Great Myths

One of the great myths in sport is that Mohammed Ali stayed on the ropes for 7 rounds and allowed Foreman to batter him for 7 rounds before punching himself out and then Ali stepped in and knocked out a tired Foreman in the 8th. Ali called it his Rope-a-Dope tactics and he helped perpetuate the myth.

However, this is almost complete nonsense. There were periods when Ali stayed on he ropes and called Foreman onto him. However the idea that he was being battered for 7 rounds by Foreman until Foreman could punch no more is absolute rubbish. If you get a chance to watch the fight again on ESPN or some other sports channel watch it and you will see what I mean.

Score Cards

To show you that it was a nonsense here are the official scorecards for the fight up to the 7th round.

Referee Zach Clayton 4-2-1 Ali – that’s 4 rounds to Ali, 2 to Foreman and 1 drawn

Judge Nourridine Adalla 3-0-4 Ali,

judge James Taylor 4-1-2 Ali.

That means that one judge gave it 4 rounds to 2 for Ali, another 4 rounds to 1 and the other 3 rounds to 0 for Ali.

Won Easily

In other words Foreman probably won just one of the seven rounds (with one judge saying he didn’t win any). As the final l round wasn’t scored when Ali knocked him out you could assume that would have gone to him too making it 5-2, 5-1 and 4-0.

That’s quite a thrashing. If Foreman was battering Ali for round after round till he punched himself out how come he didn’t even win a round on one judges’ scorecard and only one and two rounds on the others.


The answer is that the whole things is a myth. If you actually watch the fight it shows Ali outboxing Foreman for round after round. There were a few times when he took breathers on the ropes and called Forman onto him but the majority of the time he was up on his toes outboxing Foreman. It was pretty much a one way contest.

If you get a chance to watch the fight again you’ll see what I mean. For some reason the facts don’t seem to matter here and the myth perpetuates – but a myth it is.

The real story is that Ali outboxed Foreman for 7 rounds winning most of them and then knocked a battered Foreman, with a closing eye, out in the 8th.

That’s the real story!