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    1959 Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) Pan American Boxing Trials Trophy. Leading up to the Finals of the Pan-American Games Trials, young Cassius had notched thirty-six consecutive victories, a streak that would be broken by a left-handed Marine named Amos Johnson on May 1, 1959. It would be the last fight the future Champ would ever lose as an amateur. Presented is the trophy awarded to a seventeen-year old Clay for reaching the final round of the Trials, effectively a runner-up prize for that final loss before turning pro. Ali would not falter in the ring again until a dozen years later at Madison Square Garden, when a Frazier left hook in the fifteenth round in the first edition of their trilogy resulted in a unanimous decision against him.

    And so this piece stands as a unique milepost in the career of boxing's greatest star, certainly one of the most interesting Ali pieces to reach the auction block in some time. The trophy exudes a simple charm, seeming somewhat incongruous with the brash personality of the man to whom it was issued. It stands seventeen inches (17") tall, featuring a golden boxer standing atop a handled loving cup that rests on a tiered bakelite base. The affixed engraved plaque expresses, "3rd Pan American Boxing Trials, April 30, 1959, 178 1/2 Lb. Class Finalist." Condition is fantastic, and we make note of minor restoration to the boxing figure only for the sake of full disclosure--even the most eagle-eyed among us could not spot the work otherwise.

    Like the few other Cassius Clay amateur awards known to the hobby, the presented model derives from the trophy case of the Columbia Street Gym where a Louisville police officer named Joe Martin molded a poor local boy into an Olympic and World Champion. Upon the closing of the gym, the gym's longtime maintenance man took ownership of the various awards and fight gear of the gym's top student, later releasing those seminal artifacts of a peerless career to the collecting community. While the original letter of provenance has been lost, leading boxing collectibles figure Craig Hamilton will supply a letter verifying this history. Letter of provenance from Craig Hamilton. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 386

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