The Greatest Upset: How Muhammad Ali Stunned George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle


The boxing biopic Big George Foreman depicts the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” match between Foreman and fellow icon Muhammad Ali – but who won the fight? The film covers Foreman’s entire life story, from his impoverished childhood to the near-death experience that inspired him to hang up the boxing gloves to the impending bankruptcy that forced him to get back in the ring and become the oldest ever heavyweight champion. The “Rumble in the Jungle” fight is rightly depicted as one of the most significant chapters in Foreman’s boxing career.

The “Rumble in the Jungle” scene in Big George Foreman portrays Ali as the confident young buck talking trash in Foreman’s ear during each round. While this angle captures the two fighters’ dynamic at that time – Foreman as the defending champion and Ali as the new blood rising through the ranks to steal his glory – it doesn’t present Ali in a particularly flattering light. Foreman was expected to win the “Rumble in the Jungle,” since he’d beaten Joe Frazier, who dealt Ali his first professional loss, but who actually won the fight?


Muhammad Ali Beat George Foreman In The Rumble In The Jungle

Foreman and Ali fought each other on October 30, 1974, at the 20th of May Stadium (now known as the Stade Tata Raphaël) in Kinshasa, Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Since Foreman was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion and Ali was just a promising up-and-comer, the odds were in Foreman’s favor to win. But in the end, the underdog prevailed. It was during this fight that Ali introduced his signature rope-a-dope tactic and used it to defeat Foreman. Ali won by knockout in the eighth round.


The “Rumble in the Jungle” is one of the most iconic boxing matches of all time and is often referred to as the most significant sporting event of the 20th century. It was attended by 60,000 live spectators and millions of viewers around the world made it one of the most-watched events in TV history. All in all, the fight raked in around $100 million in revenue (according to the book New Times, Volume 3) and became the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary film When We Were Kings.


Why George Foreman & Muhammad Ali Never Had A Rematch After The Rumble In The Jungle

After the success of the “Rumble in the Jungle” fight (depicted in Big George Foreman), a rematch between Foreman and Ali seemed inevitable – the fans were clamoring for it, Foreman was open to it, and Ali had fought high-profile rematches with such fighters as Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, and Joe Frazier – but Foreman and Ali never shared the ring again.

Ali called Foreman and told him he would only agree to a rematch if he rehired Dick Sadler, the trainer who cost him the fight in Zaire in the first place, and Foreman refused, so Ali hung up the phone and the rematch never happened.


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