Ali, Muhammad (1942 – )
A superb vintage-signed and inscribed 8″ X 10″ full-length colourised portrait by Muhammad Ali, signing as Cassius Clay. The boxer is shown in a boxing stance, and has signed to a clear area in bold ballpoint pen, inscribing to the gangster Albert ‘Italian Al’ Dimes, a London criminal who was involved with bookmaking and loansharking in the 1940s and 1950s, whose presence in Soho prevented the Kray Twins from moving into the area for several years. Clay writes, “To Al Dimes, from Cassius Clay, Next Champ, Liston in 6, Good luck, 1963”. A fabulous prediction here by Clay, who, in his world championship fight with Liston the following year, tried hard to close in the sixth round as he’d apparently hoped to do. Instead, though, the fight was declared in Clay’s favour at the start of the seventh, when Liston shocked the boxing world by failing to answer the bell, citing a shoulder injury. A two-inch tear towards the top right corner of the photograph has been professionally and neatly repaired, and is barely noticeable. A tiny crease to one corner and slight adhesion marks to the left border. Neatly laid down to card and in otherwise very fine condition. Simply the best example we have encountered.