"It was a study to watch Ali take punches. He would lie on the ropes and paw at his sparring partner like a mother cat goading her kitten to belt away. Then Ali would flip up his glove and let the other’s punch bounce from that glove off his head, repeating the move from other angles, as if the second half of the art of getting hit was to learn the trajectories with which punches glanced off your gloves and still hit you; Ali was always studying how to deaden such shots or punish the glove that threw the punch, forever elaborating his inner comprehension of how to trap, damp, modify, mock, curve, cock, warp, distort, deflect, tip, and turn the bombs that came toward him, and do this with a minimum of movement, back against the ropes, languid hands up. He invariably trained by a scenario that cast him as a fighter in deep fatigue, too tired to raise his arms in the twelfth round of a fifteen-round fight.”
So begins Norman Mailer’s brilliant book, The Fight, one of the greatest boxing books ever, written in 1975, encapsulating Mailer’s experience of covering Muhammad Ali’s epic “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman in Zaire.
With Foreman heavily favored, Ali used his now famous “rope-a-dope” strategy to tire Foreman, knock him out and regain the heavyweight championship.
The brilliant minds at Taschen have brought Mailer’s book back to life, accompanied by the incomparable photographs of legends such as Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer (considered by many to be the greatest sports photographer of the 20th Century), and the late Howard Bingham (Ali’s personal photographer and best friend).
The package of Mailer’s words with Leifer and Bingham’s photography is a one-two-three combination that would win any undisputed championship. Leifer and Bingham’s photography capture Ali in such an intimate way, you cannot imagine another athlete ever allowing this kind of access into their world again. The photos capture everything from Ali’s arrival in Zaire as an overwhelming underdog, to his travels interacting with the people of Zaire, to the most epic victory of his boxing career.
Two separate limited edition runs of 125 books include signed prints by Neil Leifer ($1,800), while another 1,724 copies of the book are signed by Leifer and Bingham ($700). For any fans of boxing or Muhammad Ali, your library is incomplete without it.