When Muhammad Ali upset the “invincible” George Foreman to sensationally regain the heavyweight crown in the African Jungle in October of 1974, everyone knew “The Greatest” had done something truly special. Now, over four decades later, Ali’s prize for winning, the WBC championship belt, has been sold at auction for the handsome sum of, get this – $6.18 million.
Colts owner Jim Irsay shelled out the enormous amount of money for the belt, his winning bid securing him the prize in the early morning hours. Irsay, a huge Ali fan (and who isn’t?) has bought other Ali memorabilia in the past – including the boxing shoes Ali wore in the brutal, unforgettable “Thrilla in Manila” clash with Joe Frazier, as well as the white robe Ali wore when he walked to the ring for his second fight with Sonny Liston – but this new addition to his collection is no doubt the shining highlight.
“Proud to be the steward,” Irsay wrote on Twitter after having secured the belt that Ali once wore.
Ali really did “shake up the world” with the KO win over Foreman on October 30, 1974. As has been well-documented, fans, experts, and even fellow fighters literally feared for Ali’s life going into the fight with the destructive Foreman. But eight rounds and a whole lot of “rope-a-dope” and cunning later, 32-year-old Ali sent his 25-year-old monster of a rival to the canvas, totally beaten and demoralized.
Years after his legendary career had ended, Ali frequently said the win over Foreman meant the most to him. And it means the most to we Ali fans, too. Irsay included.
According to Heritage Auctions, there is another WBC belt that belonged to Ali, but this one is safe in a private museum, never to be put up for sale at any price. As the years go by, Ali’s legend continues to grow and grow.