48 years ago it happened, around 4 am local time (10 pm New York time). It was certainly the legendary, unforgettable “Rumble in the Jungle” between heavyweight superstars Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The battle, which was held in bad conditions, deep in the middle of Africa, in Zaire, was watched by a television audience of 1 billion people, a quarter of the world’s population.
A greater fight has never been fought. Better fight, that’s a different story. The great Ali-Foreman fight of course happened in the golden age; The 1970s were a special time for boxing, at any weight. But the heavyweights really ruled the world at that time. It’s time for the World Heavyweight Championship – the World Heavyweight Championship; as there are not many belts blocking the system as it is today – it is the main title in the world of sports.
And how Ali and Foreman fought to either get her back (in Ali’s case) or keep him (in Big George’s case). The action was interesting, however it was because of the good tactics used by Ali with amazing results that this fight remained in the public mind for a long time. She doesn’t get old, watching the father of boxing/spring/professor Ali get frustrated and frustrated with Foreman with rope-a-dope, the way he fires his own accurate shots from the ropes, the way Ali puts Foreman in danger by going overboard, he sets up a trap. Here’s an “unbeatable” puncher who looks like a boxing champion.
Foreman was not a boxer at the time; he was a punching tyrant, nothing more. And when Ali took that power away from Foreman, this by taking the same punches he would throw while returning shots to the head, jaw and face, Foreman had nothing. From the gas (“what you all call petrol,” Ali told the British audience during the filming of the extraordinary film “Audience With Muhammad Ali” from the end of 1974) by the 8th round, Foreman, hit with a beautiful Ali’s combination, first spun, then fell to the mat.
Ali did and his fans never stopped celebrating. Yes, fights like Ali-Frazier III, Larry Holmes-Ken Norton, and one or two others are more fulfilling, but no one can have the eternal glory that “The Rumble” enjoys.
There was pure magic in the ring that night, in the wee hours of the morning, and Ali was a real magician (another unofficial nickname given to The Greatest). After the fight, Ali was found staring at the Congo River, he didn’t say a word, he didn’t move a muscle, he was just thinking, he had a soul. “You will never know what this means to me,” Ali told the media when he came out of his deep thoughts.
Perhaps Ali never knew the magnitude of the fight and its results for the entire world. How much it will continue to mean for decades, maybe even generations to come.
Some information about the fight:
Ali led all three scorecards going into the 8th and final round: 70-67, 68-66, 69-66.
Archie Moore, Foreman’s partner, later said he feared Foreman might kill Ali.
No one knew that Ali would use his dope techniques, with Bundini Brown only explaining how Ali “would find a way to win.”
Before the fight, the famous football player Jim Brown was supposed to say “If Ali wins, it will be a long fight.”
Legendary writer George Plimpton, sitting ringside, told his cousin Norman Mailer that he was “fixed,” as Ali willingly went to the ropes in the second round.
Foreman was entered as a 3/1 favorite on fight night. Many experts felt that Ali was the ultimate disgrace.
Ali weighed 216.7, Foreman at 220 pounds.
On the card, heavyweight Bobby Stewart won in six rounds. Stewart would, years later, “discover” Mike Tyson.
Throughout his life, Ali said that the fight with Foreman and his victory was the best for him in all the fights he fought.