Muhammad Ali first burst onto the boxing scene 50 years ago when he defeated Sonny Liston after six rounds on Feb 25, 1964. The gloves that Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, used to defeat Liston recently sold at an auction for $836,500. The gloves represent a valued piece of sports history, as Ali would go on to become one of the biggest names in boxing. The gloves arrived at the auction by way of Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee's estate with plans to divide the proceeds of the sale between the family's medical bills and the Muhammad Ali Foundation.
The beginning of an era
Despite going into the fight with an Olympic gold medal and a professional record of 19-0, Cassius Clay was not favored to beat Sonny Liston in the Miami Beach heavyweight title fight. The 22-year-old Clay was a bit of a controversial figure in boxing at the time due to his penchant for self-aggrandizing. However, despite being counted out by the media, Clay beat Liston with a seventh round technical knockout after Liston was unable to return to the ring. After the fight, Clay shouted one of his most famous quotes, "I am the greatest." That night, New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte reported the mixed reaction to Clay's victory, citing a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd. The new heavyweight champion would soon change his name to Muhammad Ali and enjoy one of the most prolific careers boxing has ever seen.
The gloves' provenance
The gloves that Ali wore on that night were in the possession of Ali's Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee. After Dundee's death in 2012, his son Jim put the gloves up for auction in order to cover the family's medical bills. He also has pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Muhammad Ali Foundation, an organization that runs the Muhammad Ali Center, which seeks to preserve the legacy of the inspirational fighter.
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