Ali and Liston Phantom Punch gloves make $965,000 at Heritage

The gloves worn by Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston during the infamous 1965 "Phantom Punch" bout have sold for $965,000 at Heritage Auctions.

The hugely controversial fight saw Liston floored by a punch that few people in the stadium saw, resulting in accusations of match fixing.

Liston Ali gloves
Ali beat Liston for the second time in the 1965 bout

Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, explained prior to the sale: "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."

The gloves were acquired by George L Russo, Maine's boxing commissioner, in the immediate aftermath of the fight.

They were sold alongside a letter of provenance from his nephew that reads: "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 Sports Collectibles Platinum Night Auction took place in New York on February 21-22. 

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