SCP Auctions November 19th, 2011 Auction


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/20/2011
It has been over 40 years since Muhammad Ali met Joe Frazier in the first of a trilogy of battles that may be the best series of contests between two combatants in the history of boxing. The fight was billed as the "Fight of the Century" and, in retrospect, it probably was. Frazier had gained the title while Ali was in limbo during the appeals of his draft case and suspension. The site was Madison Square Garden, a venerable arena that will never host a bigger event. The glitterati, the famous, the wanna-be nouveau-sports aficionados, every writer who could patch together any semblance of credentials, and even a few real boxing fans crammed into the Garden for what would be one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Years later, like the Wilt Chamberlain 100-point game, exponential scores of thousands would claim to have been there in order to savor the envy of all that would listen. It may have been Ali's best fight, despite the fact that he lost for the first time in his career. He out-punched Frazier 3-1. But his braggadocio, and taunting style, coupled with the 14th-round knockdown by Frazier, resulted in a decision for Smokin' Joe. Ironically, the loss, while proving the brash young heavyweight to be mortal, actually increased Ali's popularity and made him the crowd's favorite for the rest of his career. Those who were at the Garden that night and the millions who witnessed the battle on closed-circuit saw Ali enter the ring wearing blood-red velvet trunks. The unusual trunk color for Ali makes this offering all the more special and significant. We are offering the actual trunks worn by Ali in this most historic of his fights. Deep maroon/red crushed velvet, trimmed in pure white satin. The trunks were originally purchased from the estate of Drew Bundini Brown by the consignor. Brown was a long-time assistant of Ali's and was present for this historic fight. They have also been examined by noted boxing collector Craig Hamilton and compared to detailed photographs of the fight. The size, color, length, labels, stitching trim, and waistband are a perfect match and leave no doubt that these are the actual trunks worn by Ali in that fight. They also exhibit minor soiling and stains indicative of use. The trunks were later signed by Ali - three times on one of the side trim stripes. One of the signatures was inscribed by Ali, "First Frazier Fight, Muhammad Ali" in a felt tip pen that smeared along the satin. There were perhaps three fights in the Twentieth Century that were far bigger than life in their overall significance. The Johnson/Jeffries fight in 1910 with its theme of "The Great White Hope"; the second Louis/Schmeling bout that became a symbol of America vs. Hitler; and this classic that featured Joe Frazier as the "white hope" against a controversial figure who unexpectedly became beloved as a result of his equally controversial defeat. Ali would later say of Frazier, "Of all the men I fought in boxing, Sonny Liston was the scariest; George Foreman was the most powerful; Floyd Patterson was the most skilled as a boxer. But the roughest and toughest was Joe Frazier." These trunks are the most important item of boxing memorabilia ever to be offered at auction. Their significance will increase as the fight and Ali are continually measured against the background of history. Includes LOAs from MEARS (Photomatched and Videomatched) and noted Boxing Memorabilia expert Craig Hamilton.
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $10,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $173,102
Number Bids:19
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