Muhammad Ali gloves top $600,000
A pair of Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves fetched more than $600,000 in Goldin Auctions' latest online sports memorabilia sale.
Ali wore the gloves during his famous 'Fight of the Century' bout against the then-heavyweight champion Joe Frazier in 1971.
The fight gave Ali his first opportunity to reclaim his heavyweight title, after he was unceremoniously stripped of the belt in 1966 for refusing the Vietnam War military draft.
After three years in the wilderness, during which time he had become a vocal civil rights activist and a cultural icon, Ali got his first shot at redemption against Smokin' Joe – an uncompromising, Olympic Gold-winning boxer with a powerful left hook.
The media portrayed the fight as a battle of cultural significance, with Ali's left-wing liberal ideals facing off against the Frazier, who had (wrongly) come to represent the conservative establishment.
Ali claimed Frazier was the "white man's hope", and labelled him an 'Uncle Tom', despite the fact that Frazier had lent him money and offered him public support during his enforced lay-off from boxing.
In the end the 'establishment' was victorious, as Frazier beat Ali in 15 rounds via a unanimous decision. It was the first of three fights which formed one of the bitterest rivalries in sports history, with Ali winning the second in 1974 and 1975.
Following the fight, Ali's gloves were cut off him by his trainer Angelo Dundee, who kept them in his own collection for 40 years.
The auction marks the third time in recent years that the gloves have been offered for sale. They first sold at SCP Auctions in December 2012 for $385,848, then again at Heritage Auctions in August 2014 for $388,375.
The result of $606,375 at Goldin Auctions marks a 57% increase in value over the past four years
The sale also included another, even more intimate item from the same fight: Joe Frazier's jockstrap. Having originally been gifted by Frazier after the fight to his corner-man David Wolf, the jock-strap 45 years on for $10,412.
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