40 years on from 'Rumble in the Jungle' George Foreman has this brilliant message for Muhammad Ali 7 years ago

40 years on from 'Rumble in the Jungle' George Foreman has this brilliant message for Muhammad Ali

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee - his hands can't hit what his eyes can't see."

The world of boxing is one where bravado, showboating and smack-talk are all expected in the build up to any fight but the really great fighters always share a mutual respect for their opponents.

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40 years ago today one of the most iconic sporting events of all time took place as Muhammad Ali met George Foreman in Zaire and it proved to be a fight for the ages.

Ali came into the bout bidding to be the first man to win the heavyweight title three times.

However, the 32-year-old also had to restore his reputation following a brutal 15 round loss to Joe Frazier and a defeat to Ken Norton.

At 25, Foreman was the brightest talent in the sport having won 40 fights, 37 by K.O, and this impressive run saw him claim the world title from Frazier via an emphatic second round knock-out in Jamaica the previous year.

The fight in Zaire saw Ali introduce his famous 'Rope-a-Dope' tactic as he lay on the ropes and let his opponent punch himself out. Ali used the ropes to pull himself back and evade any heavy incoming blows however his famous iron chin was also severely put to this test.

'The Champ' wasn't completely on the defensive though as this fight was also a supreme display of the experience, nous and hand/footwork skills that made him the best.

Despite all the political turmoil and pre-fight verbal sparring it was ultimately two right hands from Ali in the eighth round that sent Foreman crashing to the canvas. Ali became the heavyweight champion for the third time.

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While the two may have exchanged verbal insults in the build-up to the fight it seems that Foreman still has nothing but respect for his opponent 40 years on.

We love this message.

Here's some of the famous footage from that night and if you've never seen the documentary When We Were Kings then we implore you to watch it.

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Clip via - kevock09