By Chris Lehman
There’s a fine line between coincidence and controversy – Between accident and prophecy.
But where do we draw that line?
Let’s set the scene.
On October 30th, 1974, one of the most defining moments in sports history, maybe even American history took place. In what became known as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Muhammad Ali and current world champion, George Foreman faced off in what is considered today as one of the most memorable moments in sports history.
While the fight itself was the fight of the century between the world’s two best boxers, there was much more on the line.
In addition to its significance in the sports world, this fight had political and cultural importance. Ali, a freedom fighter and strong supporter of Malcolm-X didn’t accept the idea of social integration between blacks and whites. He pushed for Black Nationalism and fought against colonialism. Foreman, was the exact opposite. He demonstrated patriotism toward America and represented racial progress. While both men had opposing views, they were both loved by most. Foreman for his acceptance of the American way, and Ali for his in-the-ring dominance and charisma.
In the end, Ali won the fight and his legacy was completed. He had become the GOAT (greatest of all time).
But during the fight, a small detail sticks out – one that is overlooked by most, but brings up an interesting thought – Possibly where the line between accident and prophecy should be drawn.
Entering round 8 of the fight, the ring-girl came out into the ring hoisting the numbered card, just as in every other round. Except this time it was different. The number was sideways. Of all the numbers to mess up, it had to be this one. A sideways 8, creating a lemniscate, the Latin word for the infinity symbol.
In boxing history, it almost never happens that a ring-girl messes up the numbers. So why now? Why in this one particular fight, in this one particular round?
Is it possible that she knew the future significance of this fight? – What it meant to the world. That this moment would last forever. Did she know that the fight was going to end in this round?
Sure, this seems like a trivial detail, but with all things considered, it’s sort of strange. Ali would go on to KO Foreman in the 8th round, in what is, still today, one of the most memorable moments in sports. A moment that will never vanish. One that will remain in history forever.
It just makes you wonder – Why now? Why in this particular fight, in this exact round?
I’m not saying, I’m just saying.