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    The Greatest falls to Holmes, Father Time...

    1980 Muhammad Ali Fight Worn Trunks from Larry Holmes Bout. Boxing writer Richie Giachetti called the fight, "...awful...the worst sports event I ever had to cover," and spectator Sylvester Stallone likened the bout to "an autopsy on a man who is still alive." Not even Holmes himself, who revered the once-mighty Champion, had been anxious to step into the ring with his idol, and he wept when it was over, seeking out the battered Ali after the painfully one-sided affair to beg his forgiveness. Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee, who had mercifully ended the carnage with the toss of a towel after the tenth, pleaded with his most famous protege to retire, but Ali would step through the ring ropes once more, to accept another ten-round beating, from Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas, before hanging up the gloves for good.

    Though Muhammad Ali's peerless grace and elusiveness within the Heavyweight division remains his boxing legacy, his service as the sport's foremost cautionary tale is arguably his greatest contribution. It is no hyperbole to consider Ali a martyr of sorts to that greater good, and, as such, the garment we present here is as significant as any from his dazzling prime. Ali had checked into the world famous Mayo Clinic in the weeks before the Holmes bout with trembling hands and slurred speech, but was inexplicably cleared after neurological exams to endure yet another dosage of brain trauma at the hands of the reigning Champion. We can be thankful that such an error would be impossible today.

    While Ali had framed his return from retirement as a desire to add a fourth title belt to his trophy case, in truth it was that most pedestrian incentive, financial need, that tempted the thirty-eight year old through the Caesar's Palace ring ropes. He reminded the boxing world, which had given Ali little chance against his former sparring partner, that he'd been the underdog before, and that Holmes would be following in the footsteps of Liston and Foreman. "I'm dedicating this fight to all the people who've been told, 'You can't do it.'"

    But Goliath would romp over David in this October 2, 1980 contest, with Ali failing to win a single round on any of the three judges' scorecards. The next week a battered Ali would appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine along with a phrase that read as both a fond farewell and a hopeful entreaty: "The Last Hurrah."

    In that image, we see very clearly the trunks offered here, bearing the prominent label of the "MacGregor" company that would supply Ali's trunks for his final bouts after a career-long association with Everlast. Otherwise, the garment is the most familiar, and thus most desirable, of Ali fashion--white satin, black trim--the format of the Rumble, the Thrilla, the Phantom Punch. Sweat staining is clearly visible from that assault in the 100-degree Las Vegas heat, and a single letter of a faded Ali autograph appears on right leg.

    The trunks entered the collecting hobby a little over a decade ago, paired with a letter of provenance from renowned sports journalist, promoter and CBS boxing executive Mort Sharnik, who attested that famed Ali trainer Angelo Dundee had personally gifted the garment to him. Regrettably, that letter has been lost, but leading boxing memorabilia expert Craig Hamilton attests to the authenticity in his own letter of examination. LOA from Craig Hamilton. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


    More information about Muhammad Ali.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    10th Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,354

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    Sold on Sep 10, 2016 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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