“I Wanted to Kill Muhammad Ali” – George Foreman on His Relationship With the Boxing Legend Before and After Finding Religion

George Foreman and Muhammad Ali‘s rivalry is one for the ages. Their fight took place on 30th October 1974; Foreman was the reigning champion and Ali was fighting to regain the world title after coming back from suspension. The iconic bout was billed as “The Rumble in the Jungle” and some even considered it to be “arguably The greatest sporting event of the 20th century.” In the bout, Ali was more tactful and found a knockout in the eighth round. Ali’s victory came as a surprise as many considered him to be past his prime. He was a 4-1 underdog in the bout against him.

Meanwhile, Foreman confessed that he had underestimated Ali. Foreman was undefeated before he fought Ali and was under the impression that he would defeat him just like he always defeated his earlier opponents. This mindset affected his preparation for the fight and he was inevitably proven wrong when he fought Ali. Post the bout, Foreman had a lot of resentment towards “The Greatest”. However, with time, Foreman ended up being great friends with his former rival. In a resurfaced video, Foreman revealed what ignited their relationship to blossom after being vehemently hostile towards each other.

Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s relationship over the years

Foreman was not a fan of Ali, to say the least. Interestingly, he wanted to “kill” him inside the ring. Reflecting upon the same, he stated, “I hit him so hard one time right above the neck and I heard him say ugggh, and I’ve never forgotten that. He was trying to win a boxing match, I was trying to kill that guy.”

While Foreman was fighting from a place of strong emotions, Ali cleverly used the “rope a dope” tactic to wear out “Big George”, absorbing his brutal body punches by leaning against the ropes in a defensive stance. And ultimately, Ali secured the win in the eighth round by knocking out a visibly tired Foreman. However, with time, the disdain Foreman had for Ali abated and what initiated that was Foreman finding religion.

Reflecting on the same, he stated, “And that broke my heart once I found religion. I fell in love with him. He become my most beloved friend ever and I miss him to this day because that was the gift of boxing. Muhammad Ali and our friendship.” Foreman did become friends with the legendary boxer and was seen together in public multiple times.

Foreman on what he loved most about Muhammad Ali

Ali had his way with words. Foreman enjoyed his company and loved this trait of Ali. In the same interview, he stated, “He always had something to say. Even when he could not speak anymore. Once I called him up I said Oh hey Muhammad, I want a rematch. He said, you crazy. I said so how is your wife, ‘she crazy’”

 

 

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