Muhammad Ali's iconic red robe he wore for 'Fight of the Century' set to be sold at auction

  • Tom Ward

Muhammad Ali‘s iconic red robe he wore for his ‘Fight of the Century’ with Joe Frazier in 1971 has been put up for auction.

And the classic gown is expected to be sold for a whopping £800,000 as boxing fans try their best to get hold of the famous crimson red attire.

The legendary heavyweight boxer walked to the ring wearing the loose-fitting garment for his first fight with Frazier at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Despite his defeat in the Big Apple, he still showed flashes of the brilliance he displayed during his career,

However, perhaps tellingly, he never wore that gown ever again.

And the sporting memorabilia has now been put up for auction by US businessman Troy Kinunen who has collected many items over the years.

The opening bid is exactly $100,000 but the fabric is expected to end up selling for at least £800,000.

Ali may have died in June 2016, but his legacy still clearly lives on to this day.

Muhammad Ali lost to Joe Frazier in the ‘Fight of the Century’ in 1971

Kinunen recalled how he was lucky enough to witness Ali shadow-boxing with a little boy during a guest appearance at a special event in Wisconsin many years ago.

He told Heritage Auctions’ YouTube channel: “He makes an appearance in Madison, Wisconsin, which is an hour from where I was going to school at UWM.

“So again, I take the ride down there, I think I got a couple of posters signed.

“My collection was just growing, I didn’t have a lot of things for him, I didn’t have a lot of money.

“But he was there, so I went to the line and he signed my stuff. He was nice to me but there was nothing special about that. But because he was Muhammad Ali I just kind of went to lean against the wall and just watched him with the fans and everything.

But he ended up beating him twice afterwards to win their trilogy

“He was there for a long time, I would say he was probably there for a good four hours, there was a lot of people in line.

“But as the day progressed he kind of started wiltering, he was losing his energy, and I think he even nodded off a few times.

“And as I’m watching this, I heard the door in the back – it had slammed shut. Somebody had snuck in the back door and when the door had shut it made a sound so everybody kind of looked over in that area.

“A little probably about 12, 13, 14 year old African American kid had snuck in through the back door. Well the security guard runs across the room and he kind of grabs this kid and he’s going to kick him out. When the commotion started, Muhammad Ali kind of perked up, he had seen what was going on.

“So he stood up off the table and he motioned for the little boy to come over to him. So the little boy started slowly walking towards the stage and Ali got up off the stage and he walked down the stairs and he was moving real slow and they met in the centre of the room. And he leaned down and he started asking this boy ‘Why are you here to see me today?’

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Muhammad Ali

Where was Muhammad Ali born?

“And he said, ‘I live in a foster home in Madison and one of my mentors, he’s older than me, he told me all about you and how great of a boxer you were and that you were the greatest and that’s all I’ve heard.

“‘You’ve been my idol even though I’ve never seen you fight and I just wanted to meet you today.’

“And Muhammad Ali stood up and he patted the kid on the head and he started boxing. He started shadow-boxing with him. He did the rope-a-dope, he did the Ali shuffle, he was at full energy, it was like watching him in 1964.

“Literally 15 minutes before that he was almost falling asleep and the desire for him to make that little boy feel important and feel energised it was like a bolt of lightning came and hit Ali and I watched him do the Ali shuffle live in this one scenario.

“That was the moment like the lightning bolt gave him the energy, the lightning bolt hit me, and I was fully dedicated to collecting him because I had never seen anything like that. It was so inspirational. It was so special to witness that.”

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