On October 30, 1974 possibly the biggest fight in combat sports history took place in Kinshasa, Zaire (It is now called Democratic Republic of the Congo). Muhammad Ali took on George Foreman for The Ring, WBC & WBA Heavyweight titles.
Ali came in the underdog for this fight. Ali was still seen as an amazing boxer, but did not seem like he had possessed the sting and charisma that he once had before he was suspended for 3 1/2 years for refusal to comply with the United States draft. Foreman however was crushing his opponents much like a young Mike Tyson did in the 1980’s.
Foreman was 40-0 going into that fight and only went to a decision 3 times during those 40 wins. We see Tyson’s highlights all of the time, but a lot of Foreman’s fights were not broadcasted the same way. Tyson was more short and compact, but both Foreman and Tyson possessed insane knockout power.
Ali had 2 losses coming into the Foreman fight and they were against Ken Norton and Joe Frazier. Ali ended up redeeming those losses by decision, but the crazy thing is that Foreman took both Norton and Frazier out in just two rounds a piece. There is no question that George Foreman was the scariest man on the planet at that time.
During the fight, Ali made it a point to take everything Foreman had and throw it back on him. Ali actually leaned back against the ropes as Foreman threw everything he had to try to knock Ali out. Ali would keep throwing straight jabs to Foreman’s face that eventually made it puffy over time. Once Ali noticed that Foreman began to tire in the 8th round, he started to move like the Ali of old with his signature shuffle and lit Foreman up until he eventually knocked Foreman out.
Not even fights in movies could have reenacted what took place in the Rumble in the Jungle. What Ali did that day did not even seem human. Ali showed that it is not always the hardest hitter that will win the fight, it is the person that keeps moving forward, even though it seems like they are behind, will be the fighter that will eventually prosper.