1974 Muhammad Ali/George Foreman Onsite Fight Poster

Sold For: $3,300

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 2078

Item Year: 1974

Category: Football/Basketball/Hockey/Boxing/Other Sports

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Rare onsite poster from the heavyweight title bout between champion George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, famously known as "The Rumble in the Jungle," held on October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire. This is one of two different posters produced for the fight. Onsite posters for fights, even those which occur in the United States, tend to be scarce in general, because of their very limited print runs and very local intended use. When a fight is in a distant foreign country such as Zaire, as was the case with "The Rumble in the Jungle," the survival of onsite posters is extremely rare. The offered piece is probably one of fewer than ten surviving onsite examples of this significant boxing poster, and originates from a gentleman who was living in Zaire at the time of the fight.

Measuring an impressive 46 x 75 inches (making its survival all the more unlikely), the poster features striking head shots of Ali, Foreman, and Mobutu Sese Seko (President of Zaire) set against the shape of Zaire. An interesting aspect of this poster is the date change displayed along the center of the piece. This fight was originally scheduled for September of that year; however, an injury to Foreman resulted in a one-month postponement. That change is reflected in the fact that the original date has been covered by a piece of green tape (matching the color of the background), with the new date "30 Octobre 1974" painted in black upon it. Obviously, that was a much more economical alternative for the promoters than issuing new posters. Because Kinshasa was a Belgian colony until 1960, the poster is printed in French, with the headline reading "Zaire 74/Ali et Foreman Font Confiance A Mobutu" (Translation: Ali and Foreman trust Mobutu). Printed along the base of the poster is "Vous Aussi Faites Comme Eux, Ayez/Confiance En Mobutu" (Translation: So do like them, have confidence in Mobutu).

The poster displays both vertical and horizontal folds (as issued), as well as tack holes along the top and bottom borders from having once been publicly displayed. A few of the tack holes are torn through, resulting in a number of small edge tears (only one extends just a little beyond the white border). A few tiny tears are also evident along the intersections of the fold lines. There are two notebook-hole reinforcements affixed along the left border (there are no notebook holes in the poster; the reason for the reinforcements is unknown). A small amount of light rippling/bubbling affects the bottom of the poster and is probably the result of exposure to moisture at some point. Aside from the minor flaws listed, the poster is in Excellent to Mint condition and remains an extraordinary surviving example of this boxing rarity. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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