When, and what, was the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’?
The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, so-christened by boxing promoter Don King, was a legendary heavyweight championship fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa, Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – on October 30, 1974. Foreman, 25, was the undefeated world heavyweight champion, with a pre-fight record of 40 wins, 37 by knockout. By contrast, Ali, 32, first became world heavyweight champion in 1964 but, having been stripped of the title in 1967, surrendered his own unbeaten record, by unanimous decision, to Joe Frazier in the so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Few observers believed Ali could regain the title from his significantly younger opponent.
However, Ali had other ideas and adopted the now infamous ‘rope-a-dope’ tactic in an effort to weaken the punching power of his opponent. Round after round, Ali adopted an uncharacteristically defensive stance against the ropes, allowing Foreman to pummel his arms and body with hundreds of powerful blows, while taunting him to throw wilder and wilder punches. By the eighth round, Foreman had punched himself virtually to a standstill and, seizing the opportunity, Ali produced his own flurry of left and right hooks, sending his opponent head-first towards the canvas. Foreman was still struggling to rise when he was counted out. Ali had won and, in so doing, become only the second boxer in history to regain the world heavyweight title.