Rumble in the Jungle: Muhammad Ali
October 30th, 1974, is an extremely important date for boxing fans all over the world. This date marks the historic sports event 'Rumble in the Jungle' between two excellent and outstanding boxers in history, namely George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. This day crafted the future careers for both opponents and was a crucial pivoting point of their lives. It was held at the 20th of May stadium. The audience was humongous, and the crowd of almost sixty thousand spectators added to the excitement and anticipation around one of the world's biggest and most grand boxing events.
The event took place in the previously known Kinshasa, Zaire (modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo). Fans remember it as the most exhilarating and hyped sports event of the entire century. Not only was there a massive audience watching the two iconic athletes compete, but the show was also broadcasted on live television, giving it access to an unimaginable number of viewers, who sat at their homes, thousands of miles away. Records estimate that at least one billion viewers watched the live transmission at that time. This was the highest number for any live program broadcasted on Television at the time, and the record was unbroken for many years.
The huge suspense and thrill around the boxing fight were also because the two contesters came with huge titles on their shoulders. Their names were such that they did not need any introduction, and the idea of them facing each other in a boxing ring was magical and had an unwavering charisma around it. George Foreman was an undefeated heavyweight lift champion globally, and this was another event in his series of prior consecutive victories.
On the other hand, was Muhammad Ali, a name that was chanted by hundreds and thousands of fans every time he stepped on the street of the boxing ring. He was also the former heavyweight champion until George Foreman won his title. Although it was hard to bet on any contestant because both of them had their strong suits, the tables were somewhat tilted towards George Foreman, simply because he had been undefeated world champion at the time.
Naturally, Muhammad Ali was an underdog in this situation, but the impatience of spectators grew as they saw both opponents prepare aggressively to face each other in the boxing ring.
Muhammad Ali had lost his license to box seven years before the Rumble in the Jungle event in 1967. He did not have his license to box for almost three and a half years. This was because he refused to be recruited into the United States Armey and did not want to be deployed overseas for any mission of the US military.
Three years later, in 1970, when he regained his license back, he was eligible to participate in additional tournaments, and he made multiple attempts to win a world-recognized title and prove himself again in the ring. However, in his fights with Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena, he could not win, which kept on fueling his thirst to be number one.
On the contrary, George Foreman had already bagged the world championship title in Olympics 1968. He was well known for his strong and sturdy athletic built and powerful punches. In addition, he was ranked at number one for his heavy weight lifting. By the time he was going to face Muhammad Ali in the 'Rumble in the Jungle' event, he had been undefeated by any of his contemporaries. He was an obvious favorite for the masses against Muhammad Ali in the upcoming event.