Muhammad Ali Smacked in the Belly by Joe Frazier, and Feint Slapped by George Foreman – Fans React to Resurfaced Video of Boxing’s Greatest


An old video showcasing the top three virtuosos of the sweet science mingling in the ring to the utter delight of those present as well as the ones watching from their homes was shared a few days ago. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman fought each other through the 1970s. They battered each other viciously inside the ring. But outside, friendship and warmth substituted. The footage reportedly dates back to December 1973, barely a month before the Ali-Frazier rematch, followed by the ‘Rumble in the Jungle,’ in October.

Soon after Muhammad Ali entered the ring, Joe Frazier followed. As many would have expected, the two got into banter. But then, from the background, ‘Big’ George Foreman joins. Towards the end of the footage, Ali follows Foreman as he walks towards the ropes to exit. Finally, having had enough, ‘Big George’ reacts with a raised hand as if he is about to slap ‘The People’s Champion.’ Undoubtedly, it was all a good-natured exchange between the three of boxing’s most outstanding personalities—amicable, warm-hearted jesting.

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, what a gathering!

Trib Stax spoke about the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ that followed a year later. He mentioned how, despite scoring a victory, Ali was severely depleted by the Foreman battle. Stax said, “[That] Foreman fight took a lot out of Ali.. even though he won…” When talking about another famous fight, Gary probably went down memory lane. He reminisced about how all those at the Boston Garden enjoyed and yelled at the screen while watching ‘Thrilla in Manila.’ He said, “Watching the Thriller in Manila on closed circuit at the Boston Garden, everyone smoking cigars, drinking, and screaming throughout the fight, Man, those were the days.“

Tony Noor Afandi points out that all the trash-talking Muhammad Ali used against his opponents was purposefully done to sell the fight. Otherwise, he used to treat his opponents as friends once outside the ring. “[Ali’s] seriousness [is] only to sell his fight to get more hype [with] his rival… Out of [the] ring, he used [to tease] his rival as [a] friend…” Afandi said. Feliciano Montes also echoed a similar tone. He emphasized that Foreman and Frazier were, in fact, his friends. He displayed his sense of humor in public appearances: “Muhammad Ali’s humor was always in all his public scenes. Foreman and Joe Frazier were his friends.“


Marquis Washington observed that watching the trio joke around without crossing the line was great. To him, it resembled the interaction between Errol Spenc Jr. and Terence Crawford. Washington opined that it was good to witness constructive dealing instead of ugly verbal spats. He said, “Seeing them respectfully challenge each other in good humor is cool. Similar to what we just witnessed with Spence and Crawford. Refreshing to see this instead of all the venomous verbal insults.“

Something for the contemporaries

Many old-timers lament why the Heavyweights of the current era give a wide birth to one another instead of facing up frequently. They hark back to the 70s, often labeled the ‘Golden Era of Heavyweight Boxing.’ And why shouldn’t they do so?

After all, the big names, be they Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, and Ron Lyle, among many others, made it a point to square up against each other at one point or another. Even outside the ring, they respected each other, a virtue fast reaching the endangered zone. The younger generation could learn a bit from those glory days.


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