The auction story really starts with the deceased estate of Angelo Dundee who had been Ali's trainer and cornerman. SCP Auctions sold for $ 385K each in November 2012 a pair of Frager gloves used against Liston in 1964 and a pair of Everlast gloves used against Frazier in 1971.
Both pairs later came back at auction. The 1964 pair was sold for $ 840K by Heritage on February 22, 2014. The 1971 pair was sold for $ 390K on July 31, 2014, also by Heritage, lot 80075.
Both had been discussed in 2014 in this column. All figures above include the premium.
Another price recently reminded must not be considered in this story. A pair of gloves worn against Patterson in their 1965 title fight was part of a much wider private deal involving moguls of boxing management for an overall $ 1.1M in February 2012.
Time changes and The Greatest has now deceased. The 1971 bout had been the first loss in his exceptional career, against Frazier who also was a much deserving champion. I guess that the flat result of the July 2014 auction was because Ali had not won and that the most dramatic of Ali's feats must now generate the highest excitement at auction whatever the sporting result.
This pair of gloves is now estimated $ 1M for sale by Goldin on August 4 in Atlantic City, lot 41. Although they were only used in that full fifteen round bout they are both highly worn including stains from perspiration.
Here is how I discussed the 'Fight of the Century' for introducing this lot in 2014.
The heavyweight boxing world championship held on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden between Ali and Frazier opposed two champions undefeated in their professional career. Moreover both had won most of their fights by knockout.
The official return of Muhammad Ali, previously stripped of his title for political reasons, passionated his supporters and his opponents. He had proclaimed that he was the greatest, and it was true. In 1964, he had humbled Liston who did not represent his ideal of the black man. With Frazier, he managed a similar escalation of provocation.
Joe Frazier is also one of the top champions of all time. On 8 March 1971, his endurance through the fifteen rounds proved far superior to Ali's and his victory was unquestionable. The fight of the century was very hard. Ali's wound at the cheek was severe and Frazier was so exhausted that he had to be hospitalized.
The remake between both champions in Manila on October 1, 1975 will have the same dramatic intensity.
SOLD for $ 606K including premium