Most sports fans and certainly any boxing fan will never forget the date: 10/30/74 – Wednesday. The night George Foreman stepped into the ring to defend his title. The fight was held at the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo).
George Foreman – Just the name brings chills back from yesteryear. Here is a man with the highest knock out ratio of all boxers. This boxing machine of a man had amassed 18 knockouts, 12 TKO’s and held a 40-0 record! The man had never been beaten and was pulverizing everyone in his path. He was compared to Sonny Liston – Another former demolition machine who once reigned in the heavyweight division. The night Ali and Foreman stepped into the ring, Ali was a 7:1 underdog.
After the fight Ali noted how his own entourage acted as if they were going to a funeral that night. They thought for sure Ali would be severely injured bu the unstoppable, unbeaten Foreman. They even feared death!
The fight temperature was over 80 degrees and both boxers agreed it felt like it was over 100 in the ring. For the first four rounds, it looked as if age had caught up to Ali. Instead of standing toe to toe with Foreman, Ali would lay on the ropes and let Foreman wail away at him with devastating punches. After the fight, welts covered Ali’s body from the beating Foreman gave him.
In the fifth round, Ali sprung to life landing countless right hand leads along with lightning like combinations.
The sixth and seventh rounds were more of the same. Ali laying on the ropes as Foreman used Ali for a human punching bag.
Ali later claimed his strategy was to lay on the ropes and let Foreman punch himself out. The invention of the “Rope-a-Dope”. Foreman would say years later “If Ali lies on the rope and George becomes a dope, you lose the fight”.
In the eighth round with under 30 seconds left, Ali caught Foreman spinning off the ropes and landed a brutal combination. Foreman made a swan dive to the canvas and was counted out.
The undefeated, unstoppable, unbeatable Foreman had fallen. Fallen to the hands of one of the greatest ring masters of all time, Muhammad Ali.
If you can, buy a copy of this fight or even buy the movie When We Were Kings, which details all the events leading up to the fight and includes the complete fight.
Muhammad Ali: The Greatest fighter of all time? I think so…And so does he!
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