Two of the most box-office athletes of the last century – Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan – come together to give us one of the most eye-catching sneakers we’ve seen. Thankfully, they’re not going to be facing off in a boxing ring or on the basketball court because if that were to happen, one of them would have a major problem. The shoe we’re showcasing here is the Muhammad Ali x Air Jordan 9 “Fight of the Century”; if I may say so myself, this is one of the best-looking kicks I’ve ever seen. Whoever said “there are levels to this” wasn’t joking because when you look at this AJ9, you come to the quick conclusion that there are sneakers, and then there are sneakers. This one belongs to the latter category, and it’s a beauty.
Before discussing the concept shoe’s design, let’s go back to where this all started. After all, that’s quite a dramatic name for a shoe. Big claims are being made. March 8, 1971, is one of the most explosive days in sports… ever. On this day, two fighters – having already stamped their names emphatically in the annals of boxing history – collided in a fight dubbed “The Fight of the Century” or simply “The Fight”. Sure, we all know boxing promoters love to hype these events as much as possible. That’s how they make their money. But with “The Fight”, pitting Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier against each other for the WBA, WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles, it backed up its claims to be a big deal. Some still refer to it as “arguably the single most anticipated and publicized sporting event ever.”
Stepping away from the history books, it’s time to focus on the sneaker itself. The upper of Muhammad Ali x Air Jordan 9 “Fight of the Century” is predominantly white with dynamic lines, giving it a modern and almost futuristic feel. Stunning red accents on the textured midsole are layered on this white canvas, while the mudguard, quarter and heel are in burgundy. What you get is a shoe that, interestingly, looks a bit like a boxing glove. The burgundy and red are reminiscent of the robe Muhammad Ali wore before the fight against Frazier – a robe which, as a side note, sold at auction for just over a million dollars two years ago.
Speaking of big bucks, The Greatest’s million-dollar signature features in gold on the midsole towards the heel, adding an exclusive touch. Adding to that winning feeling, the iconic Jumpman logo rests below the signature, clearly stating that this is a shoe for champions. We know champs can’t make any missteps, so to ensure a secure fit for the wearer, bright red eyelets hold the black laces in place.
The Muhammad Ali x Air Jordan 9 “Fight of the Century” is a well-crafted, well-designed nod to two of the greatest sportsmen of all time – champions in their respective domains. We’ve given tconchese men their flowers in a concept shoe called the Muhammad Ali x Air Jordan 3 “Rumble In The Jungle” and declared it a sneaker we needed. Like that one, this “Fight of the Century” creation is a concept sneaker, too. We’d like to see it come to life one day because it doesn’t get better than a meeting of The Greatest and The Black Cat.