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When we were kings

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Yeah, I'm in Africa. Yeah, Africa's my home.
Damn America and what America thinks.
I live in America, but Africa's the home of the Black man.
I was a slave 400 years ago
and I'm going back home to fight among my brothers! Yeah!
'For these two African-Americans
'to come home was of great, great significance.
'Because of Hollywood and TV
'a lot of us had been taught to hate Africa.'
Once, if you called a Black person African they'd be ready to fight.
(Chanting)
(Ali) 'When I get to Africa we'll get it on because we don't get along!'
I'm gonna eat him up!
Too much speed for him! Too fast! Too fast!
I'm gonna retire the heavyweight champion of the world!
I'm gonna retire the heavyweight champion!
September 25th the world'll be stunned!
(Man) Tell 'em, Ali!
If you think the world was surprised when Nixon resigned
wait till I kick Foreman's behind!
(Bell)
(Reporter) 'An 18-year-old amateur champion with a charming smile
'took a physical examination for his first professional fight.'
It won't be an easy fight
but my plan of attack on a fighter like Alex Miteff
would be two fast left jabs,
a rapid right cross and a left hook.
(Reporter) 'But in the Belgian Congo,
'freedom was followed by rioting and an army mutiny.
'For months, the political pattern kept changing
'until pro-Red Premier Lumumba was seized
'by the forces of strongman Colonel Mobutu.'
(Bell)
After watching Mike DeJohn and Eddie Machen,
I would rate myself number two.
I'm out to break Floyd Patterson's record
and this being my 20th birthday, today, January 17th,
that leaves me exactly one year to reach my goal.
People do say I'm cocky, some say I need a good whuppin',
some say I talk too much,
but anything that I say, I'm willing to back up.
The other night I predicted
that I would knock out Banks in four rounds and I did.
I knocked out Don Warner
and I just annihilated George Logan in four rounds.
(Reporter) 'Close your mouth and keep it closed.'
- That's impossible. - Keep it closed.
I'm the greatest and I'm knocking out all bums.
And if you get too smart I'll knock you out.
(Reporter) 'You'd take him on before the fight?'
Beat him like I'm his daddy.
I saw Sonny Liston a few days ago.
Ain't he ugly?
I'm young, I'm handsome,
I'm fast, I'm pretty and can't possibly be beat.
(Commentator) Cassius Clay goes into the record book
with Corbett, Tunney and Braddock,
bringing off another great upset in heavyweight history.
(Ali) It is befitting that I leave the game just like I came in,
beating a big bad monster who knocks out everybody
and no one can whup him.
When little Cassius Clay stopped Sonny Liston,
the man who annihilated Floyd Patterson twice.
He was gonna kill me!
But he hit harder than George.
His reach is longer, he's a better boxer
and I'm better now than when you saw that kid running from Sonny Liston.
I'm experienced now, professional.
Jaw's been broke, been knocked down a couple of times, I'm bad!
Been chopping trees, I done something new.
- I wrestled with an alligator. - (Laughter)
That's right, I have wrestled with an alligator!
I tussled with a whale. I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail!
That's bad! Only last week I murdered a rock!
Injured a stone! Hospitalised a brick!
- I'm so mean I make medicine sick! - Bad dude!
Bad, fast!
Fast! Fast! Last night, cut the light off in my bedroom,
hit the switch and was in the bed before the room was dark!
- Incredible. - Fast!
You, George Foreman, all you chumps are gonna bow when I whup him!
All of you! I know you got him picked but the man's in trouble!
I'm gonna show you how great I am!
I think Ali was scared. I think he was scared even then.
He knew he was gonna be very scared as he got closer to the fight.
You know the way George fights.
George comes out... "I made him the mummy!"
(Mailer) 'With his ego he could tell himself he would dominate Foreman,
'make a fool of him, that Foreman would never lay a glove on him.'
But in fact, in his sleep or wherever his private moment came
he knew that he had not done as well against two fighters particularly,
Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, whom Foreman had demolished.
(Commentator) Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!
The heavyweight champion is taking the mandatory eight count
and Foreman is as poised as can be!
Foreman is going about his job!
(Mailer) 'He had an overpowering intensity when he punched.
'Foreman won by knocking Joe Frazier out
'and knocked him down something like seven times.
'Then he destroyed Ken Norton in two rounds.
'The word "murderous" does not quite apply, Foreman was awesome.'
This chump has got everybody scared.
Scared of what? There's nothing to be scared of.
Scared of what?
How many fellas in here picks George? Be truthful, be men.
Tell the truth.
- John, raise your hand. - (Laughter)
Got George?
You got George. Tell the truth.
You! You, fella. Yeah.
No pick? I just wanna know. You got George...
The time may have come to say goodbye to Muhammad Ali,
because very honestly I don't think he can beat George Foreman.
Howard Cosell, you told everybody I don't have a chance.
Told 'em I don't have nothing but a prayer.
Well, chump, all I need is a prayer because if that reaches the right man
not only will George Foreman fall but mountains will fall!
Maybe he can pull off a miracle,
but against George Foreman?
So young, so strong, so fearless?
Against George Foreman, who does away with his opponents
one after another in less than three rounds?
It's hard for me to conjure with that.
You always say "Muhammad, you're not the same man you were 10 years ago."
I asked your wife
and she told me you're not the same man you was two years ago!
After this fight I suspect Ali will retire.
And through all of the years
my own memories of him will be as a fighter,
and as the strange and curious and gregarious and engaging
and sometimes cruel, and sometimes family man that he is.
I'm gonna let everybody know that that thing on your head
is a phoney and it comes from the tail of a pony.
A stolen bicycle.
He had a bicycle and he went to Columbia Gym.
There was something going on up there and he left his bike parked outside.
So when he came out someone had stolen it
and he went inside and he was crying
and he told the policeman there, his name was Joe Martin,
that someone stole his bike.
And Joe Martin, he also taught the little boys how to box in the evening
so he asked would he be interested in learning how to box
and he told him yes, because if he ever found out who stole his bike
he wanted to know how to fight so he could beat them up.
(Commentator) An overhand right sends Sonny to the canvas!
Referee Jersey Joe Walcott is trying to get Ali to a neutral corner.
Ali yelling at Liston to get up...
- Anchor punch. - Which fight?
I call it the anchor punch.
- The one Stepin Fetchit helped with? - Yeah, man.
People couldn't see it,
it was so fast Sports Illustrated got a slow-motion camera,
they clocked the punch and the punch flew at 4/100ths of a second.
You can break a second down to 100 pieces.
When people win a ski race they say one and 16/100ths,
one and 32/100ths of a second,
so you break a second into 100 pieces so, you know...that's quick,
they got a machine that goes, like, fr-r-t, real quick, fr-r-t,
and it counts real quick, real quick.
And by the time that thing hit four that's how quick,
from the time the punch started to where it landed
was 4/100ths of a second, an eye blink, like a camera flash.
That's 4/100ths of a second.
When I hit Sonny Liston all those people blinked,
so they didn't see it.
- (Laughter) - I swear!
(Ali) If you watch the film close, keep your eyes real close...
- (Laughter) - Keep looking.
I'm getting ready to hit him.
You got to hold your eyes and wait or you won't see it, man!
Ali was a beautiful...specimen,
a fighting machine.
He was handsome, he was articulate, he was funny,
charismatic.
And was whuppin' ass too.
(Reporter) 'Deposed champion Cassius Clay, at court in Houston,
'is found guilty of violating Selective Service laws
'by refusing to be inducted.
