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1974 Muhammad Ali/George Foreman On-Site Fight Poster - One of Only Five Known Examples
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $3,258.75
Extremely rare on-site poster from the heavyweight title bout between champion George Frazier and Muhammad Ali, famously known as "The Rumble in the Jungle," held on October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire. This poster is new to the hobby and has been consigned by a gentleman living in Belgium. Zaire was a Belgian colony until 1960 and this poster was brought back to Belgium by a high-ranking member of the Belgium military who was stationed in Zaire at the time of the fight. Our consignor only just recently obtained it directly from the gentleman's daughter. (It had remained in the family as a keepsake for decades.) On-site posters for fights, even those which occur in the United States, tend to be rare 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 is the case with "The Rumble In The Jungle," the survival of on-site posters is extremely rare. The offered poster is one of only five known surviving on-site examples of this extraordinarily significant boxing poster. In addition to its rarity, the poster is also distinguished by its size. Measuring an impressive 37.75 x 44.5 inches (making its survival all the more unlikely), the poster features striking photos of each fighter set against the outline of Zaire. An interesting aspect of this poster is the date change displayed along the top. This fight was originally scheduled for September of that year; however, an injury to Foreman resulted in a one-month postponement. That change is recorded on this poster: the original date has been covered by a piece of yellow tape (matching the color of the background), with the new date "30 Octobre" painted in black upon it. Obviously, the promoters found that a much more economical alternative than issuing new posters. The poster is printed in French, with the headline reading "Championnat Du Monde Des Poids Lourds" (World Heavyweight Championship). Printed along the base of the poster is "Un Cadeau Du President Mobutu Au Peuple Zairois Et Un Honneur Pour L'Homme Noir" (Translation: "A Present of the President Mobutu to the People of Zaire and an Honour for the Black Man). The name of the lithographer ("Passantino Printing Co. Inc. New York") appears in the lower right. 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, printed on thin paper stock, has been slightly trimmed along the top, bottom, and right borders. A number of small edge tears are evident along all four borders, as is a small area of tape residue on the right border. Minor surface wrinkles are noticeable throughout. Despite the few condition flaws, many of which can be matted out, the poster still displays exceptionally well and is Excellent in appearance. On the internet we have provided a photograph from 1974 showing how these posters were displayed on-site in Africa. This is a museum-quality piece and one of the few surviving on-site mementos from one of the most famous heavyweight title bouts in history. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $3,258.75
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