The Rumble In The Jungle is often referenced as being the greatest sporting event of the 20th century, we are going to look into why this is and what made it so important.
An Anticipated Event
The Rumble In The Jungle was a Heavyweight Championship boxing match that pitted George Foreman and Muhammad Ali against each other. The event took place on the 30th of October 1974, it was held at the “20th of May Stadium”, which is now known as the Stade Tata Raphaël. It was there in Kinshasa (now part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo), that history was made. The undisputed heavyweight champion, George Foreman was beaten by Muhammad Ali as he conceded to knockout in the eighth round. This was a shock victory for Muhammad Ali who was tipped as the underdog. Odds of 4-1 show the formidable reputation that the seasoned professional boxer George Foreman had accumulated up to that point in his undefeated career. No stranger to the professional boxing ring, the former Olympic gold-medal winning George Forman was viewed with authority as the favourite for the match.
Research by Betway online slots shows that the fight was watched by 1 billion people globally, this made it the most watched live televised event in history at the time, quite an incredible accolade. With the 50 million viewers watching via pay-per-view CCTV directly from the event and other revenue, the fight grossed an estimated $100 million in takings.
What Made It Special?
An underdog’s win is always special, but this fight was exceptional. It will always be remembered for Muhammad Ali’s introduction of the rope-a-dope technique where he drew low-impact punches from George Forman whilst leaning against the rope perimeter of the boxing ring, this tired George Forman enough to allow Muhammad Ali to muster the additional strength for strong and effective defensive moves against his opponent. This technique assured him control of the match and an eventual win in round 8. This was to set a storm among pundits who had assumed before the match that George Foreman would make short work of Ali with haymakers thrown with his accustomed power and accuracy. A new age in boxing was born where tactics, strength, skill and endurance were all needed to compete and have a hope of winning within the upper echelons of the sport.
With this bout more than any other the sport of boxing grew in skill and respect from its supporters and audience, the match is fondly remembered for these reasons. It has been referenced in many movies and immortalised by the Academy Award-winning documentary “When We Were Kings”
It’s a testament to the excitement of the sport of boxing that in 1974 a quarter of the population of the world committed their time to watching the boxing match live on television. It is no surprise that the Rumble in the Jungle will go down in history as the greatest sporting event of the 20th century.