Muhammad Ali is a legend in the boxing world. And today, the world woke up to the news of his death while he was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He had been suffering from a respiratory condition that was further complicated by Parkinson’s.
Celebrities have come out in droves to commemorate the once infallible boxing champion, including Nicki Minaj. Having been on a week-long hiatus, Nicki Minaj posted a video of him on her Instagram account, tagging it, “Ali Bomaye.” In the Nicki Minaj clip, the champion shouts, “I am the king of the world… I’m pretty… I’m a bad man. I stood up the world.” The following is the post.
The legend, who was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, got into the spotlight after winning gold in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the light heavyweight category. One of his greatest fights was Rumble In The Jungle against George Foreman. This was in 1979, and Ali was coming out of a three-year hiatus to face a man who was widely considered to be the “baddest” in the world. Foreman had won 34 pro fights at the time and was unbeaten. The following is a report about the event by ESPN.
“He’d [Foreman] won the world title by flattening Joe Frazier six times in less than two rounds, and his two defences had lasted four minutes. In the second, he’d pulverized a visibly nervous Ken Norton, who’d broken Ali’s jaw in beating him the year before. There were genuine fears for Ali’s safety. He was 32 by then and didn’t float like a butterfly any more. It was hard to see how he could stay away from Big George’s punches for long. Foreman looked one-dimensional in training, spending most of his time banging away at punchbags with both hands. But who needs two dimensions when your only one is as destructive as this: all but two of his fights had ended in knockouts, almost always very early knockouts.”
“The fight with Ali was staged in Kinshasa in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was ruled by Joseph-Désiré Mobuto, who wanted to show the world that his vicious and greedy dictatorship was a modern forward-looking state. So he wasn’t impressed when Ali announced to Foreman that ‘My African brothers is going to boil you in the pot. The spectators did chant ‘Ali booma ye’ (Ali kill him) – but it was all in fun, of course.'”
The fight did not end in any deaths but was one of the most historical matches of the last century due to the brilliance and skill demonstrated by both. Surprisingly, Ali survived Foreman’s heavy punches and used the “rope a dope” tactic to wear out his opponent. However, it was a devastating technique to apply against a man like George, and after the fight, he revealed that he had never been hit so hard in his career. He won the fight, with an exhausted George being counted out while on the floor after being knocked out.
The following is the video.
The following is Foreman’s tribute to Muhammad after his demise.
“Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age.”
This is as reported by the BBC.