'He is sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000.'
(Lee) 'The way he fused politics and sports.
'Very few Black athletes had ever talked the way Muhammad Ali talked
'without fear of something happening to their careers.'
(Reporter) '..as a Moslem minister made him exempt...'
(Man) 'He was already very unpopular with mainstream Americans
'because he had joined the Nation of Islam,
'which was perceived as a radical Black separatist group.'
On top of that, when he was called for induction
he refused to take the step forward.
He absolutely infuriated America.
Muhammad Ali said, "No Viet Cong ever called me nigger."
The king is going home to get his throne.
From root to fruit, that's where everything started at.
This is God's act and you're part of it.
This is no Hollywood set, this is real.
Hollywood set up these scenes,
have somebody in the movies playing his life.
We don't pick up a script.
We get up in the morning,
sometimes we feel good, sometimes bad,
but we go through it with feeling.
'Muhammad Ali's a prophet, he gonna be a fisherman for Elijah Muhammad.
'This is only a stop, look and listen sign he's doing, fighting.'
We been fightin' ever since we met.
We beat Uncle Sam, come out of the garage and beat number two.
First man ever did it. Rest of 'em they put out of the country.
'This is God's act, we just actors in it.
'If Jesus was here everybody'd want his autograph
'and they'd be filming him.
'This is a sport, that's why you walking, talk to him.'
I think Muhammad is a prophet. How you gonna beat God's son?
Anybody who loves poor people and little people gotta be a prophet.
He was champion of the world, had a table full of food.
Had a house for his mother, one for him and he told 'em to shove it.
If he couldn't love his god, what do you think he is...mister?
(Boxers sparring and crowd shouting)
(Applause)
(Mailer) 'Ali trained for the Foreman fight at Deer Lake, Pennsylvania.
'He trained very hard for that fight,
'and had very good sparring partners.
'Larry Holmes was one of them.
'I was struck with how well he actually handled Ali
'in their sparring sessions.
'He dominated Ali. That wasn't uncommon.
'Ali would often not show his best stuff with sparring partners,
'but would work on his weaknesses.
'He'd go against the ropes and let people pummel him,
'very heavy hitters, he'd let them bang away at him.
'As if he was training his body to receive these messages of punishment
'and absorb them faster than other fighters could absorb them.'
(Ali) 'This is in Africa because they came up with $10 million.'
$5 million for George Foreman,
$5 million for me.
England was trying to get it. A promoter said America was trying,
but none could surpass the $5 million mark.
The dream is becoming a reality.
(Hauser) 'Don King went to George Foreman
'and got him to sign an agreement
'saying that if King could deliver $5 million, Foreman would fight Ali.
'Then King went to Ali and made the same deal,
'so Don King now had both fighters,
'their signatures on a piece of paper.
'What he didn't have was $10 million.'
..a festival to complement this great sporting event,
the greatest sporting event in history.
- Of all time! - All time, as the champ says.
Greatest event of all time!
Bigger than Evel Knievel and the Kentucky Derby on the same day.
The president of Zaire was willing to put $10 million
of his country's own very scarce, hard-earned currency on the line,
not for any short-term economic reason
but because he felt that the fight would be good
in terms of promoting Zaire and also in terms of promoting himself,
and as Ali said at the time,
countries go to war to get their names on the map
and wars cost a lot more than $10 million.
(King) Some of the most dynamic performers from Afro-America
will appear at the stadium in Kinshasa on the 20th, 21st and 22nd,
with this theatrical release.
It will be James Brown, soul brother number one...
- Is he playing? - Yes, James Brown will be there.
We will have BB King, The Spinners...
This is the first assembly in history where the top-notch Blacks of America
and the people of Africa had something together, all on a level,
we're all meeting and learning more about each other,
the first assembly among American Black men and Africans in history
and it's a big honour.
Plus I gotta whup George!
'Got to whup George!'
We're gonna rumble in the jungle!
Come on, come on.
Speak up, boy. Go ahead.
- (Laughter) - Good boy.
Get down.
- Quiet. - George?
Is this fight against Ali the toughest of your career?
(Man translates into French)
Could be, could be. I doubt it.
This is Muhammad Ali, September 10th at New York City airport,
en route to Zaire to reclaim the heavyweight title of the world.
Champ, what would you like to say to the children of the world?
I'd like to say, mainly where they understand English in America,
to...live a clean life, stay off the dope.
It's tearing the country up.
Also, if they wanna be like me, I'm going to whup George Foreman,
and when they see this I will have beaten him.
Tell them to quit eating so much candy,
I have three rotten teeth and I had to have one of 'em pulled,
I can't chew my food like I should.
Eat natural foods because we must whup Mr Tooth Decay.
I got one right there and one there.
Ali told us he's going to use part of his money to build a hospital.
Do you intend to use part of your money for something, a project?
He may think he may have to be in the hospital.
I want the man!
When I get to Africa we gonna get it on because we don't get along!
I don't like him, he talks too much.
- Beg your pardon? - You would continue boxing
- even if you lose? - I beg your pardon?
- (Laughter) - You don't think about losing?
No. But thank you. Nice talking to you.
(Ali) Flying over the Sahara desert.
An African airline with all African stewardesses, all African pilots.
This is the first free feeling I had in a long time.
Ain't this something, flying in an airplane with Black pilots?
All Black crew? This is strange to the American Negro.
We never dreamed of this!
Every time we watch TV they show us Tarzan and the natives and jungles,
they never told us that Africans were more intelligent than we are.
They speak English, French and African.
We can't even speak English good.
(Speaking French)
Ain't this beautiful? I'm free!
(Man) Fantastic!
I'm free.
# Now, I want everybody
# To repeat after me
# If you don't know who you are and where your place in life is
# Just say to yourself, I am!
# Somebody!
# I am!
# Somebody!
# I may be poor
# But I am somebody #
(Translator) 'It was a great joy
'to see that the championship was going to happen in Africa.
'People were so happy.
'At last the world was paying attention to our continent.
'Yes, we knew Muhammad Ali as a boxer,
'but more importantly for his political stance.
'When we saw that America was at war with a Third World country, Vietnam,
'and that one of the children of the United States said
'"Me? You want me to go and fight against the Viet Cong?"
'"Why should I fight against them? They haven't hurt me."
'And for us, it was extraordinary to see that in the America of that time
'someone could take such a position.
'He may have lost his title, he may have lost millions of dollars
'but he gained the esteem of millions of Africans.'
(Crowd chanting) Ali! Ali! Ali!
What is your population?
(Man translates into French)
- 22 million. - 22 million?
- 22 million. - How many George Foreman fans here?
(Translates)
- (Laughter) - We don't know, we don't know.
- How many Muhammad Ali? - So many we cannot count them.
(Laughter)
(Bowens' translator) 'George Foreman? We had heard he was a world champion.
'We thought he was white, then we realised he was black, like Ali.
'But still, for us, Foreman represented America.
'He arrived with a dog, a German shepherd,
'which immediately offended Africans
'since the Belgians had used them as police dogs.'
(Reporter) Ali said you're the out-of-towner here.
Africa is the cradle of civilisation, everybody's home is Africa.
(Cheering and shouting)
OK, fine. So, they're leaving tomorrow...
Typhoid. How do you spell typhoid? Is that all that we're giving?
(2nd woman) Who do you want to be your beneficiary in case of anything?
(Man on PA) 'You need a ticket to get on the plane.'
