NEW YORK — Did Ali just have lightning quick hands or did Sonny Liston take a dive? Heavily favored in the Big Bear’s fight with Muhammad Ali in 1965, the stunning first round KO in Lewiston, Me., produced one of the most unforgettable frozen moments in sports, certainly in the ring.
The gloves from both boxers are consigned by Seth Ersoff of Los Angeles and will be auctioned Feb. 21 in New York by Heritage Auctions. Ersoff acquired the gloves from the family of Maine’s boxing commissioner in 1965. The lot carries a minimum bid of $500,000.
Because of the controversy in the “Phantom Punch” fight the commissioner seized the boxing gloves worn by both fighters. The rematch was the new champ’s first fight after changing his name from Cassius Clay. It was fought before 2,434 fight fans, the smallest audience in a heavyweight championship fight.
The sale also features Liston’s glove from the first fight with clay in 1964. Ali’s fight-worn shoes in 1975 against Chuck Wepner also are featured. Among other items in the sale are:
- Benny Bengough’s championship pocket watch from the 1923 Yankees;
- Bengough’s 1927 New York Yankees World Series ring;
- Other rings come from Yankees Spud Chandler and Red Ruffing;
- A ball signed by Roger Maris on the day in 1961 that he broke Babe Ruth’s single season record with 61 homers;
- A 1905 World Series Program with the New York Giants on the cover;
- Eddie Shore’s game-worn Boston Bruins jersey from 1929-1931; and
- The last out ball from the 1905 World Series from Roger Bresnahan.