By Barry Janoff
March 10, 2016: Thanks in part to the late, great Elvis Presley — or, more accurately, the company that handles estate of the late, great King of Rock 'n' Roll — iconic athlete Muhammad Ali is being honored with an exhibition in London, appropriately titled "I Am The Greatest," featuring more than 100 artifacts covering his life and career.
The "I Am the Greatest: Muhammad Ali" exhibit is running now through Aug. 31, 2016, in The O2, which recently staged an exhibition of memorabilia covering the life of Elvis Presley.
A follow-up auction in the U.S. to include rare items from Ali's personal collection is being planned for this year.
Graceland Auctions, the exclusive auction house and authenticator for both Muhammad Ali and the estate of Elvis Presley, said it would oversee the official Muhammad Ali Enterprises Auction, in conjunction with Authentic Brands Group, NY.
The Ali auction will take place this fall in the U.S., with a date, location and official online site to be determined.
ABG, which owns the likeness rights to Ali and Presley, as well as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson, this past December signed deal to "own and manage the intellectual property" of Shaquille O'Neal worldwide.
Presley and Ali met several times prior to Elvis' death in 1977. Some Presley-related items, such as Elvis' personal pair of gold boxing gloves signed by Ali under his previous name Cassius Clay, are included in the exhibition.
The show in London "tells the Ali story from his humble beginnings to his historic fights, including his name change and refusal to serve in Vietnam," according to the organizers.
Artifacts include a medal and other items from the 1960 Rome Olympics where he won a gold medal; the famous ripped glove from his fight with Henry Cooper; a door frame from his Louisville, Kentucky, childhood home; his "Two Time World Champion" ring from 1974; Ali's Three Times World Champion’ ring from 1978; 1980 Muhammad Ali worn headgear inscribed to Sylvester Stallone; a pair of boxing shorts and a pair of boxing gloves, signed in 2007 as "Cassius Clay;" and rare footage and photographs.
Organizers said that they expect most visitors to spend "up to 90 minutes" in the exhibit, including a 15-minute video performance in the auditorium at the end of the tour, specially created for the exhibition by the team at The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
Along with the exhibition in London is a retail space in The O2 as well as an online store with exclusive Muhammad Ali at The O2 products as well as an extensive range of general Muhammad Ali items.
Graceland Holdings is the majority owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Memphis, which handles Graceland Auctions.
ABG also oversees such brands as Hart Schaffner Marx, Bobby Jones, Spyder, Prince, Ektelon, Viking and TapouT.
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