1974 Muhammad Ali Signed Closed-Circuit TV Fight Poster - "Rumble in the Jungle"

Sold For: $300

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 2083

Item Year: 1974

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

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Closed-circuit television poster heralding the heavyweight title bout between champion George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, held in Kinshasa, Zaire on October 30, 1974, signed by Ali in black Sharpie. Ali has inscribed the poster next to his image: "To Glenn Gregg/from/Muhammad Ali/10-7-90." Both the text and signature are boldly scripted and grade "10." Glenn Gregg, a high-school football coach in Pennsylvania, was a frequent visitor to Ali's Deer Lake training camp and this poster was one of many Ali-related items he accumulated over the years.

The poster pictures a photo of both fighters going jaw to jaw in the center, while the text at the top reads in part: "Heavyweight Championship of the World/A Closed Circuit TV Production of Joe Hand Promotions, Inc." As noted along the base, this poster promotes the screening at the Allentown Agricultural Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on September 24, 1974. (This fight was originally scheduled for September 24th; however, an injury to Foreman resulted in a one-month postponement. There is adhesive residue covering the date on this poster, which indicates that when the fight was postponed the promoters simply adhered a paper strip bearing the new date atop the original date. Obviously, that was a much more economical alternative than issuing new posters.)

The famed "Rumble in the Jungle" was one of the defining moments of Ali's illustrious career. Matched against Foreman, who was coming off a dominating victory over Joe Frazier (one of Foreman's blows actually lifted Frazier off the canvas), Ali was given little chance by many pundits of regaining the heavyweight title. Undaunted by critics and buoyed by the support of the local fans, who constantly chanted "Ali Bomaye!" ("Ali kill him"), Ali shocked the world by registering an eighth-round knockdown of Foreman. His victory came in large part from his use of the famous "Rope-a-Dope," a strategy of letting Foreman tire himself out by pounding on him while he remained covered up on the ropes.

The poster (13.75 x 20 inches), which is printed on cardboard stock, displays tack holes in each corner, moderate edge and corner tears (some of which have been repaired on the reverse with clear tape), light water staining, and surface paper loss along the top-front border and reverse. In Good condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+.

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