Jackie Robinson 70th anniversary auction to benefit JRF ending April 29
The great Muhammad Ali wore this robe as he entered the ring for his 1964 fight with then champion Sonny Liston. This fight was Ali’s, then known as Cassius Clay, coming out party, and the first time he claimed the World Heavyweight Championship. The fight, which took place in Miami on February 25, 1964, lasted a brutal six rounds, and was marred by allegations of cheating against Liston. However, no amount of cheating could halt the inexorable fury of the Greatest, and Liston conceded the fight at the opening of the seventh round. Ali would go on to dominate boxing over the next two decades, while Liston would pass away under mysterious circumstances a short seven years later.
This white terrycloth robe is hooded with long sleeves and was worn by Cassius Clay during that memorable fight and has been recently examined by WBC Authentication, the official authentication company for the World Boxing Council. “The Greatest” and “THE-LIP” are embroidered in red on the back of the robe and based on their findings, WBC Authentication has determined that “THE-LIP” phrase only appeared on this robe for the 1964 Liston bout. It displays uneven lines and some quirks, which indicates this was done in the freehand style and match photos from that time. “The Greatest” was added a later date, which is not uncommon for athletes to do, especially for Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in this case to add one of his famous catchphrases. The pockets on the front of the robe show the same cut angles as the wire photos from that era, while the hood, sleeves and zippers are in the correct place with respect to the photos. WBC Authentication also has a rare color photograph showing the back of the robe that matches exactly the font on “THE-LIP”. All of these factors presented by WBC Authentication conclusively determined that this presented piece is the very robe worn by Cassius Clay for the first Liston fight. The gloves from the 1964 Liston/Clay fight sold for $836,500 in 2014 and this very robe was worn with those gloves!
Ali signed the lower back of this robe in black marker and is encased in an approximately 49 x 54 inch acrylic case with a canvas back. A framed black and white 10 x 12 photograph is also in the display. This signature comes with Letters of Authenticity from PSA/DNA (V13289), JSA (Y73271) and WBC Authentication for the signature. There are LOAs from WBC Authentication and a LOA from Craig R. Hamilton for use of this robe by Cassius Clay for his fight against Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964.
This historical robe was worn during one of the most famous bouts of all-time which launched the career of Cassius Clay, who would change his name to Muhammad Ali after this fight. The letters of authenticity from WBC Authentication and Craig R. Hamilton, along with the signature authentications from PSA/DNA, JSA & WBC Authentication makes this an outstanding display piece and a more significant one than the fight worn gloves that sold at auction for $836,500. As Liston was a heavy favorite and one of the most feared boxers and champions to ever enter the squared circle, Clay’s victory propelled him onto the national scene and set the stage for the rest of the decade. Clay was already known for being brash, and continued to wage verbal warfare on the champ prior to the bout, and would continue his tradition of pre-fight trash talking throughout his career. This robe is in excellent condition and has impeccable provenance for its use by Clay during the first Liston fight and his signature only adds to the appeal of this item and is one of the finest fight worn Clay/Ali collectibles ever offered.
Please note that this item does come with the display case that was shown in the catalog and currently online. Due to the size and weight of this item, if the winning bidder chooses, to potentially save on shipping costs, the item may be removed from its case and shipped without the display case.
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