Spring Premium Live and Catalog Auction 2018
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Absentee portion of this auction is open for bidding.
The live portion of this session will begin Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 7:00 PM EDT.

Days after beating Sonny Liston to become the WBC Heavyweight Champion on February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay stunned the world by announcing he had joined the Black Muslims. A month later the Champ defiantly declared, "Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it and I don't want it.'” He chose to be known as “Muhammad Ali.” Many boxing fans and news outlets refused to acknowledge his new name, fueling the controversy and only reinforcing Ali’s resolve. A little more than a year later, the two boxers met at Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston, Maine for their much-anticipated second bout.

At the weighing in ceremony just hours before the fight, Ali entered the ring shrouded in a white terry cloth robe with “MUHAMMAD ALI” proudly emblazoned across the back in red letters. This was the first time the fighter appeared in the ring wearing the name that would soon be known around the world: “Muhammad Ali.” Looking at footage of the weighing ceremony, it becomes readily clear that this is the very robe Ali was wearing. The unusual dot over the “I” in “Ali” allows as solid a photo match of this historically important robe as possible. The fight ended in a first round knockout by Ali, the fighter immortalized by photographer Neil Leifer’s iconic shot of him standing over a defeated Liston. The photograph instantly became the public’s image of the undisputed world heavyweight champion, from that moment on universally acknowledged by his new name, Muhammad Ali.

Offered here is the very robe in which Ali first publicly displayed his chosen name to the world. The robe is complete with a solid provenance originating from Ali’s training camp at Chicopee, Massachusetts. During the training period leading up to the May 25, 1965 fight, Ali's sparring partner Solomon McTier befriended a local college student named John Pradella, and the two became frequent golfing partners. Immediately after the fight, Ali’s entourage returned to their hotel to collect their baggage before heading their separate ways. In the crowded confusion of press and autograph seekers, McTier found Pradella who introduced the college student to Angelo Dundee. Ali’s trainer whispered something to McTier who then disappeared onto the group’s chartered bus. He quickly emerged with Ali’s weighing in robe, which he gave to Pradella as a thank you for golfing with him. The white terry cloth robe has an Everlast label sewn inside the collar. The label has faded from age and laundering but remains intact. The robe has two external pockets and is closed with a belt of matching terry cloth that is present. The sleeves are closed with zippers, both of which are present though the one has lost its pull-tab. The back boasts “MUHAMMAD ALI” in 2 3/8” tall letters direct embroidered to the robe in bright red thread. The robe shows heavy use, with the toning from age throughout and many stains, presumably from sweat and liniments, particularly on the left side of the garment. We cannot stress the historical significance of this robe, not just for its link to one of the greatest fights in boxing history, but also for the cultural impact Ali’s religious beliefs made when he donned this robe and told the world he was now Muhammad Ali. The robe comes with a notarized letter of provenance from John Pradella and a LOA from noted boxing expert Craig Hamilton. This robe has also been photo matched by WBC Authentication, who have provided a LOA for its authenticity.

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Minimum Bid: $75,000.00
Current Bid: $85,000.00
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