Muhammad Ali’s WBC world heavyweight championship belt won in his 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ victory over George Foreman has been auctioned off for $6.18 million.
It was the American businessman Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL (American Football League) who made this acquisition, saying he was “proud to be the guardian” of this historic World Boxing Council belt.
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
Irsay hinted that the object could be presented at an exhibition of his collection in August in Chicago as well as in September in Indianapolis.
The businessman is used to spectacular purchases. He notably owns guitars belonging to Elvis Presley, John Lennon or Prince, as well as the original manuscript of the Alcoholics Anonymous guide written by Bill Wilson in 1939.
The sale price for the belt, set early Sunday by Heritage Auctions, reported by Sports Collectors Daily, has been called one of the highest prices ever paid for a sports collectible.
Note that Mohamed Ali had beaten Foreman, hitherto undefeated, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), by knockout in the eighth round, to recover the world heavyweight crown.
Died in 2016 at the age of 74, he retained the WBC crown until his loss to Leon Spinks in 1978.