The Rumble Replay
Ali still 'The Champ' a generation after 'Rumble in the Jungle'
The chant began before the eighth round flickered onto the screen, an echo from a day long past.
"Ali bomaye! Ali bomaye!"
Muhammad Ali shook slightly as the chant - which means "Ali! Kill him!" - washed over him. He looked up from his seat and smiled.
The Champ was at the Muhammad Ali Center on Sunday, joined by several witnesses to the "The Rumble in the Jungle." They watched a film of the famed bout and told old stories about what some consider Ali's finest hour in the ring, when he chopped down mighty George Foreman with the "Rope A Dope" and took back the heavyweight championship on Oct. 30, 1974.
I was asked to film the event for the Ali Center archives. There was Angelo Dundee, the legendary trainer who never doubted that Ali, at 32, could handle the hard-hitting and hard-charging 25-year-old Foreman, the one who many experts predicted would destroy the former champion.
There was Leon Gast, director of the Academy Award-winning documentary "When We Were Kings," who can remember the heat and the crowds of people who flocked to see Ali.
There was Howard Bingham, Ali's personal photographer, wincing when recalling the punishment Ali took early in the fight as Foreman pushed Ali into the ropes and attacked with the right hand that had knocked out 38 of his previous 40 opponents.
But mostly, there was Ali, holding court as only he can.
Even now, at 65, Ali delighted the crowd of 175 that traveled from points across the world to meet the man whose greatness touched their hearts and whose generosity made him a global icon for peace.
Rumble Replay Gallery
Andy with Muhammad Ali
The Rumble Replay event begins with a meet & Greet with fans from all over the world.
Angelo, Andy & Leon Gast
Andy with the great Angelo Dundee and academy award winning director Leon Gast
The Rumble Replay Video: Parts 1 & 2
Filmed & Edited by Andy Dumas
Ali posed for pictures, signed autographs and even did a little conducting when the crowd hailed him with a belated rendition of "Happy Birthday," holding his left hand for just a second to extend the final note.
"This is just what we envisioned for this center," said his wife, Lonnie. "For people to be able to experience this when he's still here with us, not when he is gone."
Screen images of that hot early morning in Kinshasa, Zaire, showed Ali
conserving his energy as Foreman gradually weakened. Then Ali attacked in the eighth round with a flurry that sent Foreman stumbling to the canvas and the 60,000 in attendance into what Gast called "the happiest moment in boxing history."
"He was more than just a boxer before the fight, but that one showcased his humanity," Gast said. "The way he brought in the people, the way he treated them with respect, it really spoke to who he is."
The Rumble Replay provided an exceptional opportunity to relive the fight that not only epitomizes Ali's dedication and confidence in the ring, but demonstrates the true heart of a champion, says Mike Fox, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. This rare glimpse into the past allowed those in attendance to experience one of Alis greatest boxing triumphs and to witness the reunion of this dynamic duo in Ali's corner.
Ali & Foreman battle it out in the 'Rumble in the Jungle'
Andy Filming Ali
On behalf of the Ali Center, I again wish to thank you for documenting our special event on this past Sunday. Undoubtedly, you are an artist whose work we will in perpetuity cherish in the Center's archive for both the benefit of present and future generations. I hope that your interest in the Center will never wane and we look forward to other times when you will be in our company.
All the very best.
Muhammad Ali Center