Book review: The Fight

One of the great literary treatments of boxing – just make sure you don’t take it too seriously as a fight report.

Mailer weaves a wonderful tale about the Muhammad Ali v George Foreman Rumble in the Jungle, telling of the true fear behind Ali’s bravado, how he sought to defeat Foreman with the desperate tactic of the right-hand lead, how he stared into the abyss when that tactic failed, how he then somehow found a way to win.

This framework for the fight has proved hugely influential. Unfortunately it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Try watching the bout…

Ali was in control from the start and took Foreman to school. Whatever the legendary status accorded to the fight, it was simply too one sided to be called a classic.

But still… that’s no reason not to enjoy Mailer’s brilliantly crafted book!

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