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Ali items expected to fetch big bucks

By Reuters | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-03 07:31

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."

(China Daily 12/03/2016 page11)

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