Muhammed Ali’s famous heavyweight title belt from his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle bout has been auctioned for $6.18 million, The Associated Press reports. The title belt was sold on Sunday for 13 times its estimated value of £400,000 ($482,000).
NFL team owner Jim Irsay emerged the winner of the heated competition for the belt team, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions confirmed. According to Irsay, he acquired the belt for his collection of rock music, American history and pop culture memorabilia that is touring the country at the moment.
“After several hours of watching two bidders go back and forth over this belt, this proved to be a battle worthy of the Rumble itself,” Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports auctions, said in a statement.
The famous Rumble in the Jungle bout was fought in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), in front of 60,000 people between Ali and George Foreman.
Ali stopped the fearsome Foreman to recapture the heavyweight title in DR Congo, after knocking out Foreman in the eighth round.
Born in January 1942, Ali began training at the age of 12 and proceeded to win the World Heavyweight Championship at the age of 22. Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam.
Throughout his boxing career, Ali won a total of 56 fights and lost only 5. An interesting thing to note is that of the total 56 wins, 37 of them were knock-outs.
However, in 1967, the legendary boxer found himself on the wrong side of the law after he refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military, which was involved in the Vietnam War. He was then arrested and found guilty of draft evasion.
After the ruling, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and did not participate in any boxing competition for close to four years. His conviction was later overturned in 1971 by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ali vehemently opposed the Vietnam War, which did not go down well with the government of the day. Up to now, Ali is the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion.
Prior to his demise, Ali declared himself the “world’s greatest”, while undergoing treatment at HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he was admitted with a respiratory problem. The boxer was laid to rest in Louisville, Kentucky, his hometown.