Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle Belt Goes for £5.15m

*£290,000 for His 1971 Crimson-Red Robe

By Ernest Omoarelojie with Agency Reports


Remember the world famous, 1974 Rumble in the Jungle, world acclaimed super bout between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman?

If you were not born before then, you probably won’t. But for boxing buffs and officiandos, remembering the event, almost a certainty, will brings back so much nostalgic memories in the in which, besides overcoming the powerful and fear inspiring Foreman, Ali became the proud owner of the World Boxing Council, WBC, Heavyweight championship, years after being controversially stripped of the title.

Is that the news?

Certainly not. The news is that the gold-plaited belt with a green leather strap, worth a princely £400,000, is the subject of interest that is as compelling as the hype generated during the 1974 boxing blizzard.

The Sun reports that the belt will soon be part of Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay’s collection having paid for the 1974 belt as part of his collection of rock music, American history and pop culture memorabilia already on a cross-country tour.

Specifically, the Rumble in the Jungle belt will be on display at the Chicago’s Navy Pier on August 2 and in Indianapolis, a week later, on September 9.

“Proud to be the steward,” Irsay tweeted.

The Rumble in the Jungle, in which both Ali and Foreman were paid $5m each, still remains one of boxing’s most memorable encounters, one that ended with the legendary Ali whooping up the fear-inspiring Foreman via an eight-tound KO. Alongside the prize money Ali also got the belt that has now been auctioned in Dallas, Texas.

‘Here we present the foremost symbol of that glorious achievement, the WBC Heavyweight Championship belt earned for Muhammad Ali’s victory over George Foreman in the fabled ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.

“Ali drained the thunder from the Foreman storm and then unleashed lightning of his own, dropping Goliath for the count and, finally, seven years after his title had been unjustly stripped, completing his long journey back to the mountain top of the sport.

“The historical significance of the piece, arguably the most important boxing award ever made available at public auction, is quite simply immeasurable,” A Heritage Auctions official said.

Meanwhile, the iconic crimson red gown with white trim Ali wore as he walked towards the ring ahead of the 1971 Madison Square Garden, New York, square-up with Joe Frazier is also reported to have been sold in another auction. The Sun put the price of the robe in which Ali’s name was written in reverse order at £290,000. It was initially earmarked for £800,000.

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