Memorabilia from Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time, has sold for millions of dollars.
On July 24, one of Ali’s championship belts was sold for $6.18 million — making it the highest price fetched by a sports collectible sold at Heritage Auctions — according to CNN. And, it was not an easy feat to get one’s hands on the boxer’s belt from his 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight title fight.
The Winner Of The Historic Auction
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was the bidder to hold the victory of buying the WBC belt, which is now in his collection of rock music, American history, and pop culture memorabilia.
It is one of only two of Ali’s prized WBC belts that are known to exist. It’s reported that the other one is in a private collection.
“Proud to be the steward!” Irsay said in a tweet.
championship belt from 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ when he employed his rope-a-dope and defeated George Foreman—-just added to @IrsayCollection Just in time for the Aug. 2 show at Chicago’s Navy Pier (and Sept. 9 at Indy). Proud to be the steward!🙏 pic.twitter.com/REJOGV1Cwq
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) July 24, 2022
In addition to the belt, the businessman previously acquired Ali’s 1965 walkout robe and his shoes from the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” fight against Joe Frazier.
As the businessman’s collection is on tour across the U.S., Ali’s belt is set to be on display on Aug. 2 at Chicago’s Navy Pier and on Sept. 9 in Indianapolis.
Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions shares a statement:
“After several hours of watching two bidders go back and forth over this belt, this proved to be a battle worthy of the Rumble itself. We’re just thrilled this extraordinary piece of boxing history — of sports history, of cultural history — found such an exceptional caretaker who will now share it with the rest of the world.”
Muhammad Ali's Victorious Comeback
According to the outlet, the 1974 fight “marked Ali’s return to competitive boxing after he was stripped of his boxing license and his World Boxing Association title for refusing induction into the US Armed Forces to fight in Vietnam seven years earlier.”
Nearly 50 years ago in Kinshasa, Zaire, Ali took back his heavyweight title after knocking out George Foreman in the eighth round.