Float Like a Butterfly…

Muhammad Ali v. George Foreman, The Rumble in the Jungle.

“When he met the man who broke Ali’s jaw, Foreman knocked (Kenny) Norton down three times before the ref stopped the fight in round two.

So when The Rumble in the Jungle was announced, it was to be an epic battle for the ages – George Foreman versus Muhammad Ali.

The fight was held in Zaire, Africa.

When the night of the fight finally arrived, the boxing world was on edge. Most felt Ali would take a savage beating. Even the atmosphere in Ali’s dressing room was quiet as a funeral, provoking Ali to ask everyone there why they were all so quiet.

But the reason was clear, they feared for Ali’s life.

When the first round began, Ali traded punches with Foreman, but soon Foreman began pounding on Ali’s body with those huge arms. Ali started to cover up to protect himself. Three minutes later, the bell rang to end the first round.

Then the most remarkable thing happens. Ali goes to his corner, but doesn’t sit down. He just stares across the ring at Foreman. You can see his mind racing.

Ali stares across the ring and decides to completely change his fight plan.

He has now finally felt the punishing power of Foreman’s punches. The power that crushed Frazier and Norton. Ali realizes he can’t go toe-to-toe with Foreman.

He has to win another way.

And in that moment, Ali changes his entire fight plan.

When the second round starts, Ali just leans against the ropes and lets Foreman do all the punching.

He just lets Foreman pound his body, round after round. But – people at ringside start to notice Ali is whispering in Foreman’s ear. As writer Norman Mailer later said, it was almost intimate.

What nobody knew was that Ali was asking Foreman why he was doing most of his punching with his right hand. He taunted Foreman, saying he must not have much of a left.

After rounds of whispering to Foreman, Foreman changed hands. He began punching Ali with his left.

It was genius, because Ali’s left side was starting to go numb from Foreman’s right punches. But nudging Foreman to change sides, Ali bought the time to get the feeling back in his left arm again.

Meanwhile, Foreman was getting exhausted punching Ali. Then, in the 8th round, Ali saw a sliver of opportunity:

Ali had done the impossible. He had knocked out the mighty George Foreman.”

From CBC’s Under the Influence radio show.


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