ROPE-A-DOPE UPDATE: Stephen Green’s VodkaPundit is back online after a quick server change, with lots of good content including an explanation of the term rope-a-dope. Apparently, there are people who don’t know what the term means. People, where were you during the 1970s??
Some of you are apparently unfamiliar with “rope-a-dope.”
Back in ’74, Mohammed Ali fought George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. Ali was the underdog — too old, too slow, too soft, to beat the young, brutal world champ. Most of the fight, Ali looked bad. He was up against the ropes, just fending off Foreman’s punches. For round after round, Ali just stood there and took the beating.
By the ninth round (I think) Foreman was punched out. He’d thrown so many blows — to little apparent effect — that he was just plain tired. And Ali came back swinging. Dropped Foreman to the mat and won on a disputed count.
That is the rope-a-dope.
There’s a brilliant documentary about that fight, which documents the term, Ali’s incredible balls, magnetism, and (sadly) knuckleheaded politics (Ali thought Zaire would be paradise, only to discover that the ruler of Zaire was a brutal thug) released a few years ago called When We Were Kings. For those who only know Ali as a tired old man, or as somebody played by Will Smith, it’s electrifying to see the real thing in action, in his prime.