Let me see some hands of the 51 who don't have airline tickets.
Hi! You know who we are, don't you?
I'm Lola Love, I'm with the dancers of the James Brown show, revue.
Zai-ere, or Zare, or whatever, you know?
Yeah, when are gonna get to Zee-air?
- Who? - Mobutu land.
We're gonna fly in zee-air till we get to Zaire.
That's right!
# Sittin' in a railway station
# My suitcase in my hand
# Going back where I came from
# I've had more than I can stand
# Marchin' in beside my dreams
# Pack my things and live those dreams
# I was up but then I've been down
# Ain't gonna hang around
# I'm coming home
# Uh-huh, yes, I am
# More than I can stand, my daughter
# Tell someone to meet me
# I'm comin' home
# Why don't you, mercy me
# Ooh-hoo, let me tell ya
# Came to this old town
# Some fortune and some fame
# Never got the chance to prove myself
# Tryin' to play every game
# Abusin' people just ain't my thing
# I won't dangle from any string
# Peace movement don't care about now turning inside out
# I'm coming home, home, yeah
# It's mighty long
# I got it, you know too
# Hey, I know what I'm gonna do
# Tell someone to meet me
# Oh, come on
# Yes, I am, yeah!
# Tell someone to meet me
# I got it, look here! #
The plane is not coming in at six, it's now coming in between 10 and 11,
so you don't have to have those trucks up to the airport that early.
- (Ali) Where's James Brown...? - James Brown is on his way.
BB King... They ain't nowhere around!
Six, fifth and fourth are done. Elevators are working.
There's no air conditioning at all?
80%'s out. The circuits are in but it doesn't work.
What do you mean, 80%? What floor is out?
I have sixth, fifth and fourth.
I understand, but what about...
It's individual air conditioning controls...
What apartments have air conditioning?
How many beds can we move people into tonight?
- Four. Four rooms. - Just eight people?
Yeah.
# Everything gonna be all right
# Cos home's where the heart's at, yeah
# And it's a natural fact
# What you sayin' tell me, won't you?
# Yeah, hey hey
# Gotta make a start today
# Gotta do it in my way
# Gonna see Momma again
# Gonna see my old, old friend
# Africa!
# Africa!
# Africa!
# Ohh, Africa! #
Hello, bubba!
How you doin'?
Ready to dance? I got ants in my pants, I gotta dance.
'The fight was held in Zaire, the former Belgian Congo.
'Kinshasa was the capital on the banks of the Congo,
'this was just before the rainy season.'
Up to the north was the flickering of storms,
and it was important to the promoters
that this fight get in before the storms occurred,
because once the rainy season comes you can't do anything.
The Congo had such a wonderful name, Conradian and all that.
To call it Zaire didn't have quite the majesty,
but there it was, the Congo.
(Mailer) 'Mobutu was everywhere.
'He was the equivalent of Stalin.'
'You saw his picture everywhere.'
Part of the vanity of dictators, with the exception of Mussolini,
who was half ugly and half attractive,
most dictators are unbelievably ugly or plain - Franco, Hitler...
'Mobutu looked the archetype, the epitome of a closet sadist.
'Sort of guy, if you meet him in a bar, you think, "Oh, my God!
'"Who are the poor women who are associated with this fella?"
'And since Mobutu was an extraordinarily practical man,
'down under the stadium, which seated 100,000 people,
'were detention pens and rooms and chambers
'where you could imprison as many as a couple of thousand people.
'Before the fight came, the criminal rate in Zaire began to go up.'
A few white foreigners had been killed, driving their cars.
And Mobutu decided that this would be a disaster in terms of publicity,
so on a given day he had a thousand of the leading criminals in Kinshasa
rounded up and put in this stadium, down in the detention pens.
'And then the legend has it, and I suspect the legend may even be true,
'that he had 100 taken at random and killed them.
'And the reason was a particularly simple one
'from Mobutu's point of view.'
Career criminals have connections who protect them when they're in trouble,
and by making this kill of 100 out of 1,000 arbitrarily,
Mobutu was saying "Your connections are worth nothing. I am Jehovah.
'"I will blast you out of existence if you fool around with me."'
'He made his point, Kinshasa was one of the safest cities in Africa,
'in all the world, while the foreign press was there for the fight.'
(Slow blues)
'To me, the drum was the communicator since the beginning of time,
'I'm sure it was the first message ever sent.
'The beat today and the beats centuries ago
'are the only thing that's kept us together.'
We had this thing, when we hurt, we sung for trial and tribulation,
and for relief, we sung songs to God
and this music that you hear today is the same songs
that have been made popular around the world without any volition.
Oh!
'So anybody who knows anything
'about the rhythm and the blues as they're so-called,
'should know about Africa.'
# When I first met you, baby
# Baby, you were just
# Sweet sixteen
# When I first met you, baby
# Baby, you was just sweet sixteen
# Just off your homeland, baby
# Oh, the sweetest thing I'd ever seen #
The music I listen to, in most white people's houses, I don't hear this,
because your culture wouldn't...
Your woman doesn't leave you and slip away like our women,
because you had money to keep your woman.
Your songs are like, "And the train comes around that mountain,
"In the Folsom Prison, in the Folsom Prison".
You know, "Y'all come, y'all come."
Chinese got diddly music, "Pleen ting tang tong ting."
I don't want that and he understands. Everybody's got their culture.
So we're not saying we hate you or we're never talking to you again
and doing business, we don't do that.
We're saying that we want to be independent.
# Baby, I wonder
# Yes, I wonder
# Baby, I wonder
# Oh, I wonder what in the world is gonna happen to me #
(Plimpton) 'The great place to visit in Kinshasa
'was a compound about 20 miles up the Congo.
'A place called Enseli, a presidential palace.
'That was where we saw Foreman, who seemed incredible.'
I'd seen him fight before, I saw him destroy Frazier
and the thing I always remembered was that the beaten fighter,
even a man as powerful and big as Frazier,
and he was very much favoured to win that,
suddenly becomes the size of a pygmy.
They just diminish in size,
and Foreman suddenly became this gigantic figure.
'And he had a trainer, Dick Sadler, tiny by comparison,
'and Sadler would hang on to this heavy bag while Foreman would hit it.
'Sadler would have been picked off his feet.'
(Mailer) 'Foreman hitting the bag
'is one of the more prodigious sights I've had in my life.
'Of all the people I've seen hit heavy bags, including Sonny Liston,
'no one hit it the way Foreman did.'
At the end of 15 minutes of pounding the heavy bag,
there'd be a hole, not a hole but a huge dent,
the size of half a small watermelon in that tremendous bag,
and Foreman used to use the biggest heavy bag around.
'What would be interesting is Ali, who would train after Foreman,
'would pass this large hall where the training took place
'and he never looked at Foreman hitting the heavy bag.
'He just walked right by as if Foreman didn't exist.
'If you were gonna fight the man
'you didn't want to see him hitting that heavy bag.'
I'm a speed demon! I'm a brain fighter!
I'm scientific! I'm artistic!
I plan my strategy!
He's the bull, I'm the matador!
He's scared to death.
He's scared to death!
He wish he could get out of the whole thing!
He wish he could get out of the whole thing! The man is frightened!
He's meetin' his master, his teacher, his idol!
- Time! - Is that all?
(Laughter)
When I talk and work I'm in shape, it's all I do.
(Mailer) 'Ali announced he was gonna dance.
'He spoke about it all the time.
'Every interview in that period he'd say
'"How is Foreman going to get near to me? I'm going to dance!
