Tuesday, May 22, 2007

George Foreman - The Straight Dope

ESPN reports that the lovable, teddy bear-like George Foreman is out peddling a new book. Somehow, over the 30-something years since he fought Muhammad Ali in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for the heavyweight championship, Foreman now recalls an interesting fact of the fight. Very interesting.

You will recall that back in October 1974, the fight between these two heavyweights was billed as the "Rumble in the Jungle." George Foreman was tearing through the heavyweight division much like a young Mike Tyson, except George was WHIPPIN' actual fighters: Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, both of whom had previously beaten Ali. Conventional wisdom was that George Foreman was going to knock out (and possibly kill) the flashy and flamboyant Muhammad Ali.

Since the fight was being shown live via closed circuit (this was before cable, ya'll) in the US, the combatants entered the ring at 3:00 am in Zaire! Muhammad Ali had promised to dance around in his usual style, but this night, he leaned against the ropes and took EVERYTHING George Foreman could throw at him (known as the Rope-A-Dope)... and to add insult to injury, he would lean in close and tell George that his punches didn't hurt! By the eighth round, a flustered and arm weary George Foreman was no match for a flurry of pin-point and devastating punches from Ali. He did a clumsy pirouette before falling in a heap in the middle of the ring... Ali had vanquished Big Bad George Foreman and regained the heavyweight championship!

Now, 33 years later, Mr. Foreman finally remembers that foul tasting water and asserts that he was not beat by Ali's Rope-A-Dope, but by some dope added to his water bottle!

plez sez: I was but a lad of 12-years when the "Rumble in the Jungle" occurred... and if you get the opportunity, you should definitely check out the Oscar Award winning movie "When We Were Kings," which recounts the buildup to the fight! After the fight, I can remember my friends and I chanting: "Rumble in the Jungle! Ali! Ali!" I've ALWAYS been a big Muhammad Ali fan (yeah! I cried - almost boo hoo'd - when he lit the torch for the Olympic Games here in Atlanta... still get the chills when I think about it).

Well, back to George Foreman... I have one word for his "revelation"... PATHETIC!!! He was a fluke, in a similar vein of Mike Tyson; a bully who never got hit back by his opponents. But when he finally climbed in the ring with someone smarter, who could take a punch, and could deliver a punch (a la Evander Holifield and Buster Douglas), he crumpled under the pressure. George Foreman was so dejected by the loss, he retired from boxing in his prime (after only ONE loss), went into the ministry, and disappeared from the sport for over a decade. Yeah, he waited until Ali and Larry Holmes were finished before he came back... now that's what I call: PATHETIC!

To my way of thinking, the ONLY dope in the ring that night in Zaire was GEORGE FOREMAN! And I just threw my George Foreman Grill in the garbage!


endangered coffee said...

Funny you should mention it, but I just threw my Foreman Grill in the trash, too, but only cause I'm moving, not as any statement. Seriously though, those things stink up the kitchen with the grease and steam.

CapCity said...

Nooooo u didn't really trash your grill in protest!? LOL!

I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE the movie When we were Kings. It was that movie that really increased my love of boxing! I always thought that Ali was BEAUTIFUL - but that movie put the cream on top for me!

I know that George went into a MAJOR depression after that fight. I thought that his new found spokesperson success was proof that he'd let it go. I feel for George, but he'd be better off just living well - it really IS the best revenge. NO ONE is going to care whether his water was tainted. Who was the agent/publisher who said, "Yea, George set the record straight." ?? Hasn't he been USED enough? The reputation of the name George is getting worse & worse...

thanx for bringing this to my attention. for the record, i never bought a grill & now I never will;-)

plez... said...

my father was a HUGE boxing fan (as were most Black men of his generation who grew up with Joe Louis, Floyd Paterson, Sugar Ray Robinson, et. al.). but he was the BIGGEST FAN of Muhammad Ali! i think he had reverence for his athletic skill as well as his social consciousness. he witnessed Ali-Frazier I at Madison Square Garden and came home quite upset and dejected that Ali had lost (he couldn't believe they had given Frazier the decision)... i was only 8 yrs old at the time, but i still recall him recounting the fight blow-by-blow and telling us how badly Ali had beat Frazier during the bout.

so by the time of the Ali-Foreman fight, i was an Ali devotee and could barely contain myself when i was finally able to see the fight on ABC's Wide World of Sports a few weeks later.

re: My Discarded George Foreman Grill - we've had that thing for close to 10 years, it had only been used a handful of times to grill some hamburgers, and it no longer fit the decor of the kitchen since we installed new granite countertops a few months ago... so it was destined for the trash heap, anyway! *smile*


OT: Manny Pacquiao is so awesome to watch! Watch Manny Pacquiao speed shadowboxing all day on the official MP Youtube Channel now!