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.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry adjust Verb
to change or modify something to fit with something else.
to prepare or put in order.
person who participates or competes in sporting events.
sport of fighting with closed fists.
to transmit signals, especially for radio or television media.
to secure as solid.
physical, cultural, or psychological feature of an organism, place, or object.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
Encyclopedic Entry: climate consider Verb
to think about.
to inspire or support a person or idea.
money or finances.
having to do with more than one country.
to contribute time or money.
tropical ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.
to discuss with others of different viewpoints in order to reach an agreement, contract, or treaty.
international sports competition divided into summer and winter games held every four years.
to coordinate and give structure to.
bold and candid speech or presentation.
to take part in an activity.
prime time Noun
between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., when television audiences are usually largest.
able to make money.
person or organization that organizes and provides financial support for an event.
estimation or value in which a person or thing is held.
to guarantee, or make safe and certain.
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.
person who travels for pleasure.
to gain skill through discipline and practice.
existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.
location of an event.