The Rumble in the Jungle is widely regarded as one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century. It is without question one of Ali’s greatest fights! The event took place on October 30, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Ali, a former heavyweight champion, faced off against George Foreman, the undefeated heavyweight champion at that time. Ali won the fight by knockout in the eighth round.
You will surely recognize an iconic sports photo from this fight. At bottom I've included an image inspired by the original photo. I’m sure you will recognize it immediately. What a fabulous shot!
On April 28, 1967, Muhammad Ali was scheduled for induction into the US Army. Three times the officer called his name, and three times he refused to step forward. He was then arrested. That same day, his boxing license was suspended and he was stripped of his title.
A few months later, on June 20, 1967, Ali went to trial and was found guilty. He wouldn’t box again until after the US Supreme Court overturned his sentence in 1971.
1964 was a watershed year for Muhammad Ali. He won his first Heavyweight boxing title on Feb 25, 1964. The very next day he publicly declared himself a Muslim, and on Mar 6, 1964 he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, a name suggested to him by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.
We can expect some diversity of testimonies given these major events, and not all of them will be positive. Declaring himself a Muslim was seen as an act of defiance and initially brought Ali much criticism.
Muhammad Ali. Just saying his name brings to mind such strong images and memories! His athletic prowess. His confidence in himself, despite naysaying and the odds set against him. His bravery in declaring himself a Muslim and changing his name. His refusal to be drafted into a war that wasn't his, against other brown-skinned people with whom he had no quarrel. The involuntary tremors that shook his body once Parkinson’s disease took over. What an amazing man he was! He dubbed himself the Greatest and the title stuck, because it fit.