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Today in History: Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle fight

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Today in History for October 30th

It was 41 years ago that boxing was on the world's biggest stage -- in this particular case, Kinshasa, Zaire, when Muhammad Ali and George Foreman squared off. Foreman entered the match undefeated at 40-0, while Ali was 44-2 at the age of 32.

What was scheduled to be a 15-round bout ended in the middle of the eighth, though, with Ali pulling off a feat that no other boxer had ever done -- knocking out Foreman. It was Ali's 32nd career knockout. He'd go on to achieve five more before retiring.

It was a long-awaited matchup between boxing's two biggest personalities. Ali was suspended from boxing in 1967, and in his absence, Foreman had taken over as the sport's most dominant fighter. When Ali was finally reinstated, a fight between the pair was inevitable.

See photos of the thrilling fight:
4 PHOTOS
Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
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Today in History: Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle fight
TO GO WITH AFP STORIES In this photo taken on October 30, 1974 shows the fight between US boxing heavyweight champions, Muhammad Ali (L) (born Cassius Clay) and George Foreman in Kinshasa. On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in a clash of titans known as the 'Rumble in the Jungle', watched by 60 000 people in the stadium in Kinshasa and millions elsewhere. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on October 30, 1974 shows the fight between US boxing heavyweight champions, Muhammad Ali (L) (born Cassius Clay) and George Foreman in Kinshasa. On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in a clash of titans known as the 'Rumble in the Jungle', watched by 60 000 people in the stadium in Kinshasa and millions elsewhere. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORIES In this photo taken on October 30, 1974 shows US boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (C) (born Cassius Clay) during a press conference after the heavyweight world championship in Kinshasa. On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in a clash of titans known as the 'Rumble in the Jungle', watched by 60 000 people in the stadium in Kinshasa and millions elsewhere AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Rumble in the Jungle was the birthplace of the famous "rope-a-dope" strategy deployed by Ali. Starting in the second round, Ali began intentionally leaning back against the ropes as Foreman belted him with power blow after power blow -- all by design, and it worked. By the eighth round, Foreman had worn himself out, and Ali connected with a five-punch combination ending with a left hook to Foreman's head.

Outside of Ali's two bouts against Joe Frazier, this 1974 bout could very well be the most publicized fight in the history of boxing. Ali's robe and gloves worn during the bout are found in the National Museum of American History, and was named the greatest moment in ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Take a closer look at Ali's boxing career:

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Muhammad Ali through the years
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Today in History: Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle fight
American boxer and sometime actor Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) as Eric Sevareid interviews him during an episode of the CBS Evening News, New York, March 24, 1964. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 2,1980: Muhammad Ali (L) throws a punch against Larry Holmes during the fight at Caesars Palace, on October 2,1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Larry Holmes won the WBC heavyweight title by a RTD 10. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)
JUL 14 1981; Ali, Muhammad (Boxer) - Ind.; (Photo By Lyn Alweis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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