'"I'm going to dance and dance! He'll look foolish trying to find me.'
"And as he gropes his way forward
"in this storm of blindness at the speed of my dancing
"I will strike him with my jab!
"Poo! Poo! Poo!" he would go and so forth.
We heard this over and over and Foreman heard it too.
'Foreman was working now on what's called cutting off the ring.
'This essentially just means
'cornering your opponent against the ropes or in a corner.
'It's an art, a balletic art, you have to have very good footwork.
'Foreman's footwork, he was a big man,
'but his footwork was better than anyone had expected.
'He worked with very fast fighters,
'smaller than himself, who certainly could dance
'and he worked on cornering them.
'And the combination of watching the heavy bag
'and watching Foreman cut off the ring
'made most fight writers, myself included,
'pessimistic about Ali's chances.'
The guy threw up his elbows to protect himself from Foreman
and Foreman walked into his elbow.
That's how he got cut in the eye?
What else can happen?
I saw the man's cut and this man cannot fight.
This man cannot fight for a world championship...
- You're not a doctor. - I don't give a damn. I know what...
The Zaireans kicked us out and they did not want us around,
and they want the fight to go on, that's all there is to it.
He won't fight with that eye, he's not dumb.
He's not that dumb?
That's all you want is a fight.
Excuse me, gentlemen.
I respectfully ask are the fighters remaining here because they want to
or has the government requested they remain?
Mr Sadler told me to convey to the press
that it is just an accident.
They will be contacting the promoters of the fight
and it is possible that we may have to delay the fight
and he will let the press know as soon as possible.
Did they have to stitch Foreman?
They had to stitch him. Holy shit, man.
So how long is the delay?
It'll take a day to get any intelligence, this just happened.
Then we can make a decision.
(Man) How does George feel?
Like anybody, he's only human. How would any individual feel?
(Man) Does he want it postponed?
Who? Why should he?
- Should he go ahead with it? - Why should he make any decision?
Who knows what another man thinks?
How could I truthfully tell you what you would think?
A man may have mixed emotions, I couldn't speak for George,
I can only speak for Dick Sadler, not for somebody else.
I'm not that intelligent,
I don't have that knowledge, that ability to speak another man's mind.
He never discussed it to me,
and a person's mind change from time to time.
- The decision is yours... - It is mine to make
and I haven't made any... I don't have any decisions to make.
(Sadler) Let's get this show on the road.
This meeting is called to order. Here, here.
The delay won't have any effect on the fight at all.
There hasn't been... there will not be a delay.
The fight will be rescheduled
but when it happens it'll be actually intended for that time.
Fate intended it for another time. There is no delay.
(Laughing) How does Ali feel about it?
If there ever has been any disappointments in sports,
setbacks or rainy days that stopped a ball game, anything,
this is the worst of all time.
(Hauser) 'Muhammad went through a bad couple of hours
'and wanted to move the whole fight back to the United States,
'then he said "Bring Joe Frazier over and I'll fight him again
'"and instead of each of us getting $5 million,
'"I'll take $3 million and Joe can take $1 million."
'Then he realised nothing could be done about it
'except stay in Zaire an extra six weeks and make the best of it.'
Now I gotta wait. He'll get his whupping but I just have to wait.
Boy, I was ready! I was gonna upset the world again!
The whole world was gonna crawl and bow the next morning!
I was gonna defeat that big indestructible George Foreman,
gonna rip him up!
I'm gonna get him for a sparring partner.
My dream's all messed up for six more weeks.
The man's in trouble, the man is scared.
- He's in my country to start with! - (Laughter)
He's in my country. You wanna see some of my country?
Ali, boma ye!
(Crowd chants) Ali, boma ye! Ali, boma ye!
Can you picture 100,000? Can you picture 100,000?
How you say it? Ali, boma ye, Ali, boma ye!
Ali, boma ye!
When I hear them brothers howling like that, whoo!
I get my soul and spirit,
100,000 African brothers hollering "Ali, boma ye!"
And I'm gonna... Ooh!
I'm tired, can't take it no more, let me get out of here.
I wanna... I'm going to my room, I'll talk to you later.
I said I'm gone!
# What you give me
# When I miss you, baby!
# Oh, man!
# Baby, you understand?
# I'll be good!
# In a cold sweat
# Ow!
# Turn it back #
(Hollers)
(Price) 'Black acts in America have not learned
'that once their record is off the charts they're finished.'
I heard a speech by Jesse Jackson, saying we must recognise
that we're only useful as long as we're necessary.
So they don't realise that your strength comes from your community.
(Price) And you have to deal from your strength.
In dealing from your strength you got somebody
so if somebody wants to hurt James Brown,
somebody gonna raise a voice and say "why?"
You got soldiers, somebody that's concerned.
But as an individual, no matter how big you get, you still a nigger.
You don't care how much money you get. You are still a nigger.
When you become unnecessary.
# Listen
# Extend your love
# Can I get a drum?
# Can I get a little taste? #
Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.
Would you ask somebody to lynch you
and tell you where to go and how to look, then refuse to pay you?
Would you ask somebody to take advantage of your woman
and you can't even speak to his?
Would you like to pay taxes for something that you never received?
Do unto others as you would have somebody do unto you.
And I don't have to use the word "FM" backwards.
(Hollers)
We left Africa in shackles, fetters and chains.
We're coming back in an aura of splendour and glory.
The champions are here, champions of the sports world and the music world,
so put 'em together and we got one champion that's so intermingled
that we're fused into one entity.
The brother said something there! Yeah!
Don King put this together.
It was not a colour put it together, you understand?
I'd like to call him the Messiah.
(Mailer) 'This fight came into existence
'because of Don King's desire to break out of the pack.
'He was either going to become an enormously prominent man, at least,
'or go back to obscurity again if it failed.'
Oh, I'm so happy to see you, my brothers.
This is the Minister of Finance of Zaire.
Yes, I have met the Minister of Finance. How are you?
I appreciate your talent and expertise.
This is what it's all about. I welcome you with love.
We must deal with it as such, but with love, not with hostility.
You know, just but with love.
Bravo, Mr King!
My brother!
(Mailer) 'King had this huge air of welcome.
'Rarely has anyone ever been welcomed the way King could do it.'
'A joy came off him.'
I knew his reputation, how he'd been in jail,
how he was thoroughly untrustworthy
but nonetheless he made you feel good.
Don't leave! I need your strength!
He was startling looking.
Writers found different ways to describe this uprush of hair.
Some would say that he'd stuck his thumb into an electric socket.
Falling through an elevator shaft.
(Plimpton) 'The fight was postponed.
'Don King turned up and it seemed maybe the fight wouldn't happen.'
Nothing as big as this ever runs smoothly,
anything worthwhile is worth fighting for.
If you think about what Shakespeare said,
"the sweet uses of adversity,
"ugly and venomous like a toad yet wears a precious jewel in his head."
"Ugly and venomous like a toad yet wears a precious jewel."
How many fight promoters have tried even one line of Shakespeare?
I can relate to the denial they are confronted with,
the rat-infested hovels, sub-standard tenements, overcrowded tenements.
I've been a part of it. I know about roaches and rats.
When he started talkin' to me
I can understand him and he can understand me.
So, when I do this here he can understand.
Now he will believe in me
because he feels that I have shared with him
the same anguish and anxiety, the same pain that he has felt.
It's a big difference.
What would happen if you took a small part
of the vast sums of money being made from the fight
and put it into something that was...
that would help a number of people rather than a few?
