George Foreman has revealed that Muhammad Ali told him he was too young to share the ring with him at their historic Rumble in the Jungle.
duelled in a historic bout branded “Rumble in the Jungle”
where Foreman lost his undefeated record in brutal fashion.
And the contest was one of the most electric ever to take place in the heavyweight division with the event regarded by many as the greatest sporting spectacle of the 20th century.
But Foreman has revealed that Ali ridiculed him for being in “high school” when his opponent defeated Sonny Liston twice during his meteoric rise 10-years previous.
When asked what Ali said during their fight by a fan, Foreman wrote on Twitter : He said ‘George you a kid in high school when I fought Liston you don’t belong in here’. I wanted to laugh cause I never went to high school.”
Muhammad Ali and George Foreman fought during the historic Rumble in the Jungle ( Image: AFP/Getty Images)
It truly was one of the greatest sporting events all-time with a projected record-breaking audience of 1 billion tuning in to watch the fight, including 50-million people via pay-per-view screenings in theatres.
Ali came in as a four to one underdog against Foreman who was a powerful hitter and reigned undefeated at the time.
The rivalry promised to be huge with Ali coming in as more than a fighter after facing suspension from the sport due to his refusal to draft for the US Army in 1970.
His prompt comeback included defeating bitter rival Joe Frazier to regain his heavyweight belt in his previous ring outing before the historic match-up.
Foreman’s explosive finishing carried him through his illustrious boxing career and earned him the status as a young, live favourite against the ageing Ali.
But what followed would be an all-time classic with Ali stopping the huge-hitter in the eighth round after taking a brutal beating, by introducing his infamous rope-a-dope tactic to launch his own offences.
Ali was notorious for his slick movement and world-class technique that helped him produce one of the most spectacular boxing displays in front of a record audience.
Foreman attempted to secure a rematch shortly after recovering from his damaging defeat but to no avail, with Ali proceeding to other challenges.
The American pair became friends after Ali reportedly called up his rival and complimented him for 20 minutes with their children also close after their great rivalry.
With their rivalry put behind them, Foreman spoke with fondness and delight of his experiences with Ali shortly after his passing in 2016.
“Yeah, lost – a giant tree just fell and Muhammad Ali – there’ll never be another,” Foreman said. What I learned from Muhammad Ali is that he was one of the most conditioned athletes in the world.
“But to put him down as a boxer would be really not good because he was bigger than boxing, bigger than sports as a matter of fact.
“He went into the ring, and he didn’t lose because he was fighting for a lot more than just a championship belt and a few dollars in his pocket. He had a cause. He really had a cause.”