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44 Years Ago Today, Ali And Foreman Went For A Rumble In The Jungle

44 Years Ago Today, Ali And Foreman Went For A Rumble In The Jungle

More than four decades ago today, Muhammad Ali put on boxing a performance that is still talked about to this date.

There are not many times that Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, would head into a fight as the underdog. But fighting against the then-undefeated champion in George Foreman, the bookies had him doomed for defeat before he could even step into the ring.

The Greatest lived up to his reputation in the build up to the fight and showed why he was the trash-talking king.

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"I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick," he said.

Known as the Rumble in the Jungle, the 1974 fight that took place in Kinshasa, Zaire, is now legendary.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Ali deployed his now-famous 'rope-a-dope' tactic against Big George, allowing the defending champion to swing punches at him until he tired himself out. In the eighth round, Ali came out on the offensive against a fatigue-induced Foreman, put him down on the mat and claimed the ultimate bragging rights.

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Foreman later recalled that he had underestimated Ali and revealed a brilliant moment that happened in the fight.

"I was over-confident when I fought him," he wrote for ShortList in 2012. "I'd gone through fighters who'd beaten him, such as Joe Frazier and Kenny Norton. All I thought was, 'Should I be merciful or not?'

"I thought he was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: 'That all you got, George?' I realised that this ain't what I thought it was.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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"I'd never lost before. I was so high with this power that for years I was in denial; they cheated me, I got tricked, something was wrong.

"Then, in 1981, a reporter came to my ranch and asked me: 'What happened in Africa, George?' I had to look him in the eye and say, 'I lost. He beat me.'

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"Before that I had nothing but revenge and hate on my mind, but from then on it was clear. I'll never be able to win that match, so I had to let it go."

And the rest is now history.

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There will never be another boxer like Muhammad Ali.

RIP, champ.


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Was Rumble in the Jungle Ali's best fight?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Boxing News, Boxing, muhammad ali, George Foreman

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Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]