Muhammad Ali’s W.B.C Championship belt was recently bought at auction by Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, for $6.18 million.
Ali won the championship belt after knocking out George Foreman at the “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974. Ali was a 4-1 underdog going into the fight, but was able to wear Foreman down using his signature “rope-a-dope” strategy, and eventually earned a knockout in the 8th round. It was one of the most notable sporting events of the 20th century.
* Louisville history note: Hunter S. Thompson was supposed to cover the fight for Rolling Stone magazine, but decided at the last minute to stay at the hotel pool.
Ali’s belt was the highest-selling item of the auction, which featured over 1,600 pieces of Ali memorabilia amassed over three decades by Troy Kinunen of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Other notable items sold include:
- Muhammad Ali’s robe from “The Fight of the Century” vs. Joe Frazier sold for $348,000
- Muhammad Ali’s robe from a 1977 fight vs. Earnie Shavers sold for $87,000
- Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves from a 1976 fight vs. Ken Norton sold for $63,000
- Muhammad Ali and Henry Cooper’s boxing gloves from a 1966 fight sold for $55,200
- Muhammad Ali’s trunks from a 1976 fight vs. Jean-Pierre Coopman sold for $42,000
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