Muhammad Ali Metaphor About The Match With George Foreman: ‘I Shall Be The Matador And Foreman The Bull’


Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
George Foreman is a man of ingenuous honesty. ‘A boxer,’ he said when his mind was functioning again, ‘never sees the big one that hits him.’

What hit him, in fact, was a Bren-gun burst of quick blows, a left hook that spun him round into the real line of fire and a right that put him on the floor for the first time in his professional career.

He sprawled there, blinking and subconsciously mouthing the count to himself. He had not one chance in 50 of getting up again. It was like watching a tank going over the edge of a bridge in slow motion.

He became so confused by Ali’s tactics that he finished the fourth round hurling wild swings into the air, and later missed so badly with the punch that was meant to finish it all that he almost went through the ropes.

Ali slapped him on the bottom. Throughout the fight he talked to Foreman in all the clinches and carried on a running conversation with a black American reporter in between rounds.

In the fifth round he indulged in a piece of exhibitionism so dangerous that it would not be tried by the resident professional fighting farmhands in a fairground boxing booth.


He sagged back so far on the ropes that he was almost in the laps of the TV commentators. And there he stayed for well over a minute, defending himself from Foreman’s frantic hitting only with his forearms and cupped gloves.


Ali took the wildest liberties and still rode back to the world title he regards as personal property with a performance of total genius allied to immense physical courage.

The fight that was reckoned to be his $5m retirement pay-off went precisely as he bragged it would.

‘I shall be the matador and Foreman the bull,’ he told his Zairois brothers last week. The metaphor was exact.

Ali went down, too. Ten seconds after Foreman was counted out, he was knocked down as his faithful leaped into the ring. From then, long into the dawn, he was besieged.

‘I’m going to haunt boxing for the next six months,’ he shouted. ‘I’ll talk to the man who first offers me 10 million dollars.’

You may say a man requires supernatural powers to command such a sum. But maybe Ali has.

This is an abridged version of a report taken from the book: Searching for Heroes: 50 Years of Sporting Encounters by Ian Wooldridge.


Leave a Comment