough to put Michael Moorer — a 35-0 heavyweight who had never been knocked out before — down for the count. There is absolutely zero wasted movement on that punch, and one of the many reasons that there have been countless articles and videos devoted to analyzing both Foreman’s technique and his freakish power.
Now let’s check out Seagal in action:
I’m sorry, that’s actually the music video for “Girl It’s Alright”, the opening track off Seagal’s 2005 album, Songs From the Crystal Cave. Watch it. Absorb it. Then listen to his sophomore album, Mojo Priest, and KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FEEL.
Now obviously, there is a lot less footage of Seagal in action to analyze, unless you count that time he took out an entire bar room’s worth of thugs in an attempt to find out if Richie did Bobby Lupo. He also runs weird, but that’s neither here nor there.
So what do we know about Seagal’s martial arts credentials? Well for starters, that he is a 7th-dan (or “Shichidan”) black belt in Aikido and in fact the first American-born Aikido practitioner to operate a dojo in the United States (technically, at least). Aikido, to put it in layman’s terms, is a style of martial arts that combines the harmonious spirit of karate with the joint manipulation-based self-defense techniques of Krav Maga (and is, in fact, one of the techniques used within Krav Maga).
It also involves a lot of slapping.
A couple years ago, the above video of Seagal performing an Aikido demonstration in Russia went viral for reasons that you might be able to ascertain from watching approximately 30 seconds of it — mainly, that it appeared to depict Seagal performing a new, movement-free dance in a ninja outfit while a group of lackeys did somersaults around him. Seagal was obviously infuriated when confronted with the notion that the demonstration — and to some degree, Aikido — was fake, but it certainly didn’t help that the only credible footage of him performing his art looked faker than one of his bargain bin, direct-to-DVD movies. Though in terms of technique breakdown, I will say that the wrist lock he pulls off at the 18-second mark looks absolutely nasty, fake flip or no.
Around 2010, Seagal also started making a name for himself in the MMA world, after a video of him “training” Anderson Silva started making the rounds.
Seagal started accompanying Silva to open workouts, cornering him during fights, and generally (though never outright) championing himself as some sort of MMA guru. It got so out of hand that at one point, he claimed to have taught Anderson Silva the infamous front kick he used to knock out Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Seagal faded out of the scene soon thereafter, but the question is: Did he actually instill Silva with some secretive, next-level Aikido skills he picked up in his years as an instructor?
No. The answer is no. As proof, I offer this video of Silva and some teammates mocking Seagal, prosthetic paunch and all.
So what do we take away from all this? Would George Foreman decapitate Seagal in a single punch were they to actually mix things up in the squared circle? Or has Seagal just been a sleeping, slapping giant this entire time? Let’s break it down by category:
Power: Advantage Foreman
Speed: Advantage Seagal
Punches: Advantage Foreman
Kicks: Advantage Seagal (by default, though his kicks are nothing to boast about)
In-Ring Experience: Advantage Foreman
Had a Reality Cop Show: Advantage Seagal
Designed a Lean, Mean, Fat Grilling Machine: Advantage Foreman
Physicality: Advantage Foreman
Suffice it to say, there is no price that I would not pay to see this. No price.