Ali items ex­pected to fetch big bucks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By REUTERS

A pair of Muham­mad Ali’s fight-used gloves and a box of cigars signed by Cuban rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader Fidel Cas­tro are among some of the high­lights of an auc­tion of me­mora­bilia steeped in sport­ing his­tory.

The two items are among the top draws at the “Icons and Idols: Sports 2016” auc­tion in Los An­ge­les on Satur­day, fea­tur­ing more than 500 lots of sports me­mora­bilia, from base­ball to rac­ing

Ali’s gloves from his 1970 TKO of Os­car Bon­avena at Madi­son Square Gar­den are ex­pected to fetch up­wards of $60,000, auc­tion­eer Dar­ren Julien said on Thursday.

“They are re­ally im­por­tant gloves, be­cause a lot of his fight-worn items don’t come up for auc­tion very of­ten,” Julien said.

An­other key item be­long­ing to the late Ali is a box of cigars au­to­graphed by Cas­tro, who died last week at age 90.

Ali was given the gift when he and long­time friend Howard Bing­ham vis­ited Cuba on a hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sion in 1998.

“This has re­ally be­come an im­por­tant lot now be­cause of Cas­tro’s re­cent pass­ing,” Julien said.

The Ali items come from pho­tog­ra­pher Bing­ham, and in­clude both per­sonal and pro­fes­sional items of the late box­ing leg­end, who died in June at age 74 after a long bat­tle with Parkin­son’s syn­drome.

A mouth­guard that Ali wore dur­ing his 1974 ‘Rum­ble in the Jun­gle’ heavy­weight cham­pi­onship vic­tory over Ge­orge Fore­man is pro­jected to sell for up­wards of $5,000.

“Be­cause it’s from the historic fight and such a unique item, it will sell for a lot more,” Julien said.

Items be­long­ing to Brazil­ian soc­cer leg­end Pele will also be up for bid­ding, in­clud­ing his shirt from a 1971 soc­cer match be­tween San­tos and Chelsea, es­ti­mated to fetch up­wards of $8,000, and a re­cent pass­port, ex­pected go for around $2,000.

“Pele is still alive, for­tu­nately. He and Muham­mad Ali are the great­est ath­letes of all time,” Julien said.

“Some­times the pass­ing of a celebrity helps the value, but be­cause it’s Pele, he’s some­body that’s al­ways go­ing to be highly col­lectable.”

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