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What is the Rope-a-dope Boxing Style? Check This Out

What is Rope-a-dope Boxing Style?
The rope-a-dope boxing style was one of the prominent reasons for the then 32-year-old Muhammad Ali's victory against the 25-year-old George Foreman. SportsAspire has more information to share on this boxing tactic.
Rohini Mohan
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2018
Did You Know?
The rope-a-dope tactic evolved from the 'turtle' defensive boxing stance.
Rope-a-dope boxing style was used by the legendary heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali. This boxing strategy was introduced during the 1974 match against the then undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman. This historic World Heavyweight Championship was called 'The Rumble in the Jungle' and was held in Kinshasa, Zaire.
Rope-a-dope Boxing Technique Explained
Boxing ring
This boxing technique involves one boxer to intentionally take up a defensive stance by pretending to be trapped on the ropes while continually blocking the punches being thrown by the opponent. The defensive boxer intentionally rests most of his body weight against the ropes of the fighting ring, so as to reduce the impact on the spine, torso, and legs. The objective of such a stance and the use of ropes is to firstly make the ropes divert the impact from each punch away from the body of the defensive boxer. The second goal is to expend the opponent's energy and make him more vulnerable to attacks.

During the match against George Foreman, Muhammad Ali assumed a protective/defensive stance by frequently leaning against the rope, while Foreman kept pummeling him with hard punches. The idea behind laying against the rope was to make the ropes absorb and reduce the impact of each blow from the opponent so that the defending boxer would suffer less. The elasticity of the ropes helped in neutralizing the power of Foreman's punches and also caused him to tire out eventually. During the match, Ali kept taunting Foreman, which caused him to drive in even harder punches that led him to get tired more quickly. All this while, Ali kept his face protected from the incoming punches and dealt a few blows on Foreman's face every now and then. Once Foreman had tired himself out, Ali took advantage of the situation and used his reserved energy and speed to regain the World Heavyweight Championship by defeating George Foreman.
Its Inception
The term 'rope-a-dope' is said to have originated when boxing photographer George Kalinsky, Publicist John Condon, and Ali met up a month before the match with Foreman. During this casual meeting, George Kalinsky suggested to Ali that he should try out one of his training session sparring strategies. In the book Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, there occurs a conversation between the trio―"Maybe if you tried this with Foreman, lean back against the ripe, act sort of like a dope and just let him hit you, maybe he'll use all his strength up. You know, act like a dope on the ropes." During this conversation, the trio came up with various variations of the phrase until 'rope-a-dope' was coined. It was after this meeting that Ali discussed this strategy with his trainer Angelo Dundee.
Other Fights Using This Strategy
A few other notable fights have witnessed the use of this difficult boxing strategy.
✦ Nicolino Locche
The Argentinian boxing legend and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, Nicolino Locche extensively used this sparring strategy during his career.
✦ Manny Pacquiao
Manny pacquiao
The Filipino professional boxer and eight-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, used this technique to win the World Boxing Association Welterweight Championship against Miguel Cotto in November 2009.
✦ Irish Micky Ward
American junior welterweight and one-time World Boxing Union (WBU) champion, Micky Ward―a.k.a Irish―used this strategy against Shea Neary in 2000.
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