Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston to win his very first heavyweight title 50 years ago. Marking the special anniversary, his gloves from that fight were auctioned off on Saturday for $836,500, according to AFP.
Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) was already an up and coming star when he fought Liston, after much taunting on his part. He won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, held in Rome, and went on to face Liston 4 years later.
Liston was nothing to laugh at himself, as he had just managed back-to-back first round knockouts of the legendary Floyd Patterson.
“Sonny Liston is nothing,” Clay said before the bout, according to CTV News. “The man can’t talk. The man can’t fight. The man needs talking lessons. The man needs boxing lessons. And since he’s going to fight me, he needs falling lessons.”
After winning the historical fight with Liston, Clay emphatically jumped around the ring and yelled, “I shook up the world!”. The next day is when he announced his famous name change and his intent to follow the Islamic faith.
Ali would go on for another whirlwind 3 years, defending his title again and again, making him the most famous boxer of all time. His showboating and antics also helped him stay in the public eye.
His career hit a bump in the road when he refused to go into the Army, a refusal which cost him all of his titles and had him banned from fighting for almost four years. However, in 1971, the Supreme Court overturned that decision and he went on to win the title 2 more times.
Also up for auction on Saturday were some other rare sports memorabilia including a pocket watch given to Babe Ruth to commemorate the 1923 World Series victory before rings became standard.
“While a few 1923 Championship pocket watches have surfaced from lesser players and front office personnel, it was widely believed that Babe Ruth’s had been lost,” said Heritage Sports Collectibles director Chris Ivy.
Image via Wikimedia Commons