Muhammad Ali's 'Fight Of The Century' Gloves Are Up For Grabs

When it comes to sports memorabilia, there is no item too seemingly insignificant to garner attention from at least some superfans: old stadium seats, Wheaties boxes, Nolan Ryan's jock strap. And then, of course, there are the pieces of sports-related ephemera anyone with a heartbeat can appreciate, like this pair of Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves from his 1971 bout with Joe Frazier—Ali's first professional loss—which are going up for auction this week.

Touted as Ali's second-most significant pair of gloves ever (his first World Championship in 1964 are No. 1), these Everlasts were in the ring during one of the most star-studded events in New York sports history. The fight was watched by a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden where tickets were so scarce that even Frank Sinatra was forced to use a press pass to get in (he agreed to shoot photos for LIFE Magazine just to get close to the action).

The gloves, which are expected to fetch north of $500,000, have been in the possession of the family of Ali's renowned trainer Angelo Dundee since the night of the fight, when he personally cut them off his hands. Contributing to their value are stamps on the sweat-stained interior by the New York State Athletic Commission featuring both the date of the fight and each boxers initials, plus Dundee's signature in Sharpie, which was added later.

Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He has a couple pairs of old winter gloves he'd be willing to part with for the right price.