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Owner of Ali items scores financial KO as auction rakes in about $1.3 million

If Muhammad Ali had had his way, the "Rumble on Rodeo" would have been knocked out before it ever got started.

Instead, Los Angeles businessman Ronnie Paloger sold off some 3,000 Ali-related items from his private collection Sunday, generating about $1.3 million. The auction house, Christie's, took a 15 percent commission."It's great. A lot of Muhammad Ali's fans have spoken for their love for Ali and the memorabilia that's available," Paloger said.

A software entrepreneur who requested anonymity successfully bid $140,000 for the robe Ali wore in 1974 when he beat George Foreman for the heavyweight title in Zaire, the famous "Rumble in the Jungle." The robe included a recently discovered silk handkerchief stitched into its lining with an astrologer's written prediction that Ali would win.

Christie's said the amount for the white, calf-length cloth robe with African patterns and elaborate beadwork was an auction record for boxing memorabilia.

Ali, however, complained last month and again last week that only a "small number" of the items had belonged to him.

"Muhammad wants the public to know that he is not endorsing and not participating in this auction, nor has he provided any items to be auctioned," Ali, 55, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, said in an statement issued through his attorney. "He has not sought and is not receiving any personal financial benefit from the auction."

The shoes Ali wore in Zaire for his eighth-round knockout went for $52,000 to an anonymous bidder. His white satin trunks sold for $50,000 to venture capitalist Robert Chaney.