The Champ was back and what was in his way to the heavyweight title None other than Big George; the man who knocked out Ken Norton, the only man other than Joe Frazier to defeat Ali at the time, in a mere two rounds. George Foreman was greatly feared for the sheer power he used to humiliate his opponents. At 25, it seemed that Foreman would be able to breeze past the 32 year old Ali. But there’s a reason why The Rumble in the Jungle is arguably the greatest sporting event in the 20th century.
The scene was set in Zaire. Although Ali started with a bang, he realised that he would burn out quickly. Instead, he used the secret plan he told his trainer, Angelo Dundee: the rope-a-dope tactic. By taking blows on the rope, Ali thought he could tire out Foreman. And that’s exactly what happened. Combined with Ali’s straight punches to the face, Foreman was exhausted and hurt by the eighth round. His punching and defense became ineffective. Ali pounced on this opportunity: a 5-punch combination, a left hook and a straight punch later, Foreman was left stumbling to the ground, as Ali was crowned champion of the world once again after three and a half painful years of being banned from the sport.
Ali taught the world so much in this fight: to never give up, and that brain does win over brawn. Foreman also taught us never to give up: although after the fight he hid away, he came back to take the world heavyweight title at 45, becoming at that time the oldest man to ever win the title. This piece highlights the significance of this fight that has been hailed by the entire boxing world as one of, if not the, greatest fight of all time.