When George Foreman and Muhammad Ali were preparing for their World Heavyweight Championship match in Zaire, Africa in 1974, (the historic “Rumble in the Jungle”), they ran into a bit of a snag. Foreman ended up with a cut over his eye during a training session which put the fight off for nearly a month. The two fighters remained in Africa, however, training, doing road work, holding sparring sessions and basically keeping in shape for the big fight until Foreman’s cut healed up.
Of course, all that work and no play can be no fun. I mean, really, you can only dance with a punching bag for so long.
Well, ABC Sports and ABC Entertainment came to the rescue and shipped off a few movies to Africa for the fighters to watch during some well-deserved down time. The movies included theatrical releases, such as “Straw Dogs” and “Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?” and made-for-tv films, such as Darren McGavin’s “The Night Stalker,” Andy Griffith’s “Pray for the Wildcats” and…
…Robert Culp’s “Outrage.”
According to the Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald, the ratings system was simple. If either fighter’s camp asked to see a movie for a second time, the film was a hit. Of course, as with most things I find in the Google news archive, I found no follow up on the films and how they were received. I can’t help but wonder though what critique the two fighters might have had for the scene where Culp takes Mark Leonard down with a good ole fashioned right cross.
Foreman: “Of course that fight was fixed. Culp fixed it with his right hand!”
Ali: “He’s a baaaad man!”