Muhammad Ali had many memorable moments throughout his illustrious boxing career. Ali was involved in many high-profile matches along the way that further boosted his legacy that saw him fight some of the greatest boxers. That all began with his first heavyweight title fight against Sonny Liston in 1964. In light of that, Ali‘s gloves from that bout had fetched a price tag in auction more than what he earned in the match itself.
Muhammad Ali’s first title fight with Sonny Liston
Through his first four years in the ring professionally, Ali quickly became one of the rising talents in the sports.
Still holding the name Cassius Clay, he quickly moved to a 19-0 record that earned him his first heavyweight title fight in February 1964, taking on Sonny Liston, who held a 35-1 record heading into the bout.
In the time leading up to the fight, there was plenty of banter back and forth between the competitors. Liston had called then his “million dollar baby.” Meanwhile, Ali was up to his typical pre-fight jabbering that saw show up to the weigh-in wearing a denim jacket with the words “Bear Huntin” on the back referencing Liston’s nickname “Big Bear” while screaming “I’m the champ! Tell Sonny I’m here. Bring that big ugly bear on.”
That also saw him bell out the iconic trash-talking phrases “I’m young, handsome, fast, pretty, and can’t possibly be beat.” Along with stating “If you like to lose your money, be a fool and bet on Sonny.”
The fight went six rounds with Ali taking control of the match at around the third onward. For the final three rounds, it began to move in his direction as Liston wore down gradually. Before the start of the seventh round, Liston’s corner decided to end the fight that saw him spit out his mouth guard in disgust from that decision.
Ali celebrated in the middle of the ring after the fight was called, as did the now-infamous “Ali Shuffle” with his arms raised. At the time, it was a massive upset that set the stage for what turned out to be one of the greatest boxing careers.
Muhammad Ali’s gloves sold more than what he made from the fight
Ali’s first title fight against Liston was one of the legendary matches from his iconic career.
There have been many pieces of memorabilia throughout his time in the ring that have fetched huge bidding prices. That includes his gloves from the 1964 bout against Liston were sold in an auction for $836,000, which was more than what he earned himself, according to Christopher Klein of History.com.
Almost 50 years to the day after Ali captured the heavyweight championship for the first time, an anonymous buyer purchased the gloves he wore to defeat Liston in the seventh-round technical knockout for $836,000. Ali only earned $630,000 for the victory itself.
Given the historic nature of the gloves, it’s no surprise that the item sold for that much. The fact that it surpassed what Ali earned is only due to the fact fighters weren’t making anywhere near what they are receiving now for each bout.
Nonetheless, it’s quite incredible to see that the gloves he wore from that iconic moment garnered more money than he earned.
Muhammad Ali’s legacy
Ali has established a timeless legacy that goes well beyond the bounds of any boxing ring for a source of inspiration.
He was an athlete that was well before his time as he was quite talented and entertaining in the squared circle but also outspoken toward social injustice. He was more than just a legendary sports icon and a pillar for what many athletes after him have tried to embody in some shape or form.
Ali was a one-of-a-kind sports figure that has an everlasting legacy that only grows stronger as time passes along, and this another example of that.