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Volume 1: Cultural Edition
Champ: Daylight, Night and The Odds
With the last few steps to give, Foreman was as gased as the night was dim. Ropes behind bars behind the mind could never stop determination. Today they say precision beats power as well as how timing beats speed. The next shot was always what kept the champ ahead, as well as that mantra in his own words "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
As Mark Twain said "use the best word; not it's second cousin." But not just phrases or snapshots were what Cassius Clay, what Muhammad Ali always had to put forth. From the start of his highly colorful and bright yet troubled career, a rumble was hardly all that was to come, nor was discrete anxiety. You couldn't hide that part of the man. At the same time still, George Foreman, an prolific olympic champion and respected brawler was here to trade million dollar blows. This was the exact kind of publicity every columnist dreams of no matter what era. Today, you may not have your heart entirely with political correctness. You might or might not possess a certain political identity. There is a chance though that you have somewhat of a decent understanding of how important changing really is, no matter what. At this time in history, those two things were possibly even more distorted than they are today. What this championship match was honestly was a walking cultural item more than just about anything, especially heavyweight boxing.
At the start and end of the Vietnam war, divisions were as shining clear as new shoes, black or white, veteran or poetic activist. Support or no support for the cause had nothing to do with pride towards your visions. All that went into and out of the heart of trimmed uniformed souls, into exotic, misguided spirits in San Francisco in the late 1960s or just into every day to day father and mother was what was witnessed. Some say this was what drove one of the most remembered and still controversial draft dodgings of all time on April 28, 1967. What Ali had claimed seems feasible to every man with a decent price and a heartbeat, for the abused poor people caught in the middle of the bloodshed. Having fought his way through the good and bad shouldn't have made a difference but what lead to this fight being his biggest of his comeback, maybe the biggest of his fight career was indeed culture, not a glare to glare battle of strength against speed, not Ali versus Foreman, man to man.
Coming into this match, Foreman was probably the most unsure person about what he was facing as he himself even claims. Saying years later that Ali most certainly tricked him in this war by playing the game of rope-a-dope made sense to nobody but one: Muhammad. Until this fight in particular in fact, his style came across as quite different in presentation. Every fighter will say the same just as any sportsman will say that every shot at winning is either lose or win and that each opponent is in contrast to the next. Liston gave his best shots. Frazier was a bordeline genius in approach towards such swiftness and nimble yet brash grace. Ernie Terrell was a great bruiser himself. What people never understood and may not understand now, what they possibly understood on October 30, 1974 maybe for that 15th round knockout of the former gleaming olympian as he hit the canvas in the closing seconds, maybe they understood for a few minutes after the battle of a lifetime live in Zaire was that the champion of the world always is mind over matter, whatever sits ahead on the line.