This is my dream and desire,
and I feel that I would need... white counterparts to do this here.
I would say let me engender a large amount of money, if it's possible,
and then don't just let the money sit there and wither away and die
but put it into the sun so it could germinate, blossom and grow.
(Hauser) 'He's a remarkable man.
'Don King is one of the brightest people I've ever met,
'he's one of the most charismatic people I've ever met,
'he's one of the hardest working people I've ever met.'
He is also totally amoral
and I can't think of a man who has done more to demoralise fighters,
exploit from fighters and ruin fighters' careers than Don King.
But you have to give him his due
for what he did to make Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman in Zaire.
And nobody does anything for nothing.
You understand that?
Fight or no fight, what business are we in?
- Music! - I was starting to wonder.
I felt like we've been in the fight business.
# My body
# My body
# Shake your body
# Shake your body
# Shake your body
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# Pick 'em up!
# We're gonna take you high
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# We're gonna have a funky good time
# Pick 'em up!
# We're gonna take you high, yeah! #
I'm gonna play me some soul music, man.
The Spinners...to James Brown.
- # Make me high - # Get me high
- # Make me high - # Get me high
- # A natural high - # Groovy high... #
(Cheering) Ali! Ali!
# Downright high
- # Everybody high - # Legal high
# Need to get high
- # Down high... # - I'm ready.
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad!
- # Bad! - # Bad! #
Sucker, you ain't nothin'!
You're too ugly!
You don't represent us coloured folks.
These Africans make all of us ugly.
Sucker, look at you!
You out, sucker.
Ali, boma ye!
(All chant) Ali, boma ye!
Ali, boma ye!
Ali, boma ye!
That mean kill him!
(Foreman) When I walk down the street kids follow me
screaming "George Foreman, bumba yu"
er, "boma ye", yeah.
And that hasn't... I don't think that's so nice.
I'd like, if they have anything to say about me they could say
"George Foreman loves Africa" or "George Foreman loves being here"
not "George Foreman, kill him," I don't like that.
(Ali) Boma ye! (Men) Boma ye!
(Ali) George Foreman. (Men) Boma ye! Boma ye!
(Men cheer)
- There he is! - Boma ye!
Sucker, you wasn't nothing!
Even they understand English.
(Bowens' translator) 'We were all for Muhammad Ali.
'Foreman? We didn't know him.
'Foreman said "Why?
'"I'm black, blacker than Muhammad Ali.
'"Why all this bias?"
'Yes, Muhammad Ali, he was lighter,
'but he was a real person, he was genuine.
'Muhammad Ali could have been even lighter-skinned
'but for us he was defending the good cause,
'for Africans and the whole world.'
Watch this, seven punches.
I'm gonna fight for the prestige,
not for me but to uplift my little brothers
who are sleeping on concrete floors today in America.
Black people living on welfare, who can't eat,
Black people who don't know no knowledge of themselves or no future.
I wanna win my title and walk down the alleys with the wine-heads,
walk with the dope addicts, the prostitutes.
I could help people, show 'em films, take this documentary,
and help uplift my people in Louisville, Kentucky;
Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio;
go through Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi
and show Black Africans who didn't know this was their country,
"You look like your brothers in Alabama, in Georgia.
"They never knew you was over here."
God is blessing me and it was an accident
to help get to all these people
and show them films I haven't seen! I'm well and I haven't seem them!
Now I can get all these films, you governments can let me take pictures
and I can take all this back to America!
But - it's good to be a winner, all I've got to do is whup Foreman.
I realise how unfortunate and uncomfortable it is
for you guys to have travelled so far
and expecting so much
and getting so little.
(Mailer) 'George Foreman was a phenomenon.
'He was almost like a physical guru.
'He almost never spoke but it was always arresting.
'You never quite knew what he meant, it might be deep or non-responsive.
'He was Negritude. He was this huge Black force.'
Because of this I had expected Muhammad Ali to be here today.
I was gonna hit him in his mouth to give you some entertainment.
Now when I go in the ring, you see what kind of mind I got now?
Oh! Oh!
I just got to pound him.
I'm not gonna even realise...
I might look at his face and say, "How'd I do that?"
Allah, God, I'm his tool. God got in me on purpose for my people.
God has made this man look like a little kid.
His so-called right hand ain't nothing now, I don't even feel 'em!
I walk right in and take my shots because I have God in my mind.
I'm thinking of my people being free and I can help with just one fight.
He looks little in comparison to what I'm getting from it!
But if I think about just me...
George Foreman knocked out Joe Frazier like he was God.
He knocked out Ken Norton.
And the white press, the power structure
rank me to get tired in five or six,
then I go in like Norton and the rest of them and get scared.
But my God controls the universe.
(Plimpton) 'I was interested in people called "féticheurs".
'They are witches, soothsayers,
'and in Western Africa almost everybody has one.
'They go to a witch doctor the way we would go to a dentist.'
Muhammad Ali had been to Mobutu's féticheur.
And...
He had said that...
The féticheur had said that a woman with trembling hands
would somehow get to Foreman.
A succubus.
'And that impressed me enormously.'
(Ceremonial band playing)
(Mailer) 'The heavyweight championship produces an excitement
'that's unlike almost any other spectacle.
'It's almost physically unendurable
'to wait for that bell to ring for the first round.
'In 1974 in Zaire, the fight started at four in the morning,
'in order that it could be shown on TV in America
'at a reasonable hour like 10.'
Boma ye! Boma ye!
(Mailer) 'Before the fight, I saw a scene that was incomparable.
'Ali's dressing room was like a morgue.'
It was like The Last Supper.
And at a certain point Ali said,
"Why is everyone...
"so unhappy?
"What is the matter with all of you?"
The sense was that we were watching a man who was going out to be...
going out to the gallows.
They all believed he was gonna get defeated and they were terrified.
They thought that with his pride
he would take one of the world's worst beatings ever
and he wouldn't give up.
And he was gonna be destroyed. Killed or maimed, they knew not what.
But they were deeply frightened,
as if they were taking whatever fear Ali might have had and absorbing it.
After a while he looked at Bundini
and said, "We're gonna dance tonight."
They said, "You're gonna dance!"
Muhammad Ali was so funny repeating this.
"What am I gonna do?!" They said, "Dance!"
He said, "Yes! And that man's gonna be bewildered!
"I'm gonna dance and dance!"
And they said, "You're gonna dance!" I swear they were all crying.
And he built them up to a degree
so that for him they became half-happy.
(Commentator) Here comes the Ali people out of the dressing room
and all of the questions will be answered.
The awesome power of George Foreman
against the varied boxing skills of Muhammad Ali.
It's age against youth.
The experience of Muhammad Ali
against the youth and brute force and blinding speed.
You can hear the band strike up in the background
as Ali moves to the ring.
This is what Muhammad Ali lives for, this is the man's life.
This may be an historic event,
Muhammad Ali coming into the boxing ring for the last time.
Should Muhammad Ali retire,
this will be, what you're seeing now, a very historic event.
Here comes the heavyweight champion of the world, George Foreman,
jogging out!
George Foreman decked out in his red robes,
coming in with his people.
(Mailer) 'No one in the press ever saw Mobutu
'and he didn't come to the fight.
'He watched the fight on closed circuit.
'It was the only one in Zaire.
'He was terribly afraid of assassination.
'This stadium was a true arena for gladiators.
'The floor you could not see beneath the floor was covered with blood.
