To realise what champions are made of, one needs to know about a technique Muhammad Ali invented on the suggestion of his boxing photographer, George Kalinsky, in his famous 1974 ‘Rumble in the jumble’ battle against George Foreman. He would lie against the rope in a protected stance, inviting the opponent to have a go at him, providing only enough counter to make sure the referee didn’t end the match via technical knockout. The master tactician would then wait until his opponent was worn out, and start making mistakes. That’s when he’d actually begin his fight, floating like a butterfly, stinging harder than a bee. The greatest’s ‘Rope-a-dope’, as the move went on to be known as, can still be seen being put into practice by a generation of boxers that followed, including Manny Pacquiao, Micky Ward, and even Floyd Mayweather.
His battles would begin much before the actual fight. Known for his perfect technique and lightning speed, Muhammad Ali perhaps is, the sporting world’s greatest icon. And his quotes, perhaps as legendary as he is, made the phenomena that Ali has been for youngsters across the world.
2. Before his first title showdown with Liston, before similarly repeating it ahead of his 1974 fight with George Foreman.
3. Belief is everything.
4. On why he refused to join the U.S Army in Vietnam.
5. Sometimes he was humble too. Only sometimes.
6. He used to hate training, but realised that was the only way.
7. Before all the Chuck Norris jokes began doing the rounds.
8. Trash talking his greatest rival.
9. The Elvis of boxing?
10. On racism.
11. Lean. Mean. Machine.
12. No one like him.
13. He actually picked out the round in one of his fights.
14. The will.
15. He asked Frazier during a fight.
16. Before the Thrilla in Manila
17. His fight against Jerry Quarry in 1970 inspired the first Rocky movie.
19. Never give up.
20. He beat up pretty bad.
21. Never ever.
22. That he is.