The Iconic Fighter Scores His First Meeting with Frazier from the Videotape!1971 Muhammad Ali Handwritten & Signed "Fight of the Century" Scoresheet. It was the most anticipated fight in decades. Joe Frazier, the undefeated Heavyweight Champion. Muhammad Ali, stripped of his title for his refusal to enter the Vietnam draft, also undefeated and seeking to reclaim the belt. A minimum payday of $2.5 million for each fighter, a world record. Frank Sinatra serving as photographer for Life Magazine, just to ensure himself a ringside seat. The hottest ticket in sports.
"If Joe Frazier whips me, I'm going to get on my knees and crawl across the ring, look up and say, 'You are the greatest,'" Ali promised the press with characteristic brashness. It was a promise he did not keep.
And now we know why. Though Judge Artie Aidala scored the bout 9-6, judge Bill Recht 11-4, and referee Arthur Mercante 8-6-1, the vanquished former Champion saw the fight as a nine rounds to six affair in his own favor.
One of the most unique and appealing Ali artifacts to reach the public auction block is Muhammad Ali's personal scoresheet for the bout dubbed "The Fight of the Century," accompanied by a letter of provenance from Steve Lott, former assistant manager of Mike Tyson and employee at Big Fights, Inc. with Jimmy Jacobs and Bill Cayton, the largest library of boxing fight film in the world. As Lott explains:
"On September 7, 1971, Ali visited the offices of Greatest Fights of the Century, Inc. (later Big Fights, Inc.) in New York and was put in a room to view the film of his fight with Frazier for the first time. Ali took the Greatest Fights of the Century letterhead and scored the fight and signed the page in red ink. He had himself winning the fight 9 rounds to 6. Ali's score sheet was placed in an envelope labeled Cayton Inc. Advertising by Jimmy Jacobs, who marked it in red marker, 'Contains sheet which Ali first saw Frazier fight Sept. 7, 1971 at 7:15 P.M."
We learn that Ali saw himself pitching a shutout until the sixth round, but conceding that Frazier turned the tides late, claiming the eighth, tenth, eleventh, thirteenth and fifteenth rounds, the last of which saw Ali hit the canvas for the first time in his storied career. Ali appear to have initially awarded the fourteenth round to Frazier as well, but changed his mind with a scribble and assigning it to himself instead.
All ink, and the 8.5x11" page itself, survives flawlessly, the page still housed in the large manilla envelope described in Lott's letter of provenance. Letter of provenance from Steve Lott. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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