By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….
I was just surfing the net yesterday, when I came across some interesting information about Muhammad Ali, undoubtedly one of the best heavyweight boxers of all times. Born on 17th January 1942, two of his most important opponents, were also born in the same month. All the three thus were Capricorn, and carried most of the characteristics attached to this zodiac sign.
Though the boxing career of Muhammad Ali is filled with thrilling boxing bouts, his series of fights against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, have still been considered as the most thrilling of all.
Joe Frazier, was born on 12th January 1944, and George Foreman born on 10th January 1949. Both of these boxers shared the period when Muhammad Ali was ruling the boxing world. However, they were never less than him, as a boxer. Both of these boxers had a wonderful boxing career, and tasted the World Heavyweight titles.
Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier three times, and each one of these went into the boxing literature as the most thrilling fights ever. The first of the three, also known as “Fight of the Century”, took place on 8th March 1971 at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. Frazier exhibited the best of his abilities and had punched Ali down in the ring. After a highly contested 15 rounds Frazier won the fight with a unanimous decision. It was a big blow for Muhammad Ali, who had very rarely tasted defeat in the ring.
The two boxers again came face to face in 1974 and in 1975. Both of these fights were won by Muhammad Ali. It was a sort of revenge taken by Ali. Frazier however always felt bad about these two defeats, and always boosted himself about his super performance in the first of the three fights. He never came to good terms with Muhammad Ali.
Frazier died in the year 2011. Muhammad Ali attended his funeral.
George Foreman, had become the World champion by defeating Joe Frazier in 1973. He was one of the best boxers of his time. Like Muhammad Ali, he too had come to the limelight after winning the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics.
Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman on 30th October 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire, before more than 60,000 people. The fight is known as “Rumble in the Jungle”, which was watched by over a billion people around the globe, and grossed about 100 million dollars in revenue worldwide. The fight was declared as the greatest sporting event of the 20th century.
Ali had gone in as a 4-1 underdog against the unbeaten Foreman. Seven years younger Foreman was well known for his heavy hitting abilities. Muhammad Ali however for the first time had come up with his rope-a-dope tactic.
The climax of the fight came in the eighth round, when Foreman appeared to be losing his effectiveness. Muhammad Ali took best advantage of the situation, and made Foreman taste the canvas, after a pounding array of powerful shots. Foreman lost the match, as he failed to rise.
In the periods subsequent to these historical fights, on one side we see that Joe Frazier never came to good terms with Ali. Foreman on the other hand became a good friend of Ali and remained so until the death of Muhammad Ali on 3rd June 2016.