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The Legendary Foreman Returns Again

Photo by Barthelemy Rigaud on Unsplash

Very soon a new sports biographical film “George Foreman “The Indestructible” directed by George Tillman – Jr. will be released on the big screens.

Foreman is a legendary warrior and has accomplished many feats. He has defeated the best fighters of his time, but he has also lost to the most deserving. And his return to the ring and winning the world title at the age of 45 was a real sensation.

But there is one event that excites me the most, and that is Rumble in the Jungle. Today, I want to refresh your memory on this truly epochal event. Join in.

In 1974, Big George ruled the heavyweight division unchallenged. His ruthless victories over Joe Frazier, Jose Roman and Ken Norton put the fear of God into all the other contenders. Foreman was the most devastating puncher since Joe Louis. Still, one single fight changed George, and he could never be the same again.

On October 30, 1974, in Zaire, he was to fight the Greatest Muhammad Ali. Few people believed in Ali then, because Foreman was younger and stronger, and bookmakers at the time estimated the odds of the Louisville Lip as 5 to 1. Before the match, most fans believed that George could not only knock Ali out, but also cripple him. Ferdie Pacheco’s personal physician had arranged with the local airline for a standby plane to fly him to Spain in case of Ali’s head injury. After all, Kinshasa would not have been able to provide emergency medical care.

Foreman was evil incarnate that night, and Ali was destined to be a hero.

Before the fight, there was an oppressive atmosphere in Foreman’s locker room. Archie Moore, former World Heavyweight Champion, who was George’s second trainer, kept repeating the same phrase: “I feel death in the air… I feel death…”.

As Ali stepped into the ring, one of the reporters wished him good luck, to which Ali responded in his sharp manner:

“Luck? No, brother, only skill!”

It was clear from the first gong that this was going to be the greatest fight in the ring of all time. Foreman immediately pushed Ali to the ropes and began to destroy his opponent as hard as he could.

The myth that exists tells us that Ali missed a lot of punches until the champion was exhausted and was himself the victim. In fact, Ali was incredibly cunning and lured Foreman close on purpose. Then The Greatest used a little-known rope-a-dope tactic. He literally leaned on the ropes with his back to absorb Foreman’s punches, blocking them and then he went straight into a clinch. During the whole fight he kept hitting him: “Come on, George, hit me harder! Is this your hardest punch?”

Literally the whole room groaned, asking Ali to step away from the ropes and not take all this monstrous damage, but Ali had a plan.

Most of Foreman’s punches were blocked, the action stifled, and by the end of the seventh round Foreman was exhausted physically and mentally. After all, Ali was able to get inside his head and impose his game plan. Before the last, eighth round, Ali winked and showed his tongue to Joe Frazier, who had been invited to comment on the fight, and… thunder rang out.

Fifteen seconds before the end of the round, Ali unleashed a series of lightning strikes, and the exhausted Foreman collapsed on the canvas.

Under the light of a pale African moon and a huge army of fans chanting Ali Bomaye! (which means “Ali, kill him!”), the Titan was defeated on the screens of millions of television viewers. It was definitely a night unlike any other.

Immediately after the defeat, Foreman began talking about being poisoned and his head coach, Dick Sadler, had something to do with it. In addition to giving him the “poisoned” water to drink, he was constantly pushing George forward, even though he saw his fighter wasting his energy and not getting results. With all this, Foreman tried to delay the agony of defeat.

In 2012, in one of his interviews, George confessed that he couldn’t find the reason for this defeat. And that it, like a non-lethal shot, tormented him all his life: “You know, I just lost that fight.

This great fighter of the last century, whose blows made the colossus of the ring fall, who was at the top of the boxing Olympus, found the strength to admit defeat and not look for someone to blame.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to the release of a movie about George. Certainly not all screenings about athletes have been successful. For example, the last TV series about Mike Tyson caused unequivocal resentment and received low ratings among viewers.

I hope Hollywood producers will work on their mistakes…but that’s inaccurate.

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