On this day in 1974, the fight known around the world as RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE took place in Kinshasa, Zaire. Muhammad Ali regained the heavyweight title by knocking out George Foreman in the eighth round.
The event was one of Don King’s first ventures as a professional boxing promoter. It was the most publicized fight of all time. When Ali was finally reinstated it was just a matter of time before the two would fight.
Here’s how it went: Foreman went right at Ali in the first round. Ali kept saying, “hit harder” in true Ali style as he danced around the ring. He was quite the showman with the dancing and taunting. At one point Ali even shouted, “They told me you could PUNCH, George!”
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee – his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. – Muhammad Ali
After Ali’s victory, the words “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” became part of our culture. I remember hearing the kids at school say it often.
I have fond memories of the Gillette Friday Night Fights on television. Not because of the bouts – oh no way – but because I got to spend time with my daddy. He never missed those fights – and as odd as it may sound, it was my chance to just sit and color in my coloring book or something. I remember my dad punching his bare fists in the air saying, “get ‘im… get ‘im!” He got a little involved when it came to the fights. He got red in the face as he punched the air… it was so funny. I was more entertained watching my daddy than watching the fight.
Back then our television sets were all black and white, so there was always one boxer wearing white trunks and the other wearing black ones. That’s good – if they had not done that, we’d get confused – lol.
Boxing was my field mission, the first part of my life. – Muhammad Ali
Both Ali and Foreman received five million dollars for that fight! Then of course, George Foreman went on to invent the greatest indoor grill ever! Now why couldn’t I have invented the greatest indoor grill ever??? I need the money – I doubt that he did. Sigh. Oh well.
Muhammad amazed me, I’ll admit it. He out-thought me, he out-fought me. That night, he was just the better man in the ring. – George Foreman
I was reading a short story about two brothers who were learning to box and decided to fight each other. The author of the story said that their bout lasted about 4 minutes! He didn’t say 4 rounds, but 4 minutes! His point was, it seemed like forever – so can you imagine how long it must have seemed to Ali and Foreman to go 8 rounds? You might say… those two went the distance!
Sometimes in our lives as Christians it seems like we go the distance. Temptations are all around us, but as this wonderful poem by Lucinda reminds us… our God is willing and able to help us when we’re fighting with ol’ split-hoof in the ring. More to the point… He does our fighting for us if we’ll just ask Him to.
We’re not perfect people, but we serve a perfect God and He loves us so much and He’s with us to help us overcome the evil one. We can’t fight the devil on our own. Our coach, Christ Jesus – He will fight with us and for us. ❤
If you have a special memory about the Gillette Friday Night Fights or this particular fight, please leave a comment for me! Sometimes it’s just fun to take a little trip down memory lane, isn’t it? 🙂