On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali beat the odds to regain the title of the world heavyweight boxing champion. The fight against the younger, bigger, defending champion, George Foreman, was held in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and nicknamed the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Today, the Rumble in the Jungle is considered by many historians to be the greatest sporting event of the 20th century.
 
Although the fight took place in Africa, it was a uniquely American event. Ali and Foreman shared many characteristics, and became very good friends. Both were gold medalists—Ali won the light heavyweight title at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy, and Foreman won the heavyweight title at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. Both athletes were also both born and raised in the American South—Ali in Louisville, Kentucky, and Foreman in Houston, Texas. 
 
The third American who made the Rumble in the Jungle possible was promoter Don King. King was an outspoken showman who worked tirelessly to produce a profitable and entertaining event. Ali and Foreman both demanded $5 million for the fight, for instance. King’s organization did not have that money, so he negotiated with international businessmen and sporting figures to secure funding. Mobutu Sese-Seko had been president of Zaire since its founding just three years earlier, and was eager to encourage tourists to visit the new country. He invested in the Rumble in the Jungle and provided training facilities and a venue for the fight. While Ali and Foreman spent weeks adjusting to the tropical climate, King organized an all-star concert series with American and African musicians. James Brown, Celia Cruz, and Miriam Makeba were some of the artists to participate in the event, “Zaire 74.” King arranged for the Rumble in the Jungle to start after 4 a.m. in Kinshasa—so the fight could be broadcast during prime time in the United States.
 
The Rumble in the Jungle helped cement Ali’s reputation as “The Greatest” boxer in the history of the sport. Foreman enjoyed a phenomenal boxing career, including several returns to the heavyweight title. King went on to promote other fights—notably the “Thrilla in Manila,” between Ali and Joe Frazier, the following year.
adjust
Verb

to change or modify something to fit with something else.

arrange
Verb

to prepare or put in order.

athlete
Noun

person who participates or competes in sporting events.

boxing
Noun

sport of fighting with closed fists.

broadcast
Verb

to transmit signals, especially for radio or television media.

cement
Verb

to secure as solid.

characteristic
Noun

physical, cultural, or psychological feature of an organism, place, or object.

Noun

all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

consider
Verb

to think about.

eager
Adjective

enthusiastic.

encourage
Verb

to inspire or support a person or idea.

funding
Noun

money or finances.

international
Adjective

having to do with more than one country.

invest
Verb

to contribute time or money.

jungle
Noun

tropical ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

negotiate
Verb

to discuss with others of different viewpoints in order to reach an agreement, contract, or treaty.

Olympics
Noun

international sports competition divided into summer and winter games held every four years.

organize
Verb

to coordinate and give structure to.

outspoken
Adjective

bold and candid speech or presentation.

participate
Verb

to take part in an activity.

phenomenal
Adjective

very impressive.

prime time
Noun

between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., when television audiences are usually largest.

profitable
Adjective

able to make money.

promoter
Noun

person or organization that organizes and provides financial support for an event.

reputation
Noun

estimation or value in which a person or thing is held.

secure
Verb

to guarantee, or make safe and certain.

South
Noun

loosely defined geographic region largely composed of states that supported or were sympathetic to the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the U.S. Civil War.

tourist
Noun

person who travels for pleasure.

train
Verb

to gain skill through discipline and practice.

tropical
Adjective

existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.

venue
Noun

location of an event.

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