Ali Boma Ye!

“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe- it only matters what you do.” -Robert Fulghum

Muhammed Ali is a great example of someone that believed in himself.

In the 1974 World Heavyweight Boxing Championship, Rumble in the Jungle, Ali was challenging George Foreman, the reigning World Champion. At age 32, Ali was considered a huge underdog to the seven years younger Foreman.

Foreman had been crushing all his opponents. No one thought that Ali could beat Foreman. In fact, even Ali’s own trainers and coaches thought that Ali was going to get destroyed against the seemingly unstoppable Foreman.

Before the match, Ali’s dressing room was like a morgue. When Ali noticed that everyone was down, he turned to them and said, “What is the matter with you? Why is everybody so unhappy?”

His support team was terrified. They feared that Ali was setting himself up to be maimed or killed. They knew with his pride that he could take one of the world’s worst beatings ever and he would not give up.

Ali looked to his trainer and said, “We’re gonna dance, we’re gonna dance and dance!” Then he turned to the others and said, “What are we gonna do?” And they responded, “You’re gonna dance, your gonna dance and dance!

Ali continued chanting, “We’re gonna dance tonight, aren’t we…. and Foreman…. he is gonna be bewildered!

Ali repeated this over and over until his support team was chanting with him.

The atmosphere at the beginning of the fight was as intense as any previous championship bout. Ali was known for his speed and technical skills, while Foreman’s strength was his raw power. Defying convention, Ali began by attacking Foreman with a different strategy.

He threw 12 right hand punches in the first round trying to knock Foreman down. But instead, it pushed Foreman to go crazy. He started throwing powerful punch after powerful punch. Most of them connected with Ali.

As Ali went to his corner at the end of the first round, he realized he was in the ring with a man that he could not dominate… a man who was stronger and could punch harder.

For the first time, Ali’s face showed fear. But then something happened. Something shifted in Ali’s mind. He started talking to himself, “This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It is that hour. Do you have the guts?”  

He nodded his head in response to himself and said, “You’ve gotta get it together. You ARE going to get it together. You WILL get it together.” He continued nodding to himself and turned to the crowd and chanted “ALI BOMA YE!” which means “Ali, kill him!”

With great enthusiasm the crowd started chanting back, “Ali boma ye! Ali boma ye!” With a renewed energy, Ali went back out in the ring.

Foreman later said, “I thought I’d knock him out in one or two rounds, but about the third round, I hit him, and he fell on me. I thought, ‘That’s it.’ And he started screaming, ‘That all you got, George?! Show me something!’”

The next four rounds, Foreman continued his onslaught of powerful punches, pummeling Ali against the ropes. Ali danced around taking many of the powerful punches and sliding in a few of his own.

Again, Ali taunted Foreman, “George, you’re not hitting hard

enough. I thought you hit harder. George, you are not even breaking popcorn.” As Foreman continued hammering Ali, Ali kept talking to him.

Foreman just kept slugging harder. By the end of the fifth round, Foreman had punched himself out. He was exhausted.

By the eighth round, Ali threw a combination of punches that knocked Foreman down and out! Ali had defied the odds and was World Heavyweight Champion once again.

This is one of the ultimate examples of a man who had to believe in himself. When no one else did, he still believed.     –Unknown


Just as Ali knocked out George Foreman to win what many thought was impossible, it’s important for you to believe that you can make your dream come true. You can achieve anything you want in this life if you believe.

It starts by what you are saying to yourself. Belief is planted with positive and productive self-talk. Believing in yourself is extremely important in your quest for your goals. It will help you to get through rough times and difficult situations.

It is natural to have doubts about yourself at times. However, understand that “believing” plays a vital role in your performance and advancement. What you say to yourself plays a huge factor in how much you believe. Learning how to believe in yourself is critical to creating the life you desire.


  1. Why is it so important to believe in ourselves especially when others don’t?
  2. What percentage of your self-talk do you think is positive and/or productive vs. negative and unproductive?
  3. How can you and/or your team use this message to help you?

Moving Forward:

  1. Create an “I am…” or a “we are…” statement. Ali was famous for his “I am the greatest.” Other examples could be “I am good enough.” “We are going to overcome.” Repeat this statement to yourself to start the day, to start work or a performance, and as needed throughout the day.
  2. Share this message with someone that needs to start believing in themselves.
  3. Use the following confidence calendar for daily thoughts and tips on confidence. You can sign up to receive the calendar monthly at:

“If the fire in your heart is strong enough, it will burn away any obstacles that come your way.”
-Suzy Kassem

This story along with 29 others can be found in “Challenger Deep Stories, Fables, and Lessons to Help You Rise Above Adversity”

Tami Matheny is owner of Refuse2LoseCoaching. She is a Mental Game Coach and Author. Her books include: “This is Good” at:, “The Confident Athlete: 4 Easy Steps to Build and Maintain Confidence”, “Challenger Deep,” and “The Confidence Journal”. All books can be purchased online at Amazon. For group discounts or signed copies contact

For more information on mental training contact, follow us on twitter @tamimatheny and @r2lcoaching and visit our website:

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