Life is full of perplexities that emanate from political, religious, economic, social, educational, family and professional pressure. How such pressures are managed has a permanent bearing on ones mental and professional health. A healthy survival in this fast paced generation, a generation that strives on self-preservation is only possible to those who have mastered the art of bouncing back.
The Rumble in the Jungle is one such thesis of how one can bounce back when life had ejected him. However, it must be observed that even though professional frustrations leave many with permanent emotional/mental scars, the process of re invention and starting all over again can be more vigorous, and more demanding because the fulfillment that comes along with finding one’s purpose and footing again is often greater than the rejection and the ejection. October 30, 1974 is the date synonymous with one of the greatest ‘comebacks” ever recorded in history. It is the anniversary for arguably one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century: The Rumble in the Jungle. It was at the Mai 20 Stadium where two boxing champions George Foreman; the undefeated heavyweight champion, a power puncture and Muhammad Ali; a good talker, fast and sleek, faced off in Kinshasa, Zaire. By 4:00 am 60 000 people had filled the stadium to witness the momentous moment.
The fight was a major turning point in the careers of both men, particularly Ali. It was the moment (of bouncing back) he regained the heavyweight championship he’d forfeited in 1967 as a result of refusing induction into the U.S. Army. It was also the moment, perhaps ironically, at which his public image began to turn decisively away from “divisive black nationalist” and toward “broadly popular American celebrity.” Born Cassius Clay, Ali won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960 and then rose quickly up the ranks of heavyweight title contenders. His initial public persona was bright, charming, and telegenic, and he immediately placed himself among the very small number of fighters in history who were as entertaining to listen to or read about as they were to watch in the ring. Upon winning the heavyweight title in 1964, he announced himself a member of the Nation of Islam and instantly became the country’s most famous black nationalist; upon being classified 1- A for the draft, he stated his intention to refuse induction and sought to be re-classified a conscientious objector on the basis of his status in the NOI.
Ali had been able to resume fighting in 1970 while he appealed his conviction for draft evasion. His first effort to regain the heavyweight title, however, failed at the hands of Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Billed as the “Fight of the Century,” it was Ali’s first professional defeat. Frazier continued to hold the title until 1973, when he lost it in a brutal tworound, six-knockdown bout to Foreman. The fight itself was dramatic and entertaining. Foreman was favored. Everyone expected Ali to “dance,” to emphasize movement and footwork, mostly because he’d told everybody so all throughout training camp. Much of
the boxing press, especially those rooting explicitly or implicitly for Ali, feared that he might be humiliated or seriously hurt if he took any other approach. Instead, Ali came out aggressively in the first round, taking\ the fight to Foreman with a series of dramatic right-hand leads. For the next several rounds, Ali executed the socalled “rope-a-dope” maneuver going to the ropes early in the round, inviting Foreman to tire himself by throwing body punches, attacking late in the round. Ali absorbed enormous punishment in the process. His strategy was nevertheless eventually effective, and in the eighth round Ali knocked out an exhausted Foreman with a series of powerful combination punches. The one, who had read and executed The Elasticity Code, finally won the fight.
The elasticity code – The art of bouncing back: The game of tennis is made possible and pleasurable the ability of the tennis ball to bounce. The harder you hit it against the ground the higher it will go as it bounces. The greatest men and women who have influenced and shaped life as we see it now are men who have hit rock bottom real hard their rise has been high and it has seen them souring with eagles. Muhammad Ali knew that without enduring the power punches from Foreman, this showdown could mark the end of his boxing career. He quickly had to recalibrate the operations of his mental faculties. His mind had to adapt to the painful reality that each heavy punch from his adversary should serve as a springboard to him re claiming the heavyweight title. Like a tennis ball, a professional knockdown should serve as temporary setback that setup’s one’s greatest comebacks. There are three secret success codes that are found in what we will call the success Bible/Elasticity Code.
Power of the tongue
You are what you say because you are the embodiment of your dreams. Bouncing back requires a champion’s mindset and it is quicker for those who speak positively about themselves. Ali knew that the odds were stacked against him and as such he used the power of his tongue to win the fight off the ring. If Ali had fed his mind negativity of the ring, chances are he would have been knocked off on the first round. If you want to bounce back, have a positive view about yourself at all times. A winner’s mindset is a positive mindset.
Muhammad Ali hated training, but because of a defined purpose ahead of him he trained. Our path to recovery and bouncing back is often impeded because we live lives that lack a clearly defined purpose. A winner’s mindset has a clearly defined purpose.
George Foreman was a power puncher. Muhammad Ali’s survival was hinged upon a focused mind. Looking away for a second from Foreman would have gotten Ali knocked down. A life lived without focus will permanently be a life of failure. Winner’s mindset must be focused.
Romans 12: 1-2
Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight that beset us, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God
Keeme Clyde Retshabile (Pastor)
Seventh day Adventist Church
March Horger. (2019): History Milestone-The Rumble In
The Jungle: www.origins.osu.edu