Ali and Liston gloves to exceed $500,000 at Heritage?

The gloves worn by Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston in the controversial 1965 "phantom punch" bout are to cross the block at Heritage Auctions.

They will be sold as a single lot in the Sports Collectibles Platinum Night auction in New York on February 21-22, with bidding starting at $500,000.  

Liston Ali gloves
Many claim that Liston threw the fight as they did not see Ali's punch

Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, commented:"It's not out of line to place these gloves among the most important pieces of memorabilia to ever come to market.

"These transcend sports. The drama and outrage that swirled around the Ali-Liston fights were a microcosm of America's growing pains of the mid-1960s."

Collector Seth Erstoff bought the gloves from the boxing commissioner of Maine, who acquired them immediately after the fight was over.

They are accompanied by a letter of provenance that reads in part: "In 1965, my uncle... was the boxing commissioner for the State of Maine,"

"The Ali-Liston fight was very controversial because of the knockout which Liston suffered in the first round. As a result of the controversy... with the authority vested in him by the State of Maine as the State Boxing Commissioner, (he) seized the boxing gloves worn by both Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston."

The record for a piece of boxing memorabilia stands at $836,500, paid for the gloves worn by Ali during his first fight with Liston in 1964.

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