During his heyday Muhammad Ali was a terror in the ring, a three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who compiled a professional record of 56 wins (37 by knockout) against 5 losses. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942, Ali – the name change came in 1964 after he joined the Nation of Islam – engaged in high-profile fights against such opponents as Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Ken Norton. Cocky, controversial and always ready with a quip, Muhammad Ali – a.k.a. "The Greatest" or "The Champ" – was voted Sportsman ofthe Century in 1999 by Sports Illustrated.
Here are ten valuable Muhammad Ali boxing memorabilia artifacts that are sure to thrill boxing and sports collectibles buffs. Now entering the ring once more The Greatest – Muhammad Ali! Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee...
Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier 1971 Fight Poster
On March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali met Joe Frazier at New York City's Madison Square Garden for the world heavyweight boxing championship. Frazier prevailed in that 15-round bout, winning by unanimous decision. A 27 1/2x25 1/2 on-site poster from that fight in excellent condition sold at auction for $4,406.25.
Cassius Clay Signed Photograph
On February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight boxing crown. Prior to the fight, Clay inscribed a black-and-white photo to Alonzo Johnson, one of his sparring partners: "To Alonzo from Cassius Clay, Good Luck, Liston in 8 Round." Clay was very close in his prediction, as he scored a TKO against Liston in the 7th round of their fight in Miami Beach. This unique item bearing Ali's "slave name," as he called it, brought $5,287.50 at auction.
LeRoy Neiman 1991 Limited Edition Muhammad Ali Serigraph
In 1991 celebrated sports artist LeRoy Neiman issued a limited edition print titled "Homage to Ali," which features various scenes from the October 30, 1974, Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire – better known as the titanic "The Rumble in the Jungle." Neiman-signed serigraph #11 out of 270 sold at auction for $3,450.
Cassius Clay 1960 Rome Olympics Boxing Tickets
Then-Cassius Clay won a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics in the light heavyweight classification. Three full tickets and one ticket stub from Clay's four late August/early September 1960 bouts to claim the gold medal fetched $1,673 at auction.
Muhammad Ali/Sonny Liston 1965 Fight Program
On May 25, 1965, Muhammad Ali and Sonny Listonmet in their highly-anticipated rematch bout in Leiwston, Maine. It was hardly a contest, as Ali knocked out Liston at two minutes and twelve seconds in the first round to retain his WBC Heavyweight title. A program from that fight in excellent condition sold at auction for $1,912.
Cassius Clay 1960 Handwritten Letter
On August 1, 1960, an 18-year-old Cassius Clay penned a one-page letter to his friend Mel in which he talks about the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rome. That letter along with the accompanying hand-addressed envelope brought a whopping $11,950 at auction.
Muhammad Ali/Karl Mildenberger 1966 Fight Poster
On September 10, 1966, Muhammad Ali met Karl Mildenberger in Frankfurt, Germany, scoring a 12th round TKO to retain his WBC Heavyweight crown. A 23x23-inch on-site German language poster from that bout in near mint condition sold at auction for $1,434.
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Autographed 1971 Life Magazine
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier graced the cover of the March 19, 1971, issue of Life magazine. Providing the action cover photograph was none other than singer Frank Sinatra, who had attended the March 8, 1971, Ali/Frazier slugfest at Madison Square Garden. One example signed by both Ali and Frazier fetched $388.38 at auction.
Muhammad Ali 1970s Training Camp Heavy Bag
During the 1970s Muhammad Ali prepared for his fights at Deer Lake Training Camp in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. A contractor later hired to clean out Ali's training digs kept the well-worn, 80-pound Everlast heavy bag which "The Greatest" no doubt had pummeled many times through the years. That bag eventually came to auction, bringing a top bid of $2,629 at auction.
Muhammad Ali Signed 1964 Referee Magazine
Then-Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston appear on the cover of the November 21, 1964, edition of Referee Magazine. One surviving example later signed by Ali sold at auction for $286.80.
- Auction results courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas, and Robert Edward Auctions, LLC, Watchung, New Jersey