a-li-boom-ayay, a-li-boom-ayay…if you had to see one movie about the greatest of all time, forget about the hollywood production, ali, and rent when we were kings. a terrific, oscar-winning documentary about the events surrounding maybe the most legendary fight ever: the 1974 world heavyweight championship match in kinshasa, zaire between the then reigning champ george foreman and former champ, muhammad ali. i was very young when this fight happened, but i still do remember the ‘rumble in the jungle’ as it was called. it’s one of those seminal sporting events that gives me the goose bumps every time i see it. man, how boxing has fallen since then. it can be the most dramatic and exciting sport but the people that manage it (don king) have ruined it.
some things i had forgotten about the event were ali’s age(32, versus 25 for foreman), the fact that the fight had to be delayed for 6 weeks because foreman suffered a cut to his eye while sparring (both fighters stayed in africa until the fight), the ‘r&b woodstock’ concert that went with the fight (bb king, james brown, the spinners…), and how friggin hard big george punched (it’s amazing ali didn’t collapse from the force of his body blows). just watching the dude hit the heavy bag hurt! also, the incredible change (for the better) in foreman’s personality from those days to now. the doc is worth a rental just to dig on the 70’s threads. in one concert scene, the ‘godfather of soul’ was wearing his signature, skin-tight, zippered jumpsuit (purple) with a matching, sequined choker spelling out his initials, “jb”, and a large, circled “gfos” emblazoned with sequins on the stomach portion of the suit. one cooool cat.