No Way But to Fight: George Foreman and the Business of Boxing

Andrew R. Smith (Author)


Olympic gold medalist. Two-time world heavyweight champion. Hall of Famer. Infomercial and reality TV star. George Foreman's fighting ability is matched only by his acumen for selling. Yet the complete story of Foreman's rise from urban poverty to global celebrity has never been told until now.

Raised in Houston's "Bloody Fifth" Ward, battling against scarcity in housing and food, young Foreman fought sometimes for survival and other times just for fun. But when a government program rescued him from poverty and introduced him to the sport of boxing, his life changed forever.

In No Way but to Fight, Andrew R. M. Smith traces Foreman's life and career from the Great Migration to the Great Society, through the Cold War and culture wars, out of urban Houston and onto the world stage where he discovered that fame brought new challenges. Drawing on new interviews with George Foreman and declassified government documents, as well as more than fifty domestic and international newspapers and magazines, Smith brings to life the exhilarating story of a true American icon. No Way but to Fight is an epic worthy of a champion.

Product Details

$29.95  $27.55
University of Texas Press
Publish Date
January 10, 2020
6.3 X 1.4 X 9.0 inches | 1.6 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Andrew R. M. Smith is an assistant professor of sport management and history at Nichols College. Originally from Guelph, Ontario, he lives with his wife and daughters in Woodstock, Connecticut.


"Unquestionably, [Smith] did his homework, including research into declassified government documents, and he takes readers to far-flung locales, including Zaire in 1974 or the famous 'Rumble in the Jungle' with Muhammad Ali...students of the sport will find plenty to chew on."--Kirkus (09/29/2019)
"Comprehensive...[Smith's] analysis reaps insights and dispels misconceptions, bringing forth little-known details about the great fighters of Foreman's era."--Foreword Reviews (11/01/2019)
"A compelling glimpse into the career of a true American success story."--Booklist (12/01/2019)
"[A] well-researched account...Foreman fans and those who remember his Rumble in the Jungle will enjoy this adept look at the champion's life inside the ring."--Library Journal (12/01/2019)
"[No Way but to Fight] will fill a need for information about all of Foreman's life story."--All Sports Books (01/05/2020)
"Excellent...a superbly well-researched account of George Foreman's eventful life...This is a cracking story and while Foreman's life has been dissected before, Smith's account, which includes fresh interviews with the man himself as well as extracts from recently declassified government documents, rates as perhaps the best."--Bristol Post (01/15/2020)
"[A] fascinating, colorful new biography...From an era when boxing's influence reverberated across the United States and the globe, to when Foreman became better known for his infomercials than what he accomplished in the ring, No Way but to Fight uses the boxer as a lens to show a changing society. Smith emphasizes Foreman's ability to reshape and adapt his image while also nothing the athlete's complexities. He writes of a boxer who ultimately triumphed in the most unvirtuous of sports."-- (01/28/2020)
"In No Way but to Fight, Smith...shows that from his upbringing in Houston's Fifth Ward to his role as a spokesman for the Foreman Grill, Foreman always fought to redefine himself along with the times. Smith's telescoping view showcases a Foreman that played with different personalities--including American patriot, soul man, and evangelical preacher--in order to achieve success at distinct stages of his life...No Way but to Fight will appeal to readers interested in the links between money, race, and prize fighting in the United States."-- (01/28/2020)
"An insightful life study...Smith's captivating narrative suggests that Mr. Foreman is much more than the outsize roles he has played...[No Way but to Fight] makes it plain that the man who was once one of the rarest of power punchers is also one of those rare celebrities who seem to have learned from their vast experience."-- (03/05/2020)