On October 1, 1975, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali got it on for the third and final time in the 'Thrilla in Manila'.
t was a fight of extraordinary savagery, the foundations of which were built on a simmering mutual hatred between the two men. Retrospectively, the pair admitted they had respected and admired each other – that is easy to say many years after the fact.
At the time there was zero respect and Ali mercilessly pilloried his adversary any moment he had the opportunity to.
Hatred is, in contact sport, a powerful motivating tool and was the reason their fights were so compelling.
Neither man was fighting for a silly belt – these fights were about the intense dislike each fighter had for the other. Pure gold if you are promoting it – you don’t have to do too much work.
At the end of the 14th round, Ali summoned strength from somewhere and unleashed a flurry of punches which left Frazier stunned and knocked his gum shield clean out of his mouth. There was another round to go but Frazier couldn’t see, and his trainer Eddie Futch knew his fighter was running on empty.
To a thunderous roar, Futch threw in the towel, Ali got up out of his corner, threw his hands in the air and then promptly collapsed. He had nothing left either but hatred had sustained. Frazier never forgave Futch!
It was the greatest battle of wills I have ever seen – a fantastic contest. So when would the fourth fight happen?
They both fought largely forgettable fights into the 1980s – why not just have one fight every year until they could no longer go on?
Both men died in the last decade – I am sure our Lord is a pacifist but I'd say if ringside seats were available for the 'Rumble in Paradise' he could be persuaded.
Despite the perception that nearly every Leinster v Munster game is a classic – outside of the Lansdowne Road (6-30) and Croke Park (25-6) Heineken Cup semi-finals there are not too many matches I have a clear memory of.
Despite both of those matches being games of unbelievable intensity, they were both blow-outs on the scoreboard.
How is it that in 11 years we haven’t had a match worthy of the hate that both sides have for each other? Maybe it needs to be a European knock-out game to get the juices really flowing.
Leinster and Munster are still in this year's competition and you never could tell that the end of this God-awful pandemic there would be a cup final between Leinster and Munster in front of a full house. It's free to dream!
So far it's been semi-finals for the two provinces in the PRO14 and pretty insipid stuff where Munster just didn't seem to have the gumption or a wide-angle lens on how to tactically overcome Leinster. The recent record speaks for itself.
As far as I'm aware there isn't much else on at 7.35pm this Saturday. There will be a huge television audience and the possibility that both sides will pick full-strength sides and go at each other for pretty much the first time since 2009.
How badly have they managed this fixture over the last decade? They have made an absolute horlicks of it and the sad thing is, Saturday's match could be the last of its kind – considering what's coming down the line.
The game is constantly evolving and that means the structures as well. The club game has been thrown under the bus and rugby in this country will more and more become a game played by few but watched by many.
The IRFU now have to become pathfinders for all the talent coming through the youths and school systems – identifying talent and making sure they continue to swim upstream.
There are a number of difficulties at 'A' and academy levels in terms of giving them game-time and keeping them interested.
The whole academy system is now being reviewed and it will be streamlined – significantly.
Peter Malone is no longer the director of the Munster Academy and Peter Smyth, the head of elite player development, is currently seconded to the Munster Academy. Nobody knows how long he'll be there or what the next step will be.
The plan currently being proposed is for a national academy based, say, in Athlone or even Blanchardstown. All the provincial academies would be discontinued and all the talent would be schooled in the national academy.
At the end of the season the talent would be farmed out.
If Munster need a prop or Ulster need a centre they are picked out of the national academy, irrespective of where they live or were brought up or whether they always dreamed of playing in blue, red etc.
Some of the provinces have had slim pickings from their academies in recent years – others (like Leinster) have been spectacularly successful in sustained excellence in the quality of players that they have produced.
Go through the Leinster team when it is announced on Friday and see how many in the squad are academy graduates.
This, in theory, is an efficient way of distributing talent throughout the four provinces – but it will do serious damage to Leinster who have already provided too much talent for everyone else.
Who is to guarantee that all the talent off the conveyor belt will still be as good if the sausage machine is transferred somewhere else?
Socialism doesn't work and weakening your strongest province to subvent and subsidise your poorer cousins will drag the ship down.
What is the point of scouting, recruiting and directing talent in your province only to see it sent to another province whose systems and structures are not as good.
The real crunch comes when matches like Leinster v Munster come around – what should be the biggest games of the year.
I look at Ulster and see so many Leinster players seconded up there that it must have an effect on the ethos and, to no less an extent, the fans. Why come to Ravenhill to support a whole load of Dubs who couldn’t make it in Leinster?
What is being proposed now is that about 30 or 40 kids from across the country are to be thrown together and dispatched to wherever they are told to go – no identity, no culture, no red/blue blood flowing through their veins, no connection to their adopted city other than a contract that has been signed.
And so, in a few years you could have a Leinster v Munster game where there are more Leinster players playing for Munster than Munster players. What’s the point?
Think about all the people who believe Dublin Gaelic football should be split in two for the championship – right now the next All-Ireland could be Dublin North v Dublin South. Which Dublin team do the other 31 counties hate the most then?
What about farming out the talent – send seven Dubs to Kerry, seven to Mayo and seven to Tyrone? That'll make them more competitive won't it? Watch the interest drop and the championship fall into the mire.
This match-up on Saturday should be fostered and grown – far better than it has to date. The club game is gone and now the provinces are about to be neutered by someone who thinks he is doing a fantastic job. Just look at the mess Australian rugby is in!
Oh yes, the match – Munster have the wind in their sails right now and all the pressure is on them to produce a winning performance.
Time to deliver.