Larry Holmes Boxing Archive a Knockout Addition to Grey Flannel’s June 5 Summer Games Auction Highlights: Holmes’ signed Heavyweight World Championship Belts + Tyson, Ali, other legendary boxers’ ring-worn memorabilia
his 1981 Ring Magazine Heavyweight World Championship belt, which is engraved to denote his earlier (1978) defeat of Ken Norton; and Lot 612, Holmes’ 1982 WBC Heavyweight World Championship belt signed by Holmes and WBC President Jose Sulaiman. Each of the belts carries a $2,500 reserve.
“To own a championship belt from one of the greatest fighters in the history of the ring is a very rare offering to say the least,” said Grey Flannel Auctions President Richard E. Russek. “And for boxing fans to be able to bid on their pick of three Larry Holmes championship belts in the same auction is unheard of.”
Lot 605, a historical grouping of items documenting Holmes’ last professional fight – the autographed gloves, personalized robe and trunks he wore in a July 27, 2002 match against Eric “Butterbean” Esch – has a $2,500 reserve.
Holmes was no stranger to awards, and many are included in the June 5 auction. For example, Lot 579, his engraved 1978 World Boxing Council Boxer of the Year Award, which depicts a triumphant boxer standing over an opponent who is down for the count, is entered in the auction with a $500 reserve. Lot 583, his 1983 Victor Award presented by the National Academy of Sports Editors and Broadcasters, similarly has a $500 reserve.
The lineup of heavyweight boxing mementos continues with Lot 556, which is undoubtedly the most unusual item in the sale: a 16-inch-square handkerchief that came from the African-style robe Muhammad Ali wore prior to his Oct. 30, 1974 title fight against George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. This event is famously known as the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Framed and matted to measure 27 by 27 inches, the handkerchief is actually an elaborate astrological chart based on Ali’s date and place of birth. The chart was hand-drawn onto the cloth in black ink by British psychic and astrologer Frederic Davies and then sewn into a secret panel in the hem of the robe by designer Michael Fish. The handkerchief’s existence was known only to Ali and Fish. At the top of the handkerchief, Davies had written his prediction that Ali would prevail over the then-undefeated Foreman. Indeed, Ali fulfilled the prophecy with an eighth-round knockout. A phenomenal “witness” to the fight that some have called “the greatest sporting event of the 20th century,” the astrological chart requires a minimum bid of $10,000.
The ferocious “Iron” Mike Tyson’s 1986-1990 autographed WBC World Championship belt with a handsome center medallion featuring the flags of dozens of nations is presented in a shadowbox and accompanied by a LOA from JSA validating the signature. Entered as Lot 568, it has a $2,500 reserve.
Other important gloves include Lot 557, a pair whose left glove was signed on Dec. 19, 1963 by both Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) and one of his greatest influences in boxing, Joe Louis. With a JSA LOA, the lot requires a bid of $5,000. Lot 571, the gloves worn by Roy Jones, Jr. in