Ali Boom-ba-yay: SJ Murphy

The Rumble in the Jungle - this picture is an iconic image of 20th Century sport


The jungle the arena, no star spangled city,
The rumble, in that jungle, the game:
Ali Boom-ba-yay the song, the chant,
From villages, townships and slums they came.

Expelled, disgraced, some say humiliated,
This was no man to run, cower or hide:
Man against mortal man, a God to many,
All talking done, stage set to collide.

Collide they did, eight rounds it seemed
One outcome was set, Ali named the dope:
A pounding was given to sweat glistened flesh,
Punched, smashed, pushed against the rope.

Eight rounds one slogged, one punched,
Breath deserted his lungs, muscles distraught:
Until right hook unleashed and down he went,
The dope awoke and a lesson was taught.


The Rumble in the Jungle is one of my favourite sporting topics: as is Muhammad Ali – I did a presentation about him for a leadership course I attended whilst in the Royal Navy and learnt a lot about him: it will be a sad day when he dies. I wrote a short piece on this blog about the Rumble in the Jungle a few weeks ago and you can see the post here.

This poem is for One Stop Poetry’s Saturday Challenge: the challenge has been set by Pete Marshall in conjunction with tonight’s Champion’s League clash between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley. Of course I will be watching and hoping Man Utd win because they are English – but as a neutral I hope Barcelona play with the skill and precision they showed against Arsenal and Man Utd with the grit, determination and skill we all know they can. A penalty shoot-out will mean Barcelona will win because no team I have ever supported has won a penalty shoot out: Luton Town being the most recent to ensure they stay out of the football league for another season. Anyway that’s enough about football – pop over to One Stop and have a go at a poem inspired by one of your favourite sporting episodes.


7 thoughts on “Ali Boom-ba-yay: SJ Murphy

  1. excellent write steve and thanks for sharing. That was an iconic moment is sporting history and the images are still as powerful today over, what, 40 years ago now?

    …..its got to be Utd for me…and boy do i hope they make a better go of it than they did in 2009. So you Luton.. I am a Southend fan for my sins..

    Sport brings out such emotion in people that it is a great inspiration for poetry…looking forward to reading more today..cheers pete

    1. Haha – I love this fight with a passion – I only realised the other day I don’t have it on DVD so will be getting that shortly. As for football – well I’m pretty neutral really, I like Luton and go to see them every now and again, that’s where we live and my brother and sons love Arsenal – I blame it on him but I was pretty miffed when Arsenal lost to Birmingham in the League Cup so I guess I’m not as neutral as I think ! Also looking forward to reading more – it’s not a topic I automatically associate with poetry but always open to suggestions and who knows maybe more to come 🙂

  2. This was a treat indeed. Very well done. It must have been some kind of fabulous to see Mohammed fight. My hubs and are going to watch the footie tonight – My mom lives in spain and I loath M.U so I’ll be rooting for Barcelona. They are more deserving.

    Shah x

  3. Thanks for the great comment Shah ! Many views on who are more deserving and I’m not about to enter into any argument here 🙂 hope you enjoy the match I just hope it will be good football !!

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