'That blood had been washed away but the effect was still there.'
(Commentator) There was talk about the possibility of rain,
I don't think the weather could be any more beautiful than it is.
Ali is getting the people to chant!
"Ali, boma ye," that means "Ali, kill him."
(Mailer) 'The atmosphere before the bell rang for that first round
'was as intense as any I ever recall.'
(Commentator) As they stare, Muhammad Ali talking to George Foreman.
Really staring at each other.
Foreman looking serious, Ali definitely talking.
Look at the stare on Foreman. Look at Ali give him the word.
The stage is set, we're just about ready to begin round one.
The championship is at stake
and $5 million will be paid to both fighters.
Ali ready, Foreman ready, we're waiting for the bell.
Here we go, Ali quickly across the ring.
Round one, Ali bouncing around, shifting left to right.
George moves slow, Ali gets the first punch in,
a light right-hand taken on the forehead by the champion.
Foreman moving slow, stalking.
Ali looks like he's ready to go here.
He's not staying away, he's going after his man.
Foreman cautious in the first round, looking to drop that left hook.
Foreman's locked his man to the far corner.
There's that left upper-cut into the body of Muhammad Ali.
Ali tries to hang on to the head of George Foreman.
Foreman dances... Ali with a right-hand lead!
Has Foreman slightly confused with that right-hand lead,
which I haven't seen too many times before.
A right-hand lead, where you throw your right without countering,
you throw it first, like a jab.
That has to travel that extra distance across the shoulders.
'Professionals rarely use this because it's so dangerous to throw
'since you are open to a left hook.
'Since fighters work in milliseconds
'they can see a right coming much faster than a jab.'
Nobody had thrown a right-hand lead at Foreman in two years,
and none of his sparring partners, for $50 a day,
was going to start throwing right-hand leads at him
because it's a great insult to a top professional.
'It suggests he's slow enough that you can hit him with it.'
'Instead Ali figured out Foreman's not expecting a right-hand lead.
'"I'm gonna hit him with a right hand and knock him out."
'Ali threw 12 right hand leads, he hadn't told anybody he was going to.'
He may have debated whether to up until the last moment.
But he didn't knock Foreman down or knock him out.
Instead, Foreman went crazy.
(Commentator) That punch did no damage. That one did!
Two wild right hands taken on the head of Ali!
A real strong right hand just underneath the heart.
Ali is taking some punishment now!
Eight seconds left in the round.
Bell rang.
Ali went back to the corner...
Finally the nightmare he'd been awaiting in the ring
had finally come to visit him.
'He was in the ring with a man he could not dominate,
'who was stronger than him, who was not afraid of him,
'who'd try to knock him out, and who punched harder than Ali,
'and this man was determined and unstoppable.
'Ali had a look on his face that I'll never forget.
'It was the only time I ever saw fear in Ali's eyes.'
Ali looked as if he looked into himself and said,
"All right, this is the moment.
"This is what you've been waiting for.
"This is...that hour.
"Do you have the guts?" And he kind of nodded,
like, "Really got to get it together, boy.
"You are gonna get it together... you WILL get it together."
He nodded some more, as if he were looking into the eyes of his maker,
and then turned to the crowd and went "Ali, boma ye!"
and 100,000 people all yelled back "Ali, boma ye!"
And this huge reverberation of the crowd came back into the ring.
'Ali picked it up as if "these are my people,
'"this is what I'm here for.
'"The time has come, I'm gonna find a way to master this man."'
(Commentator) Ali tries to tie him up.
No real damage done in that exchange.
(Mailer) 'Foreman, like everyone, had assumed that Ali would dance,
'and so Ali now went to the ropes and went into the Rope-a-Dope.
'And a lot of people thought that moment the fight was over.
'Especially on TV, it looked like Foreman was killing a very weak Ali.'
You don't go to the ropes.
And there he was, leaning way back.
'I wrote about it, like a man leaning out of his window
'trying to see if there's something on his roof.'
And, you know, taking it.
Here were these great broadsides
and it looked like he was being set up for the kill.
It happened so quickly and so abruptly,
that I said, I shouted to Norman, "The fix is in."
'He's supposed to go down in the first or second.
'Ropes is halfway house to the floor.'
'It just looked as though he had to cave in.'
(Commentator) ..some awkward but very powerful hooks with both hands.
(Mailer) 'They became so basic that they were like two kids fighting.'
'For that round and the next round and the next round
'Ali lay against the ropes, and he kept talking to Foreman.
'It was extraordinary.
'You had to be close to see it.'
'And Foreman was throwing these prodigious punches
'and Ali swung like a man in the rigging.'
He'd go all the way back, he'd slide out like that.
Occasionally, he'd get hit and he'd say "George, you disappoint me.
"You don't hit as hard as I thought you would, George,
"you're not breaking popcorn!"
'And Foreman's insane with rage,
'wanging at him and wanging at him,
'powerful, powerful, powerful.
'And middle of the fifth round Foreman had punched himself out.
'It had taken three rounds.'
(Commentator) Ali picks it up, 40 seconds left in round five.
First good combination by Ali lands on the head of Foreman.
Foreman with that right hook.
Ali scores a hook!
Quick jab with the right backs up Foreman!
Backs him up in his tracks!
Foreman tries the hook! Ali goes to the right!
Foreman gets knocked to the left!
Foreman hit again!
Foreman has been hit three or four times!
Ali came off the ropes and hit him a right
and you can see the sweat pour off like a fountain off Foreman's face
and you suddenly realised there was design in this madness.
So I turned to Norman, he was somewhat puzzled,
but I said, "The succubus has got him!",
referring to this woman with the trembling hands
that the witch doctors had said would touch Foreman and destroy him.
(Commentator) ..Ali's tactics, to let the man punch himself out.
30 seconds left in round eight.
Very even fight.
Ali a sneaky right hand.
Another sneaky right hand.
Works over the shoulder of Foreman.
There's the combination!
Two...three...
Four...five...
Foreman gets up to the knee at eight!
That's it! The fight is stopped!
Muhammad Ali with a dramatic eighth round knockout!
He knocks out...George Foreman!
He's done it! Muhammad Ali has done it! Muhammad Ali has...
Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali...
(Translator) 'Muhammad Ali, he was like a sleeping elephant.
'You can do whatever you want around a sleeping elephant,
'but when he wakes up... he tramples everything.'
(Crowd roars)
Muhammad Ali, boma ye.
Boma ye. Muhammad Ali, boma ye George Foreman.
He did it.
'He's champion again, we couldn't believe it.
'It was such a classic performance and so beautiful
'that at the moment Ali hit the knockout punch,
'Foreman began to go, Ali followed him around,
'Ali had his right cocked for one more punch
'but he never threw it,
'as though he didn't want to ruin the aesthetic of this man going down.'
One has mixed emotions when you see the end of a fight.
'I always feel sympathy for the man losing it,
'particularly when you see a titanic, formidable figure
'suddenly on the ground.'
(Mailer) 'Now, when we see George on TV,
'and know that after that knockout
'he went through two years of the deepest depression,
'he almost didn't come out of it.
'To see the man who's come out of it,
'the way he reconstructed his personality,
'it's hard to find anyone in America more affable than George Foreman.
'Foreman has become a fabulous person in American life.'
Just as the fight finished,
the monsoons, the African rains, came, and they came so hard
that the waters were about three feet deep in the dressing rooms
where we'd just been an hour ago, I'd never seen such a downpour.
