IT was declared the most controversial sports event in modern history when the fight against Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston ended in just under two minutes in the first round with Ali’s infamous ‘Phantom Punch.’
Controversy swirled about a fix and connections with the Mob. Now, both gloves the fighters wore that night in 1965 are up for the highest bidder at New York’s Heritage Auctions on February 21 2015 , just months before the 50th anniversary of the fight on May 25 1965, and are expected to reach a very high price the starting bid is $500,000.
The first fight between the two heavyweights ended when Liston refused to come out in the seventh round. Outrage and disbelief followed both fights. In the re-match in Lewiston, Maine, Cassius stepped into the ring with a new name and a new religion – Muhammad Ali – and, with that single blow, set the scene to becoming the most popular boxer of all time.
The gloves have been consigned to auction by Los Angeles collector Seth Ersoff, who acquired the pair from the family of boxing commissioner for the state of Maine in 1965, who seized the gloves after the bout’s scandalous end –Ali’s “ Phantom Punch” –just under two minutes into the first round.
Also on offer is a print of the famous Neil Leifer photograph showing the gloves and a triumphant Ali.