Muhammad Ali’s passports for sale
Two of Muhammad Ali’s passports are up for sale.
Travel documents which previously belonged to the legendary fighter – who died on June 3 aged 74 – in the 1970s are expected to fetch around $25,000-$35,000 from fans eager to get a grip on a piece of sporting history.
One passport, which is loaded with visas for places including Lebanon, Portugal, Japan and Saudi Arabia, is up for sale on auction website eBay, while the other is a replacement document from 1972 being sold via auction house Bonhams.
The eBay passport claimed to be the "missing" one that caused the boxer to get a replacement as it is dated to 1971.
A listing for the item – which has currently received five bids with the highest at $5,400 – states: "What we believe is MUHAMMAD ALI’s missing passport!!
"On Weds. June 8th, 2016 at Bonhams auction they are attempting to sell Muhammad’s replacement passport issued in Ireland, with the caveat "he lost his passport and it had to be replaced with this passport issued in Ireland, no one knows what happened to his lost passport"
"They have a low estimate of $35,000.00. Well we know what happened to his old passport and we believe this is the mysterious lost passport.
"With Stamps leading up to 1972 fight in Ireland. Stamps from London, visas from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuala, Bahrain, and more.
"My client was a friend of the family and this passport was actually given to him by Muhammad Ali.
"Its possible that after obtaining his new temporary passport in Ireland he found the "lost" passport and having no use for it anymore gave it to my client. All evidence of acquisition and authenticity will be provided to legitimate, vetted buyers. (sic)"
While it is up for auction, the person listing the item for sale admitted they may cancel the bidding if an "acceptable price" is reached from a "potential vetted buyer."
Meanwhile, the replacement passport from Bonhams is described as a "tremendously personal item from the golden age of heavyweight boxing" and covers a 20-month period from July 1972 to March 1974, during which time Ali fought eight times.
The listing notes: "The passport is chock full of stamps relating to Ali’s other fights in this important stage of his comeback, directly preceding the Rumble in the Jungle. It covers a period during which Ali had eight professional fights, including bouts with Ken Norton (his only loss in this span) and Floyd Patterson.
"Stamps include a visit to Morocco right before his exhibition fight in Barcelona on August 1, 1972 against Gregorio Peralta, and to Indonesia to fight Rudi Lubbers in Jakarta on October 20, 1973.
"Interestingly, this passport bears a specific stamp permitting Ali to "perform" four days later at the National Stadium in Singapore.
"In addition to stamps from Philadelphia, London, Beirut and Cairo, also included are the Venezuelan stamps that evidence Ali’s attendance at the bout between George Foreman and Ken Norton on March 26, 1974 in Caracas.
"Foreman annihilated Norton and established Ali as the definite underdog in the upcoming fight in Zaire. The interview with Ali after this Caracas fight is a classic, with his bravado and tactical brilliance in perfect form."