SCP Auctions April 2008 Live Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
In 1971, Joe Frazier was king of the world. At 27 years old and at 26-0, he was the undisputed and undefeated heavyweight champion. However, one obstacle stood in his way to standing with other all-time immortals in the ring - Muhammad Ali. This would be the first meeting of two undefeated heavyweight champions, since Ali (31-0, 25 knockouts) had been stripped of his title because of his refusal to be inducted in the Armed Forces, losing three years in the prime of his boxing career. On March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden, Joe Frazier wore this robe when he weighed in for the "The Fight of the Century." The groovy '70's green and gold flecked floral pattern robe, featuring Frazier and his kids' names embroidered on the back matched the "JF" initialed trunks that he wore in the ring. This fight matched up symbols of America's division as the country was still recovering from the turbulent 1960s. Some revered and others despised Ali, viewing him as a brash, draft-dodging, Muslim who embodied the defiance and spirit of the anti-war movement. Frazier, a Bible reading Christian from a poor sharecropping family, was hailed as the humble blue-collar champion. Ali predicted a sixth-round knockout, but Frazier was the 6-5 betting favorite. "I'm a small piece of leather," Frazier liked to say, "but I'm well put together." Ali clearly underestimated the strength of Frazier's left hook and his intense anger towards Ali's pre-fight antics as he continually insulted Frazier and even made a visit to Frazier's training site, a scene that nearly dissolved into a street brawl. Frazier's cornerman and trainer Eddie Futch said in six decades that he had never seen a night like it before or since. The Garden, with a capacity of 20, 455, was sold out a full month before the fight and ringside tickets were going for a record $150, generating $1.3 million. There were more than 700 working press credentials issued for the fight and at least 500 more were turned down. Stars such as Streisand, Cosby, Sinatra, Diana Ross and Hefner all scored ringside seats, as did former champs Dempsey and Tunney. It was estimated that more than 300 million worldwide watched the fight on television. Frazier and Ali didn't disappoint as for 15 furious rounds they beat out the best in each other. Frazier stalked Ali with his sweeping left hook; Ali countered by flashing his jab and stiff left-right combinations. Futch had noticed Ali had a tendency to drop his right hand in before throwing it in an uppercut from a standing position. Futch instructed Frazier to wait until Ali dropped his right, then to throw a left hook at the spot where they knew Ali's face would be a second later. With 49 seconds in the 11th round, Frazier found his opening and Frazier trapped Ali in a corner, and then rocked him with a hook that had Ali stumbling. At 2:34 in the 15th, once again Frazier saw the lowered right, unloaded a left hook and dropped Ali again. The judges' decision for Frazier was unanimous: Aidala, 9-6, Recht, 11-4 and Mercante had it 8-6, with one even round. Ali and Frazier would meet two more times and their rivalry stands as one of boxing's most dramatic trilogies. Frazier's robe is in excellent overall condition, with minor wear from use. Included is an LOA from Joe Frazier attesting that this is the robe that he wore at the weigh-in for Ali-Frazier I.
10,000 USD - 15,000 USD