From HAROLD BELL’S LEGENDS: THE ORIGINAL INSIDE SPORTS
I Remember it was 40 years ago in October 1974 when Muhammad Ai Roped A Dope in Zaire Africa:
JOE FRAZIER—-GEORGE FOREMAN—-THE GREATEST
Ali shocked the sports world on October 30, 1974 when he knocked out George Foreman in the 8th round in a fight known as The Rumble in the Jungle.
The Dope he roped was none other then the Heavyweight Champion of the world. Big George would later admit “Ali outhought me and he outfought me.”
Ali and I met in Chicago prior to the big fight. He invited me to go as his guest. I turned down his invitation I was not too thrilled about flying across all that water. A decision I now regret.
But he promised me on his return back to the United States I would be the first media personality to interview him in New York City. I never will forget how confident he was that he would return victorious.
ALI, PAT PATTERSON AND H. BELL
Sitting on the mountain top it does not get any better
The champ was a man of his word. He called me after his arrival back home and gave me the green light to head on up to the Big Apple. The interview was held in his hotel room overlooking Central Park.
My producer Rodney Brown and cameraman Wil Williams would accompany me on this historical journey. On our arrival in the hotel lobby I called the room number he had given me. He answered the phone and said, “Come on up!” He opened the door while combing his hair and said “What I tell you boy, I am the Greatest.” We all started laughing–he was right again.
In the best interview I have ever seen Ali give. He talks about controversy, friendship, truth, the innocent of a little child, the difference between a boxer and a fighter, The White House and self-sufficiency. He closes the show talking about his commitment to the Nation of Islam.
The interview is captured in the video titled, “The Legends of Inside Sports.” Its one of a kind. This is the Greatest being the Greatest as he talks about The Game Called Life. Forty years later the topics are still relevant.
The interview is one of a kind there is nothing like it in the market place. In 2007 a group brought the rights to Ali’s name and likeness for 50 million dollars and 20% of the monies generated from advertising. It was a great deal for the champ because of his age and failing health.
The Champ & The Dope
My interview is distinguished by his left black eye and it was not for sale. The champ never allows anyone to interview him with marks on his pretty face. If you ever see any parts of my interview with Ali and he has a black eye–you will know it is my interview with the champ in November of 1974. The interview made its debut on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 in Washington, DC in November 1975. It has not been seen since. I have the copy rights to the entire interview. Stay tune.