Muhammad Ali – Rumble in the Jungle
“The Greatest” was as famous for his trash talk as his on court prowess. He would taunt and provoke opponents during and before a match, often hitting them where it hurt. One such amazing piece of trash talk come before the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” match against George Foreman.
Muhammad Ali was no longer holding the heavyweight title. Foreman meanwhile was quickly moving up the ranks after his 1986 Olympics Gold. At 32, after losing to Frazier, Ali needed to win to show the world he still was the best. Foreman had at 25 wanted to prove to the world that all his big wins were no fluke.
The stakes were high. Ali’s pre fight theatrics were always entertaining and this time he would not step back. These tactics had worked against Liston, Terrell and Patterson and the “People’s Champion” would not let one of the greatest fights in boxing history begin softly. During the run up to the big fight, Ali delivered this classic.
A poem written to boast about his abilities, Muhammad Ali refernces Zaire, the venue of the fight. He talks about his earlier fights and how he had to wrestle with “alligators and whales” before saying Foreman will “pay his debt”. In a time when there barely is any trash talk in any sport, Ali’s poem is one of the best build up sportspersons speeches we could have asked for. Here is the full transcript of the speech
Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,
I had one hell of a rumble.
I had to beat Tarzan’s behind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.
Ali went on to knock-out Foreman in eight rounds