It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
“The more we know fear, the less we’ll fear it”
Muhammad Ali, one of my heroes gave the forever stunning knockout victory against George Foreman. “The Rumble in the jungle” was arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century. The younger, stronger favorite up against the experienced but aging Muhammad Ali. Prior to the fight most people thought Ali wouldn’t just lose but also get really hurt in the process. Media said it was his age or maybe he was going in too deep against such a young and strong champion in Foreman. That famous night in Zaire, Africa (Now Democratic Republic of the Congo) “The rumble in the Jungle” was watched by millions across the world. As big of a personality that Ali was, he knew that night was going to be a battle! Just before the fight Ali spoke out to his team to build them up.
Ali– “What am I gonna do!?”
Team Ali– “Your gonna dance!”
Ali– “Yes I’m gonna dance and dance… and that man’s gonna be bewildered I’m gonna dance and dance!”
Team Ali– “Your gonna dance!” Answering back with tears in their eyes knowing tonight is the night.
The beauty of this masterpiece is that he didn’t even “dance” (His natural style of fighting, moving around the ring light on his feet). He performed the famous “Rope-a-Dope” by staying on the ropes taking punishment hoping Foreman would punch himself out, tire and open up an opportunity for Ali to capitalize on… Now that’s taking on fear!
Coming out round after round in that style took guts. Foreman was denting boxing bags in training and had replacements on hand in the gym. Ali kept coming staring fear in the face and spoke to him when they got tied up in the ring. “George you dissapoint me”…. “You don’t hit as hard as I thought you would”. Ali was most definitely hurting, he was in his nightmare and as he stood up for the next round, looking for motivation he shouted out to the crowd “Ali Bomaye!” (This was a popular phrase used between Ali and the public) The phrase meant “Ali kill him” and 100,000 people replied back “Ali Bomaye!”… Must have been amazing! At one point it looked as though a worn Ali was getting beat to a pulp on them ropes and the exchanges of both fighters kept you jumping out of your seat. 30 seconds left in round 8 and the opportunity came that Ali was waiting for with Foreman looking gassed out. Ali landed a surprising right hand punch that led on to a beautiful combination
George Foreman hits the ground, the crowd goes wild as the referee starts counting… 9… 10! Muhammad Ali regained the Heavyweight title and shocked the world all over again!
What a story and it shows that fear can be used as a tool to push yourself places you never thought you could go. Sometimes it's an opportunity to actually seize and the rewards can be life changing. In my opinion I think fear pushed men like Ali to new heights and gave them the strength to win.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Franklin D. Roosevelt