And we rode back through the African night
from the boxing ring into Kinshasa
and there were crowds on the roads standing in the pouring rain
leaping up and down because news had got around that Ali had won.
(Mailer) 'He stayed up all night from what I heard,
'and in the morning he spoke to African groups who'd come to see him,
'and they more than revered him, he was a god.
'And he spoke to them very simply and beautifully,
'and he said, "Afro-Americans, in America,
'"we're not as good as you are.
'"Some of us are richer than you are,
'"but you have a dignity in your poverty that we don't have.
'"We are spoiled in America,
'"we have lost what you still have in Africa and you must keep that."
'And I thought, on top of everything else he's a political leader
'and he's gonna be a great political leader.'
I have a lot of things to do in the Black neighbourhoods,
we have a lot of problems we have to solve among ourselves.
Prostitution, dope, gang fights.
Knowledge of self. Black people have no knowledge of themselves.
We have been made just like white people mentally.
White people have made us so much like them
it's hard to teach them about themselves,
it's hard to teach them to unite and marry and be with their own.
Black people are now like white people,
we have to re-brainwash 'em now,
teach them about themselves and their history and language,
to do something for themselves
and quit begging white people for things they should do themselves.
I never heard Ali say he would never fight again.
If he had said it, and usually he told the truth,
I wouldn't have believed it.
He was born to fight, born for the ring and loved it,
he truly loved fighting.
And...as happens with people who love a thing too much, it destroys them.
It was Oscar Wilde that said you destroy the thing you love.
It's the other way round, what you love destroys you.
(Mailer) 'He came back, he had 22 fights.
'Some were most honourable, some very difficult.
'Some were comedies and farces.
'He hurt himself in those 22 fights after the fight in Africa.'
(Plimpton) 'There is a tendency to look at Muhammad and say
'he's wounded, he's ill.
'There are no intellectual deficits, it's a motor skills problem
'and he doesn't try to hide his condition.
'He goes out and lets the whole world see it.
'He doesn't feel sorry for himself
'and there's really no reason for anybody else to feel sorry for him.
'He loves being Muhammad Ali,
'he truly believes that he's doing God's work
'and he's as happy with each day as anybody I know.'
(Lee) 'Today's young generation, they don't know anything.'
Something happened last year, they know nothing about it.
So there are these great great stories, great historic events,
and I'm not talking about 1850s stuff,
they don't know who Malcolm X is, they don't know who JFK is,
Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, you can go down the line.
And it's scary.
'They're missing a lot if they don't know the legacy of Muhammad Ali,
'because no matter what era you live in,
'you see very few true heroes.'
(Crowd chanting) Ali, boma ye!
Ali, boma ye! Ali, boma ye! Ali, boma ye!
Back up, sucker, back up.
Come get me, sucker, I'm dancin'!
I'm dancin'! Follow me, chump!
I'm not there, I'm here!
Sucker, you ain't got nothing!
# In every heart
# There is a drum that beats
# Steady and strong
# It does not know defeat
# I feel its power
# And know for certain the true belief
# In every soul
# There is a memory
# Of standing tall
# The proudest we could be
# I cannot fall
# For I recall
# We were born in majesty
# And when the long night has been fought and won
# We'll stand in the sun
# And we will raise our hands
# We will touch the sky
# Together we will dance in robes of gold
# And we will leave the world remembering
# When we were kings
# When we were kings
# Now is the time
# Here is the mountaintop
# When one man climbs the rest are lifted up
# When memories stay
# We're closer, yeah
# To our higher destiny
# And when we reach up to claim the throne
# Every man will know
# We will raise our hands
# We will touch the sky
# Together we will dance in robes of gold
# And we will leave the world remembering
# When we were kings
# When we were kings
# Ooh
# When we were kings
# Yeah
# When we were kings
# Float like a butterfly
# Sting like a bee
# Float like a butterfly
# I remember... #
Years after the fight in Zaire, perhaps ten years after,
I'd run into Ali on occasion after that, but I remember this meeting.
Esquire was giving a party for various people
who had distinguished themselves in Esquire that year.
Ali, for whatever he'd done,
I was there probably because I had a good story in Esquire that year,
maybe 25 of us, honoured guests,
I was there with my wife and we saw Ali
and we were talking with him
and he couldn't have been nicer.
I remember I was 62 then, cos he said, "How old are you now?"
I said "62," he said "Oh," same as when we were jogging that night,
"Oh, I hope I'm as young as you are when I'm 62," he went on like that.
I got so pleased and so vain that, you know, I'm like a dog.
What did I have to do? I had to go urinate, and I did.
I went away and once I was gone he turned to my wife,
who's much younger than I am, and he looked at her hard and said,
"You still with that old man?"
And for me that's always been... That's Ali.
You love him even when you turn your back on him.
I heard him once talking to the Harvard senior class commencement.
He gave this extraordinary speech, you know he was dyslexic,
and he would look at a paper and say,
"What does this word mean?" I'd say, "Appendicitis."
He'd say, "How d'you get a word like appendicitis? It's so long."
Here he was delivering a lecture,
senior class day with these 1,000, 2,000 Harvard graduates,
and...he had these little cards in front of him.
He gave this wonderful speech about he hadn't had the opportunity
but they had and they should use that to make the world a better place.
It was moving and funny, and a great roar of appreciation at the end.
Then someone shouted out, "Give us a poem!"
And everybody quieted down.
Now, the shortest poem according to Bartlett's Quotations is called
"On the Antiquity of Microbes"
and the poem is "Adam had 'em."
Pretty short.
But Muhammad Ali's poem was
"Me, we."
Two words.
I wrote Bartlett's Quotations and I said, "Look, that's shorter."
It stands for something more than the poem itself.
"Me, we." What a fighter he was. And what a man.
