Foreman on epic fight against Ali: "I was mugged in the jungle"

One of Muhammad Ali's greatest boxing matches was 1974's "Rumble in the Jungle" against heavyweight champion George Foreman. Foreman was undefeated and a heavy favorite to win at the Kinshasa, Zaire championship event, but Ali shook up the world yet again with an eighth-round knockout.

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"It was like I was mugged in the jungle. I went there with two title belts, I came home with none," Foreman said, laughing, on "CBS This Morning."

Foreman described it as a "strange" experience.

"I thought I'd knock him out in one or two rounds, but about the third round, I'd hit him, and he fell on me. I thought, 'That's it.' And he started screaming, 'That all you got, George?! Show me something!' And I knew then I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

While he called the fight "the most embarrassing moment" of his life, Foreman said he and Ali became lifelong friends. Asked how he became friends with someone who beat him up so badly, Foreman said, "If you beat me up like he did, I'd be your friend too."

There is no one like Ali, Formen added, saying he wished everyone could have gotten the chance to meet him to know what he was talking about.

"He was the greatest man, the greatest man I ever met. To say he was the greatest boxer is a put down," Foreman said. "He was bigger than boxing. He was bigger than anything."

Ali died Friday at the age of 74 after a decades-long fight against Parkinson's disease.

Foreman said Ali's "greatest power was his presence," inside the boxing ring and outside.

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"Every morning he woke up, it didn't matter what situation he was in, he was going to try to find a way to be joking and laughing," Foreman said.

"He made me feel so important. If you sit around him, you felt important. You really felt like you were something special. And he'd just sit there and make you think, 'Wow, he's paying some attention to me.' And he wouldn't yawn much. He'd just listen to you."