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    1977 Muhammad Ali Fight Worn Shoes from Earnie Shavers Bout. "I knew what he was doing 99% of the time but I just couldn't catch him," Earnie Shavers would explain after the Madison Square Garden bout. "He was a heavyweight who moved like a lightweight. Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson were great fighters but Ali was extra-special. Just to go fifteen rounds with him was an honor."

    The fact of the matter is that Shavers almost accomplished much more than just that. Ali possessed one of the best chins in boxing history, but a thunderous shot in the second round almost put the Champ on the canvas, and he endured brutal punishment throughout the fight despite outpointing the challenger for the decision. Later Ali would admit that no one apart from Frazier had hurt him so badly.

    Many close to The Greatest saw the Shavers fight as a sad turning point in Ali's career, chief among them Ali himself. "Do you know how many years I've been fighting?" Ali asked veteran boxing writer Jerry Izenberg the eve of the bout. "Do you know how tired I am? Do you have any idea how hard that man is going to beat on my head tomorrow night?"

    Though Ali would emerge victorious in the end, those closest to him had seen enough. His fight doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, handed in his resignation in the post-fight dressing room. "Everything is being damaged," said Pacheco. "Your brain, your kidneys, your liver, even your bowels. I can't be part of this anymore." Lamented Garden match-maker Teddy Brenner, "I never thought I'd live to see the day when Muhammad Ali's greatest strength was his ability to take a punch."

    Here we present the shoes from feet that once could move with the blur of hummingbird wings, but now served as the sturdy foundation of a legend whose skill had subsided to will. Though Ali would pay a heavy price for repeatedly choosing valor over discretion, the closing years of Ali's second Heavyweight reign found the brave Champion redefining his own greatness with raw courage and determination.

    Acquired directly from the Champ's longtime trainer and cornerman Wali Muhammad, the size thirteen white leather "Mitre" shoes are all original, right down to the laces and show the proper wear. "ALI" can be found in markered black block lettering inside each shoe. Soles are heavily scored with a blade to increase traction.

    These shoes were sold by Heritage over a decade ago, at which time they were accompanied by a letter of provenance from Ali's assistant trainer Wali Muhammad, but that letter was lost by a subsequent owner. We can assure that these are the same shoes, and will provide a photocopy of that letter. Letter of provenance from Wali Muhammad (photocopy). LOA from Craig Hamilton. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    10th Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,742

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