Muhammad Ali’s fight-worn gloves from Ali-Frazier I – “The Fight of the Century” – is up for bids in the Goldin Auctions 2016 Premium Live Auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City on Aug. 4. The event will feature 100 lots of memorabilia, each valued at $10,000 or above. Additionally, a corresponding catalog auction will run from mid-July through August 13 online at www.GoldinAuctions.com.
The March 8, 1971, fight saw Muhammad Ali and then-Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier battle it out at Madison Square Garden. Representing much more than boxing’s hierarchy, Ali and Frazier had come to represent different poles in society, politics and perceived morality. At the time of the fight, the two renowned combatants both had legitimate claims to the Heavyweight title that was owned by Frazier, who was the “Undisputed Champion” by virtue of having defeated the most prominent active contenders. Ali had actually never lost his title, which he earned by famously defeating Sonny Liston in 1964: the title was taken away from him as punishment for refusing to be drafted into the military in 1967.
The Everlast boxing gloves, being offered in Lot #41, were worn by Ali during Ali-Frazier I. They exhibit visible and palpable, solid wear brought about during the epic confrontation in which they were used. Their perspiration-stained, interior linings carry bold notations reading, “MA 1, AD, Ali-(Joe) Frazier 3-8-71 MSG.” Approval stampings placed by the New York State Athletic Commission are accompanied by additional notations (date and initials) penned by that agency’s inspector. The black marker signature of Ali’s long-time corner-man Angelo Dundee also appears inside each glove. The gloves remained in the possession of Dundee after the fight, and they are accompanied with an authentication letter. It reads, “To whom it may concern: The Ali-Frazier gloves have been in my family’s possession from the time I cut them off Ali’s hands. My wife and son brought them home from New York the day after the fight. I labeled the gloves inside the laces. [signed] Angelo Dundee.”
Additionally, a full LOA from PSA/DNA (Dundee letter), a full LOA from JSA (Dundee letter), and an LOA from Craig Hamilton/JO Sports (addressing Perenchio will be provided.
The gloves are currently on exhibit at the O2 in London, England, at a showcase of important Ali memorabilia being staged entitled “I Am the Greatest: Muhammad Ali” and is scheduled to remain open until Aug. 31 to afford the most meaningful opportunity for his artifacts to be seen.
To own such an important piece of boxing and American history places the collector and his/her collection in another stratosphere. Here are the most recent examples of the rare air Ali/Clay fight used gloves have sold on the open market, all prior to his recent untimely passing which has elevated his fight used memorabilia to an even higher level. Ali’s fight worn gloves from his 1965 Fight vs. Floyd Patterson sold for $1.1 million while his gloves from his second fight with Sonny Liston in 1965 fetched $965,000. These same gloves sold in 2014 for $388,375.
“This fight meant so much more than any ordinary boxing match,” said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions. “Not only did the fight help shape Ali’s legacy, he forged a path for himself to be an even more powerful voice in the community. Those who watched the series of Ali-Frazier matches will never forget it.”