# Refugee cat... Ali, boma ye
# Yes, yes... Rumble in the jungle
# Come on!
# Root to the fruit more bass than Bootsy Collins
# You versus me that's like Ali versus Foreman
# God's act, stand back and watch
# Devil's time-out can't be timed with no Swatch watch
# Who I am, the Black Abraham
# Zunga zunga zang yellow man, Vietnam
# Add an extra bar as I spar with literature
# Taking kingdoms from Tsars
# Winning more wars than the Moors
# Hey, what's the deal? I seen the Devil spar with Allah
# Mathematics was the key to set my whole race free
# You might debate we, a refugee no harm hurt me
# Dying, thirsty from the struggle to my own hustle bubble
# On the low, woe is me to show the Free Bob right
# The righteous Asiatic thinker
# While Satan rob light
# Civilised like the Molly
# Burgundy, wildly rocking
# Seen the fifth when Ali clocked him
# John Forte will keep you locked in
# People all around you got to recognise and witness
# The Mister who swift enough to knock you out with mic fitness
# Hands blistered from holding the mic tight
# Some say it's fight night
# Well, throw the R after the F cos I'm gonna take away your breath
# The bell rings and it's just a daily operation
# Yo, you saw my lubrication you can see this occupation
# (The winner) You know we're here from Q-borough
# L-Booie and Clef the trainers Prazwell promote the throw
# We used to bite the bullets with the pigskin cases
# Now we perfect slang like a gang of street masons
# Scribe check make connects true pyramid architects
# Replace the last name with the X
# The man's got a God complex
# But take the text change the picture
# Watch Muhammad play the messenger like holy Moslem scripture
# Take orders from only God only one when it's jihad
# See Ali appears in Zaire to reconnect 400 years
# But we're the people dark but equal
# Give love to such things
# For the man who made the fam' remember when we were kings
# Block's on fire
# Flames getting higher
# Robbin' blue collar
# Killin' for a dollar
# Youths get tired
# We're dealin' with them liars
# From Brooklyn to Zaire
# We need a ghetto messiah
# Send me an angel in the morning, baby
# Send me an angel in the morning, darling
# Send me Muhammad in the morning, baby
# Send me an angel in the morning, darling
# Once the pen hits the pad it's danger
# To this I'll be no stranger
# Step inside the ring and I'll derange you
# I'm hearing no comments everyone looks despondent
# Dejected, rejected similar to Liston catching licks
# Beat it, Sonny, my man is still the greatest in history
# To hell with Frazier, yapping about that negative shit
# Now, listen, you can try and escape if you want to
# But ask yourself who the hell you gonna run to?
# Like Sade Abu you got a punch that I can sleep to
# Fugees, Tribe, Busta Rhymes forever coming through
# You sing Amazing Grace over two dollar plates
# One roll, snake-eyes, like Jake the Snake
# Many lies, put up for stakes, wash our sins at the Great Lakes
# You and I cannot see eye-to-eye so therefore we can't relate
# I'm here when I make myself crystal clear
# You fled to Cape Fear when I aced you up in Zaire
# Tussle with a lasso in the Royal Rumble
# Separate boys from men in the concrete jungle
# I remember when Cassius Clay flipped the script
# Taking trips to Zimbabwe
# Africans started calling the God Ali, boma ye!
# It be the God stricken, God nutrition, lightly stricken
# Blow that make you feel like you was poison bitten
# Ha! Yo, I'm 'bout to blister you and your sister
# Predicting every ass whipping before my fights, my nigga
# This be your last warning once you walk past the doorman
# Ali and Foreman gonna lock ass until the morning
# Marvellous finances provided by Joseph Mobutu
# Special guests of honour like the Archbishop Desmond Tutu
# We watched the Rumble In The Jungle
# To see who be the targeted uncle to be the first to fall and fumble
# Nuff blows they getting thrown like solid milestones
# Internally shaking up niggas imbalance your chromosomes
# With the force of a thousand warriors
# When I bust your ass identify me as the lord victorious
# Blocks on fire
# Flames getting higher
# Robbing blue collar
# Killing for a dollar
# Youths get tired
# We're dealing with them liars
# From Brooklyn to Zaire
# We need a ghetto Messiah #
WAR
Wag The Dog
Waga seishun ni kuinashi 1946
Wait Until Dark CD1
Wait Until Dark CD2
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
Waking Ned Divine
Waking Up In Reno
Walk On The Moon A 1999
Walk To Remember A
Walk on Water
Walk on the Wild Side
Walking With Beasts BBC Part02 Whale Killer
Walking With Beasts BBC Part03 Land Of Giants
Walking With Beasts BBC Part04 Next Of Kin
Walking With Beasts BBC Part05 Sabre Tooth
Walking With Beasts BBC Part06 Mammoth Journey
Walking and Talking 1996
Walking tall (2004)
Walking with Dinosaurs
Wall Street
Wall The
Wanted 2003
WarGames (1983) CD1
WarGames (1983) CD2
War CD1
War CD2
War Game The
War Game The (author commentary)
War Hunt 1962
War Is Over The (Alain Resnais 1966)
War Lover The 1962
War Zone The
War and Peace CD1
War and Peace CD2
War of the Roses The
War of the Worlds The
War of the Worlds The (1953)
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (Shohei Imamura 2001) CD1
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (Shohei Imamura 2001) CD2
Warriors Of Heaven And Earth 2003 CD1
Warriors Of Heaven And Earth 2003 CD2
Warriors Of Heaven And Earth CD1
Warriors Of Heaven And Earth CD2
Warriors The
Wasabi 2001
Wash The
Washington Heights (2002)
Watcher The
Watchtower
Water Drops on Burning Rock
Waterboy The
Waterboys 2001
Waterloo 1970 CD1
Waterloo 1970 CD2
Waters Edge
Watership Down
Waterworld
Way We Were The
Way of the Gun The
Waynes World
Waynes World 1992
Waynes World 2
We Are No Angels 1989
We Dont Live Here Anymore
We Were Soldiers
Weapon of War CD1
Weapon of War CD2
Wedding Planner The
Wedding Singer The
Wedlock 1991
Weekend Godard 1967
Weekend at Bernies II
Weight of Water The
Weird Science CD1
Weird Science CD2
Welcome Back Mr McDonald 1997
Welcome To Mooseport
Welcome to Collinwood (2002)
Welcome to Sarajevo
Welcome to the Dollhouse
Wes Cravens New Nightmare
West Side Story CD1
West Side Story CD2
West Wing The
Westler
Westworld (1973)
Whale Rider
Whale Rider 2002
Whales Of August The 1987
Whasango CD1
Whasango CD2
What About Bob (1991)
What Dreams May Come CD1 1998
What Dreams May Come CD2 1998
What Fault Is It Of Ours 2003 CD1
What Fault Is It Of Ours 2003 CD2
What Lies Beneath CD1
What Lies Beneath CD2
What Planet Are You From
What Price Glory
What Women Want
What Women Want CD1
What Women Want CD2
What a Girl Wants
What a Way to Go 1964
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane 1962
Whatever It Takes
Whats Eating Gilbert Grapewegg CD1
Whats Eating Gilbert Grapewegg CD2
Whats Love Got To Do With It 1993
Whats New Pussycat
Whats The Worst That Could Happen
Whats Up Doc
Wheels on Meals
When A Man Loves A Woman 1994 CD1
When A Man Loves A Woman 1994 CD2
When Harry Met Sally
When I Turned Nine 2004 CD1
When I Turned Nine 2004 CD2
When Ruoma Was Seventeen 2002
When The Last Sword Is Drawn 2003 CD1
When The Last Sword Is Drawn 2003 CD2
When Will I Be Loved 2004
When the Rain Lifts 1999
When the Sky Falls
When we were kings
Where Angels Go Trouble Follows (James Neilson 1968)
Where Eagles Dare CD1
Where Eagles Dare CD2
Where The Heart Is
Where the Red Fern Grows 2003
Where the Sidewalk Ends
While You Were Sleeping
Whipped
Whirlpool 1949
Whisper of the Heart
White Chicks
White Dragon
White Fang - To the Rescue
White Man Cant Jump CD1
White Man Cant Jump CD2
White Palace
White Sheik The
White Sun Of The Desert 1970
White Valentine - 25fps - 1999
White Valentine 1999
Who Are You 2002 CD1
Who Are You 2002 CD2
Who Is Cletis Tout
Who framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Whole Nine Yards The
Whole ten yards The
Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf CD1
Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf CD2
Whos Harry Crumb
Whos That Knocking at My Door
Whos Your Daddy
Wicked - 29,970fps 1998
Wicked 1998
Wicked 1998 29,970fps
Wicked City - 1973
Wicked City 1973
Wicker Park CD1
Wicker Park CD2
Wild Bunch The
Wild Bunch The - Restored Directors Cut
Wild One The
Wind Carpet The (Kamal Tabrizi 2003)
Wind Will Carry Us The CD1
Wind Will Carry Us The CD2
Wings of Desire CD1
Wings of Desire CD2
Wizard Of Darkness
Wizard of Oz The CD1
Wizard of Oz The CD2
Women from Mars
Women in Black The
World Is Not Enough The
Worst of Ed Wood Boxed Set The