THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP

by
THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP
THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP

THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP

by
THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP
THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP


“……Then a tremendous missile of the exact size of a fist inside a glove penetrated to the very center of Foreman’s brain, the best punch of that amazing night, the punch that Ali had saved for his entire professional career…Still bowing from the waist in this uncomprehending position, eyes on Muhammad Ali all the way, he started to tumble and topple and fall even as he did not wish to go down… He went over like a six-foot sixty-year-old butler who has just received tragic news, yes, it was a long two-second collapse during which the champion was falling in pieces as Ali circled around him, forming a tight circle with his hand poised to hit him once more, but there was no need; it was a completely intimate escort to the ground.” (Excerpt from “The Fight,” Norman Mailer’s report on the Ali vs. Foreman)

Exactly 130 words, for a masterful and synthesized description of the epilogue of the unforgettable challenge in that heated dawn in Kinshasa, Zaire, today the Democratic Republic of Congo, by the master of the so-called New Journalism.
Last Sunday, October 30, was the 48th anniversary of that sporting event that is, with absolute conviction, the most profusely publicized and, therefore, the most famous and remembered fight in the history of centuries of boxing, also the most unexpected ending of all time at heavyweight, including, to cite just one comparative example, the incredible 10-round victory of Buster Douglas–who was odds-on 42-1 against, on February 11, 1990–over Mike Tyson, undefeated and seemingly unbeatable, in a story we will tell another time.
The fight was originally scheduled for September 24 and was postponed because of an injury to the 25-year-old unbeaten world champion. The 32-year-old Ali, a former world champion, was trying to regain the belt he lost when he refused to enlist in the army in 1967, citing religious reasons.

For the fight with Foreman, Ali had 42 victories with 31 of them by knockout, with defeats against Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, on points, without draws, while the WBA and WBC champion, who would expose those belts, did not know what it was to lose; in 40 fights he had 36 victories before the final bell, with 2 more on points.

THE FIGHT PUT AFRICA ON THE MAP

Don King, a promoter who was beginning to make a name for himself in the boxing world, was in charge of promoting the fight. King was penniless, but he convinced Zaire’s dictator, Mobuto Sese Seko, to stage what would be Africa’s first world championship fight. And he also convinced him to pay $5 million to each of the opponents, arguing that the fight would be a magnet to draw the world’s attention to the country and the so-called Dark Continent. And so it was: the bout was staged at Kinshasa’s Maipara Stadium at 4:30 a.m. so that it could be seen in prime time in the United States and other countries in America and Europe.

Indeed, Africa, and Zaire in particular, gained immense universal notoriety: it is estimated that a little more than 300 locations brought some one billion people, a quarter of the world’s population of 4,000 inhabitants at the time, before the TV. King scored a colossal financial success with TV box office receipts estimated at between $20 million and $30 million.
(When the clash began, Foreman launched into a relentless attack while Ali took cover on the ropes, covered his arms and forearms with his gloves and elbows and at times moved swiftly to the sides of the ring, always with Foreman on top of him, but running out of what Ali wanted to happen. In his corner, his trainer Angelo Dundee, in desperation, yelled at him to stay away, to move away, to fight at long distance. Ali never listened. Thus they reached the eighth round, in a fight that had no variants).
After this parenthesis, let’s continue with what Muhammad Ali said in an autobiographical book:

THE FINAL ROUND

“CLANG! ROUND EIGHT. George comes out in a flurry. He’s still thinking about only one thing; the knockout. But now his punches are slower, they take longer to reach me. I know for a fact the pain and burning of fire inside his lungs and stomach, and that every breath of air is a torment, as it is for me. I see him backing away…but I step aside, and George is going to land face first against the ropes…I tell him: Clown! You missed by a league! You’re in a bad way, you fool!
(NdelR: There follow about four or five long paragraphs in which he (Ali) talks about Frazier, about Kid Gavilan, about the endless and loud shouts of encouragement from the crowd in Lingala dialect: Ali, Bumaye, Ali, kill him…) Translated: Ali, kill him! Ali, kill him! And he continues:
“I know that the time has come for the test. I see that George is about to go on the attack, to regain his place in the ring. I throw a straight right to his jaw with all the strength I have left. I almost hit him full on the tip of the chin, and he stands still…I get ready to finish off the attack with a series of combinations, but I see George slowly collapse, his eyes glazed…..
“He’s listening to the hum of tuning forks, the saxophones being played by bats, the whistling of crocodiles, and he sees the flickering of neon lights…I contemplate every move the referee (Zachary Clayton) makes by raising and lowering his arm. And I remember Frazier again. He would never lose the crown lying on the ground. No referee can count seconds on his recumbent body, as long as Frazier has a drop of blood in his veins.
–Six…seven…eight….
On the floor, George slowly turns around.
–Nine… Out!

George is on his feet, but the count is over. The referee raises my hand in the air, giving me the victory.
The stadium erupts. The crowd overtakes the paratroopers, climbs over the press table and invades the ring. Archie is hugging George and I yell out to him;
Archie, am I too old?”
(The Greatest. My own story. Muhammad Ali, (Cassius Clay) and Richard Durham. The Living Document. Editorial Noguer, S.A.Fourth Edition, 1976. p.p.p.459-460-461)


Chantelle Cameron and Jessica McCaskill go for it all 



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