THE DAY I SAT NEXT TO A KING



We visited Muhammad Ali's training camp before. But for some reason, not understood by me at the time, there was this great push to see him before his fight with George Foreman.

For some, it was as if this was going to be Ali's last breath.

For others, it was to properly send off the warrior-king into his epic battle.

To many in the outside world, Ali was loud and brash. But to me and perhaps to some others who had a chance to mingle with him at his training camp, he came across as reserved and loving. If he was worried about his upcoming fight with Foreman, he never showed it. He seemed to be at ease, although the task ahead of him would not be easy.

I sensed some big event in the works but failed at such a young age to understand the significance of what was to come, of how it would shape boxing history, of how it would leave a lasting mark on Ali's and Foreman's legacies forever.


The Drama: The Rumble in the Jungle
The Characters: Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman
The Time: 30 October 1974
The Place: Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of The Congo)
The Result: Ali knocked out Foreman in the eighth round to regain the heavyweight boxing crown







"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”
Muhammad Ali, 1977


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Ali, you were so good at that. But you've been so much more to us than that.







You can also engage this piece on the storytelling platform Cowbird.

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You can listen to this related take—Impossible Is Nothing—on SoundCloud: