Description1970 Muhammad Ali vs. Jerry Quarry Original Painting by LeRoy Neiman--Ali's Return After Banishment! It had been three and a half years since Muhammad Ali successfully defended his WBC and WBA Heavyweight titles against Zora Folley, and while those who welcomed and those who decried the former champion's return to the ring to meet Jerry Quarry on October 26, 1970 in Atlanta were quite evenly divided, all were anxious to see what kind of fighter he'd prove to be after such a lengthy absence. It took just three rounds for The Greatest to supply the answer.
LeRoy Neiman, the greatest sports artist of all time and a man whose work graced the covers of several programs and posters issued for Ali's most memorable bouts, captures the decisive moment, a crisp right hand that opened a gaping wound over Quarry's left eye. The referee did not stop the bout, but Quarry's corner quickly realized during the break that the damage was too severe to continue. Quarry nobly defended Ali's victory to the press corps, insisting, "It was not a butt, and I don't want anybody saying that it was. It was a right hand."
While any artwork from LeRoy Neiman carries enormous collecting intrigue, those featuring his favorite subject are particularly prized. This particular specimen amplifies the appeal exponentially, capturing the first step on a long climb back to the title that was unfairly stripped from Ali due to his opposition to Vietnam War conscription. The visible area of the watercolor and pastel on paper painting measures approximately 12x19", and is signed, dated and described by the artist along the lower edge. Museum-quality framing completes the dimensions at 21x27.5". Fine condition with no caveats to report. Full LOA from Beckett Authentication Services.
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