THE MOST FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPH OF MUHAMMAD ALI, TOWERING TRIUMPHANTLY OVER SONNY LISTON (20 BY 24 INCHES), ONE OF ONLY 350 SIGNED BY BOTH ALI AND PHOTOGRAPHER NEIL LEIFER
(ALI, Muhammad) LEIFER, Neil. Large original color photograph signed. No place, photograph printed on November 8, 1993. Poster-sized photographic print, image measures 20 inches by 20 inches, entire print measures 20 by 24 inches (signed by Ali beneath the image). Matted and framed, entire piece measures 29 by 30 inches.
Extraordinary poster-size color photograph of Muhammad Ali towering over a knocked-out Sonny Liston during their May 25, 1965, championship match—generally considered one of the greatest sports photographs of all time—number 61 of only 350 copies signed by Ali and the 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. 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). With certificates of authenticity documenting the original edition and the date (October 14, 1996) on which Ali signed the piece.