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    1974 Ali vs. Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle" On-Site Fight Program. When our consignor contacted the Heritage offices and informed us in a rather matter of fact fashion that, among his rather sizeable collection of Ali fight programs, he had an Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle issue, we must admit a healthy skepticism. Surely it's for the closed caption broadcast, we thought. There's just no way it's the one from Zaire. Well, we're not too proud to admit when we're wrong, and in this case we're thrilled to have been mistaken. We couldn't believe our eyes when we opened up the package to find black and white photographic portraits of these two boxing legends staring back at us from the cover of the "Programme Souvenir" issued at "Kinshasa-Gombe, Zaire, 30 Octobre 1974."

    Unquestionably the most coveted post-war boxing program in the hobby, the on-site Rumble in the Jungle program is also the hobby's scarcest. The story of the bout, taking on mythic proportions, is familiar to even the most casual fight fan. The great Muhammad Ali, unfairly stripped of his Heavyweight crown for failing to comply with Vietnam draft laws, looks to regain it from the frighteningly powerful Foreman, who many boxing experts believe will not only knock Ali out, but might kill him in the process. Ali was no longer the the elusive jungle cat he had once been, they believed, and no man could weather the storm of Foreman. But Ali is as smart as as ever, if not as fleet of foot, and employs a plan that will come to be known as "Rope-a-Dope." Rather than eluding the sledgehammer blows of Foreman, Ali leans back against the ropes and takes on the role of heavy bag, absorbing scores of punches on his arms and shoulders while protecting his head and midsection. The chants of "Ali, bomaye" ("Ali, kill him!") of the African crowd quiet as the fight drags on, as it appears that the ex-Champ will do nothing but receive a beating. But suddenly, in the eighth round, Ali sees his opportunity as pounces on the exhausted Foreman, landing a series of heavy blows that sends the Champ cartwheeling to the canvas. And once again, after seven long years, Ali is King.

    One of only a theoretical handful from the event ever to leave the continent of Africa, this sixteen-page French language program remains in simply spectacular condition, with only the lightest touches of wear at the corners, a minor bend at top left corner and a tiny area of paper loss that should not knock it from NRMT status. But when considering the fact that programs from the most famous and beloved boxer in history's most noteworthy bout are all but non-existent in the hobby, even a battered and torn copy would be cause for celebration. This "finest known" example, however, is an absolute godsend, sure to answer the prayers of the most serious boxing collector.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2005
    29th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,205

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