Item #M9118 – Ali was dubbed “The Greatest,” “The People’s Champion,” and “The Louisville Lip.”

Ali Wins the “Rumble in the Jungle”

On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali faced off against heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle.”

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., on January 17, 1942. He started boxing when he was 12 years old and became a talented fighter, winning six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two national Golden Glove titles, and a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics, all before turning professional.

Item #M10248 – According to Ali, “I should be a postage stamp, because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”

Though Cassius Clay boxed as a heavyweight, he was light on his feet and avoided punches from slower competitors. In his first three years of fighting professionally he had a record of 19 wins and no losses. During this time, he started taunting his opponents before the match with rhymes about his skill.

In 1964, a fight was scheduled with champion Sonny Liston. Before the match, Clay made his famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” claim and called Liston “the big ugly bear.” Cassius Clay won the match in the seventh round and became the youngest boxer to take the heavyweight title from a reigning champion. Before the rematch in May 1965, Clay converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He beat Liston in the first round by knockout.

Item #M10435 – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.”

In another match, billed as the “Fight of the Century,” Ali took on undefeated challenger Joe Frazier on March 8, 1971. After 15 rounds, Frazier handed Ali the first defeat of his professional career. Though, Ali won a rematch fought on January 28, 1974. Ali and Frazier’s third and final match was dubbed “The Thrilla in Manila,” which was held in the Philippines. Ali won this fight, too.

On October 30, 1974, Ali faced George Foreman in “The Rumble in the Jungle,” in Zaire (now Congo). Foreman, the champion at the time, was the heavy favorite. Ali used his endurance and a strategy later called “The Rope-A-Dope” to wear out his opponent. In the eighth round, Ali beat Foreman by knockout, recapturing the championship.

Item #M10434 – “They’re all afraid of me because I speak the truth that can set men free.”

During his outstanding career, Muhammad Ali defeated every top heavyweight contender in his era. He was named “Fighter of the Year,” “Sportsman of the Year,” “BBC Sports Personality of the Year,” and received the “Presidential Citizens Medal,” among many other honors.

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  1. Missing was the fact that Ali’s crown was taken away from him for his refusal to go into the Vietnam War. This was the only time a champion last his crown out of the ring.

    1. Point – Muhammad Ali filed for conscientious objector status and was refused. He appealed and lost the court case and went to jail. I respect a man of conviction.

  2. Enjoy your daily notes, but this one contains a major error. Ali only fought George Foreman once, and his third fight with Joe Frazier (not Foreman) was dubbed the Thrilla’ in Manila, one of the all-time greatest fights.

  3. As I recall, he beat Liston in the first round of the re-match, not the 4th. Hit him at the opening bell and Sonny went down like a ton of bricks. One of the shortest bouts on record.

    1. Someday Ali, “The Champ”, as my Dad called him when he interviewed him, will be on a US stamp for sure. Also someday Will a lot of people walking around today. Just have to meet certain rules.

  4. The “Thrilla in Manila” was fight Number III between Ali and Frazier (not Foreman), which Ali won (“the closest thing to death” in humid and fatigued ring according to Ali) — Ali only fought Foreman one time (“Rumble in the Jungle”) and won on his rope-a-dope strategy.

  5. First, this was a great article about a true champion of the world of boxing, despite the fact that I do not like contact sports where there is definitive proof that it is very harmful to the health of those participating in them; that is their choice and I respect that.

    Secondly, good catch on the part of TDIH readers, regarding the errors made about who fought whom, etc., that is good to know, and I am sure Mystic is happy to have this information and will correct it. Mistakes happen…

    Third and lastly, I am a collector of legitimately (postally) used stamps of the world. (I am also a born in the United States, veteran of the US military, voting, english speaking, college educated, worked all my life, retired, Social Security using, Medicare using, have money in a retirement fund, not financially independent, constitutional defending person — in case there was any question about my affiliation with the US — regular guy). To me using worldwide stamps is not only a good thing for Mystic to do for these wonderful, “This Day in History,” segments; I think it is necessary and quite appropriate. The US is my home, to which I will always show allegiance; but, it is only a small part of the world and it’s history; so I say, Good for you, Mystic! Please continue to use both United States stamps and worldwide stamps in the future. It’s what stamp collecting (Philately), our hobby, is all about.

    Thank you!

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