Muhammad Ali's Personally-Owned WBC Heavyweight Championship Belt discovered more than 30 years ago in an abandoned California storage locker led a $1.4+ million specialty auction devoted to "The Greatest" held Sept. 10 by Heritage Auctions
in Dallas. Ali earned the belt for his victory over George Forman in the famed 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" bout. It claimed top lot honors at $358,500 among an elite offering of artifacts devoted to the boxer's history-making career.
"Ali's WBC belt is one of only two known to exist," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles. "It was believed to be lost to history until it was found along with a trove of high-end memorabilia in a famous 1988 storage locker discovery. The entire hobby has been waiting for it to come to auction ever since."
Among the sale's carefully curated selection, Ali's Fight-Worn Trunks worn the very night he defeated Forman to earn the WBC belt ended at $143,400. An Extraordinary Handwritten Letter sent to Life Magazine in 1964, addressing his conversion to Islam (the catalyst for the adoption of his new name) sold for $131,450.
The auction was also packed with other pieces of Ali fight-worn memorabilia, including a pair of 1972 Fight-Worn Gloves from his second match against Floyd Patterson that sold for $89,625 and a pair of 1964 Gloves worn as Cassius Clay against Sonny Liston sold for $77,675. An iconic Ali Fight-Worn Robe from his second bout against Leon Spinks in 1978 cleared $65,725.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
Ali's Fight-Worn Shoes from his third bout against Ken Norton in 1976 realized $50,190.
A Pair of Gloves Worn during his first fight against George Chuvalo sold for $47,800.
Fight-Worn Trunks during his third battle against Ken Norton saw interest from seven bidders, who pushed the auction price to $43,020.
Ali's Fight Worn Shoes from his 1975 Chuck Wepner Bout sold for $35,850.
And Ali's Fight-Worn Trunks from a 1980 Larry Holmes Bout brought $31,070.