Foreman had quickly risen from a gold medal victory at the 1968 Olympics to the top ranks of professional heavyweights. Ali was famed for his speed and technical skills, while Foreman’s raw power was his greatest strength.
At 25, the younger and stronger Foreman seemed an overwhelming favorite against the well-worn 32-year-old Ali.
Prior to the fight Ali was talking about his beliefs regarding Africans and African-Americans, speaking of the dignity of the native Africans and his hopes for African-Americans in the future.
His relationship with the people of Zaire, the mutual Love between Ali and the people of Zaire contrasted with Foreman’s awkward and unsuccessful efforts to build his own popularity.
Foreman and Ali spent much of the middle of 1974 training in Zaire, getting acclimated to its tropical African climate. The fight was originally set to happen on September 25, but Foreman was cut during training and the date pushed back to October 30.
Ali constantly taunted Foreman in these clinches, telling him to throw more punches, and an enraged Foreman responded by doing just that. ‘They told me you could punch, George!’, ‘They told me you could punch as hard as Joe Louis!’, ‘That all you got, George?’ After several rounds of this, Foreman began to tire.
Followed by a 5-punch combination, culminating in a left hook that brought Foreman’s head up into position and a hard right straight to the face that caused Foreman to stumble to the canvas, referee Zack Clayton stopped the bout with two seconds remaining in the round.
This fight has since become one of the most famous fights of all time because it resulted in Ali, against the odds, regaining the title against a younger and stronger Foreman. It has been called arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century.