Spring Premier Auction 2013
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
The finest example printed of the most famous sports image of all time shows Muhammad Ali towering over a knocked-out Sonny Liston during their May 25, 1965, championship match. This exceptional piece is number 65 of a Limited Edition of 350 copies signed by Ali and famed photographer Neil Leifer.
Ali was a heavy underdog when he met Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship on February 25, 1964, at Miami Beach, FL, but he won the fight when Liston failed to come out for the 8th round, claiming a shoulder injury. In the very first minute of the first round of their May 25, 1965, rematch at Lewiston, ME, Ali knocked Liston out with a punch that few observers even saw, and only photographer Neil Leifer managed to capture the moment perfectly. Leifer is among the most heralded sports photographers of the modern era, his work having appeared on more than 200 Sports Illustrated, Time and People magazine covers, the most covers ever published of one photographer’s work in Time, Inc. history. He has photographed his favorite subject, Muhammad Ali, on almost 60 different occasions in addition more than 20 private photo sessions with the champ. This piece represents Leifer’s quintessential work. When Sports Illustrated published its special issue, “The Century’s Greatest Sports Photos,” this photograph was used as the cover. “This image represents the way people want to remember Ali: strength, confidence and braggadocio” (Leifer). “Sports photography is a matter of being in the right place. You’ve got to be in the right seat. A great example is the Liston-Ali picture. The photographer you see between Ali’s legs is Herbie Scharfman, the other Sports Illustrated photographer. It didn’t make a difference how good he was that night. He was obviously in the wrong seat. What the good sports photographer does is when it happens and you’re in the right place, you don’t miss” (Leifer, interviewed by Larry Berman). The visible image area measures 20” by 21”. Exquisitely framed to museum standards with overall dimensions of 33” by 34”. A similar example of this photo from the same series sold for $17,365 in our Fall, 2012 auction.
Pre-certified by PSA/DNA.