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Colts' Jim Irsay Buys Muhammad Ali’s Championship from George Foreman Win for $6.18M

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 24, 2022

Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has purchased the WBC heavyweight title belt Muhammad Ali won by beating George Foreman in "The Rumble in the Jungle" in 1974:

Jim Irsay @JimIrsay

BREAKING—-Muhammad Ali’s<br>championship belt from 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ when he employed his rope-a-dope and defeated George Foreman—-just added to <a href="https://twitter.com/IrsayCollection?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IrsayCollection</a> Just in time for the Aug. 2 show at Chicago’s Navy Pier (and Sept. 9 at Indy). Proud to be the steward!🙏 <a href="https://t.co/REJOGV1Cwq">pic.twitter.com/REJOGV1Cwq</a>

Per Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith, the belt hit $6.18 million at auction.

Ali first won the WBC crown by defeating Sonny Liston in February 1964. He remained the champion until getting stripped of the title because of his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.

The legendary pugilist unsuccessfully challenged Joe Frazier for the gold in March 1971 before toppling Foreman. He used his rope-a-dope strategy to perfection, as Foreman slowly wore down and suffered an eighth-round knockout.

Heritage Auctions wrote in the listing that this is one of two WBC championships from Ali that are known to exist. The other is in a private museum and "unlikely to ever see the hobby's auction block."

This isn't the first time Irsay targeted a piece of history from the most iconic boxer of all time.

In February, he spent $438,000 on the robe Ali wore for his 1965 rematch with Liston. One month later, he purchased the pair of gloves the heavyweight wore for a 1966 fight against Karl Mildenberger.

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