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    "The Greatest" pays tribute to "The Italian Stallion!"

    1980 Muhammad Ali Sparring Gloves Worn in Training for Larry Holmes Bout & Inscribed to Sylvester Stallone. Though Ali's peerless grace and elusiveness within the Heavyweight division remains his boxing legacy, his service as the sport's foremost cautionary tale defined his years of retirement. It is no hyperbole to consider Ali a martyr of sorts to that greater good, and, as such, the gloves we present here are 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."

    Nine days before Larry Holmes and Father Time conspired in that sad assault upon the greatest figure in boxing, Ali gifted these gloves to Rocky Balboa's alter ego, who told a Heritage staffer when the gloves were sold originally in our 2015 "Stallone--The Auction" Entertainment auction, "These are the training gloves Ali used in his epic fight with Larry Holmes, I believe in 1980. He signed them to me and he said they were very special because his hands at that time were very sore - as he said, quote 'brittle,' end quote. So these gloves were oversized to help him withstand the impact."

    We believe that the photo attached to this lot on our website pictures Ali wearing these specially-crafted seventeen-ounce (17 oz.) gloves, but there's not enough detail to state this definitively. Each exhibits solid, sweaty wear, with the word "ALI" written at each interior wrist along with an autograph from Ali in the left and an inscription in the right reading, "To Sly, Muhammad Ali, Sept 23-80." The "Everlast" label at each wrist bears the essential text, "Made Expressly for Muhammad Ali." COA from Heritage Auctions/Sylvester Stallone. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 945

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