Muhammad Ali's Gloves Worn vs. Sonny Liston Sell for $837K

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

Muhammad Ali, or Cassius Clay at the time, strikes a familiar pose as he shouts
Associated Press

The gloves Muhammad Ali used to beat Sonny Liston on Feb. 25, 1964, were auctioned off on Saturday night.

ESPN's Dan Rafael reported the gloves fetched a cool $836,500. The buyer chose to remain anonymous:

The Heritage Auction took place almost 50 years to the day after Ali - then known as Cassius Clay - shook up the world by stopping Sonny Liston, who quit on his stool after the sixth round in Miami Beach, Fla. in 1964.

The final price included a 19.5 percent buyer's premium.

"These are the very gloves that Ali wore when he claimed his first heavyweight championship 50 years ago and, given the attention these received from media and fans all over the world, and the spectacular price they achieved, it's clear that Ali is just as loved and respected today as he's ever been," said Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles at Heritage Auctions.

Sports Collector posted an image of the gloves on Twitter:

Given the magnitude of that fight and how much of an icon Ali has become, it's no surprise the gloves brought in such a large fee. The first Liston fight marked the real beginning of the then-22-year-old's meteoric rise.

Ali did win a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, but it was that night in Miami that put him on the map and ignited the legend of Muhammad Ali.

Associated Press

For those wondering why Ali would choose to part with such a pivotal piece of his career, the gloves actually belonged to the estate of Angelo Dundee, Ali's legendary trainer, who died in 2012. Dundee's son, Jim, put the gloves and other pieces of boxing memorabilia up for auction that same year in order to help pay for the family's medical bills. Jim Dundee put a portion of the auction fee into the Muhammad Ali Foundation.

Ali's famous gloves weren't the only big-money items to be offloaded by Heritage Auctions, as a World Series pocket watch belonging to Babe Ruth went for $717,000, while a game-used bat from "Shoeless" Joe Jackson sold for $956,000.

So let this be a lesson. You can own a piece of sports history, but it's going to come at a pretty steep price.