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Regular price $265.00

Zora "Bell" Folley (May 27, 1931 – July 7, 1972) was a mid-20th century American heavyweight boxer, known for his defensive game and punching ability.

Early life
Born in Dallas, Texas on 27 May 1931, Folley moved with his family to Chandler, Arizona in 1942, where he grew up playing baseball. Upon joining the U.S. Army in 1948, he began boxing and won the 6th Army Championship within a year, going on to win the All-Army and All-Service titles. He saw active service during the Korean War, earning five battle stars, and was discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Sergeant in 1953.

Boxing career
In the mid-1950s Foley signed a professional boxing contract, winning his first pro-fight against Jimmy Ingram, then after a draw, won seventeen straight victories until losing to Johnny Summerlin in six rounds with a suspected broken jaw after being knocked down three times. Despite being considered a top contender, Folley never faced heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. This was partly due to his highly controversial points loss to Henry Cooper in England, in September 1958 (which was later avenged in December 1961 by a two-round knockout).

Major Bouts
Folley beat contenders Eddie Machen, George Chuvalo, Bob Cleroux (twice), Oscar Bonavena (the first match was one sided with Bonavena being decked but Bonavena won the rematch three years later) and Doug Jones. He also had draws with Karl Mildenberger and Eddie Machen (their first fight). Between 1960 and 1962 Folley was knocked out by Sonny Liston, Alejandro Lavorante, and Doug Jones (in the rematch).

Title Shot
It was not until March 22, 1967, aged 34, that he faced the world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Before their fight, Ali joked that Folley was such a nice man that it posed a real problem because he could not possibly get mad at him. Folley was one of the first to call the champion by his Muslim name instead of Cassius Clay. Ali stated he respected Folley and was nervous before the match. Folley was the last man to face Ali before Ali's three-year exile from boxing in 1967. Folley was knocked out in the 7th round. Folley fought for three more years afterward before being knocked out by Mac Foster in 1970.

In mysterious circumstances, Folley suffered severe head injuries in a motel swimming pool while visiting a friend in Tucson, Arizona on July 8, 1972, and died at the age of 41 in a local hospital shortly afterwards. The death was officially ruled to be accidental, but conspiracy theories regarding it persist. Folley's body was buried in the City of Mesa Cemetery, Mesa, Arizona.

Personal life
Folley served as a member of the Chandler City Council, and raised a family of nine children with his wife Joella (1933-2001).
Offered here is an original ink signed index card by Zora Folley. Authenticated by PSA/DNA.
FULL DESCRIPTION: This is a white, blank 3" x 5" index card. Boldly signed in ink, "Best Wishes Zora Folley." Not creased or torn. One smudge at center which runs into the reverse. Minor corner wear. Cert label from Authentic Memorabilia Company on the reverse. Rare autograph. Encapsulated and authenticated by PSA/DNA with their cert # 84339308.

Size: 3" x 5"

Condition: Very Good