- A superb vintage magazine signed by the greatest athlete of the 20th century
Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016) was a three-time heavyweight boxing World Champion, and is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures in recent U.S history.
Ali won his first title in 1963, beating Sonny Liston in one of boxing's biggest upsets, and later reclaimed the title twice, in 1974 against George Foreman in 'The Rumble in the Jungle', and in 1978 against Leon Spinks.
In addition to success in the boxing ring, Ali was also a passionate anti-war campaigner and an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement.
Although his conversion to Islam and his refusal of the Vietnam military draft caused controversy across America, his huge personality, fierce intelligence and sense of humour endeared him to millions across racial and cultural divides.
Today he is remembered simply as "The Greatest".
This issue of Life magazine, published on October 23, 1970, heralded Ali's return to the boxing ring after three years in the wilderness.
Having famously refused the Vietnam draft in 1966, Ali was stripped of both his heavyweight title and his passport, and systematically denied a boxing licence in every state across the U.S.
During this period of exile, popular opinion on the Vietnam War had started to shift, and Ali's anti-war stance saw him cast as a hero to millions of Americans on the political left.
It took three years for the appeal against his conviction to get through the courts, but in August 1970, Ali was granted a licence to box by the City of Atlanta Athletic Commission.
He approached several fighters for his comeback bout, but only one was interested: Jerry Quarry, a Californian fighter known as "The Bellflower Bomber".
His return to boxing was international news, and he appeared on the covers of both Life and Newsweek in the build-up to the fight.
On October 26, 1970, just three days after this magazine was published, Ali stepped into the ring in Atlanta, Georgia and won in three rounds, with Quarry unable to continue after receiving a cut on his eye.
It was Ali's first step towards reclaiming his title, and one of the most remarkable career comebacks in boxing history.
The magazine is signed and inscribed by Ali in black felt tip "To Butch the King from Muhammad Ali, Serve God, He is the goal".
The inscription also includes a small sketch of a heart, and is dated "6-18-90".
The magazine is in fine condition, with mild handling wear and the original mailing label affixed in the lower left corner.
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