Hyderabad: October is a memorable month for boxing fans because it was in this month that the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali regained the World Boxing Championship in 1974.
It is especially memorable for Major General N.B. Patel (retd), a resident of Trimulgherry. He had written a letter congratulating the boxing great on his achievement and to his delight, received a reply penned by the boxer along with a single Everlast boxing glove, which is the brand Ali used.
“I was always a fan of boxing and was struck listening to the commentary of the match.
As a token of my appreciation, I had written a letter to the champ, who sent me a single boxing glove along with a letter,” he told this newspaper.
In the letter, Maj. Gen Patel (retd) says he wrote: ‘Age is catching up with you, like it does with everyone else. You are great today, you were great then.’
He goes on to congratulate the champion for the historic win against George Foreman.
The fight, called ‘Rumble in the Jungle,’ was an epic, staged in Kinshasa, Zaire. President Mobutu Sese Seko had personally given each of the boxers $5 million for simply showing up.
Of course, he hoped that it would draw the world’s attention to his country and its great beauty and vast natural resources.
Maj. Gen. Patel (retd) recalls that Ali, then 32 and a former champ, had been taunting Foreman, aged 25, for weeks, and the young boxer was eager to get going.
However, Ali went to become the heavyweight champion of the world for a second time....