The unforgettable first fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston is 50-years old on Tuesday and yesterday, the gloves the then Cassius Clay wore when he shook up the world sold at auction for just under $900,00. An anonymous bidder now owns this piece of fistic history and the bounty he or she paid goes to show how big and important and just plain special Ali was, is and always will be.
Back a half century ago, nobody thought the brash, somewhat annoying loudmouth would really amount to too much; certainly nobody from the fight fraternity thought Clay stood any chance against the fearsome “unbeatable” Liston. Even today, with Ali’s legend secure, there are many people who refuse to accept Clay’s 7th round retirement victory as legit. Liston took a dive they claimed then and they claim today; and as for the massive controversy the second fight and its “Phantom Punch” caused – forget it!
Many other people, however, recognise how Ali’s sheer speed, class and brilliant boxing brain, not to forget his sheer nerve and bravery, simply proved too much for a flummoxed Liston.
Whichever way you look at it, a boxing immortal was born 50 years ago this coming Tuesday, one who lit up the sport of boxing in an immeasurable way.
And now some fortunate collector owns the gloves Clay himself demanded be removed during the epic fight so he could prove to the world the burning sensation in his eyes was the result of, as he put it, “dirty work. ”
Thank goodness the also legendary Angelo Dundee was on hand to guide his special fighter the right way.
How much do you think the gloves of Ali (or Clay, as there would have been no Muhammad Ali if he had quit against Sonny) would be worth if the young pretender had had some other corner-man working with him on February 25th 1964!?!