An NFL Owner Just Bought A Rare Championship Belt Won By Mohamed Ali in the legendary 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” fight for millions of dollars.
Sunday, July 24, the Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed that he purchased Ali’s historic WBC belt for $6.18 million.
“Proud to be the steward!” Irsay tweeted after his auction purchase.
Ali won the WBC heavyweight championship belt on October 30, 1974 by defeating George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), by CNN.
The heavyweight champion won the title using his dope rope tactic for the very first time. Ali leaned against the ropes to look tired, only to knock Foreman out in the eighth round with a barrage of shots.
A crowd of 60,000 watched the fight known as “Rumble in the Jungle”. The legendary fight was reportedly watched by 1 billion viewers worldwide, making it the most-watched live TV broadcast at the time.
“Rumble in the Jungle” is also seen as Ali’s return to boxing after his boxing license and World Boxing Association title were taken due to the champion’s refusal to join the United States Army during the World War I. Vietnam.
“Why should me and other niggers go 10,000 miles from our home here in America to drop bombs and bullets on other innocent Brown people who never bothered us, and I’ll say straight no, I will not go 10,000 miles to help kill innocent people,” Ali said at a press conference at the time.
The “Rumble in the Jungle” belt is one of two WBC belts owned by Ali after the fight known to exist, CNN reports. The remaining belts are kept in a private collection.
Irsay’s purchase marks the highest price for a sports collectible sold at Heritage Auctions.
“After several hours of watching two bidders back and forth on this belt, it turned out to be a battle worthy of the Rumble itself,” Chris IvyHeritage’s director of sports auctions, said in a statement.
“We are delighted that this extraordinary piece of boxing history – of sporting history, of cultural history – has found such an exceptional goalkeeper who will now share him with the rest of the world.”
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