Muhammad Ali’s Trunks from ‘Thrilla in Manila’ to Sell for Millions at Auction

Bidding on the trunks will end on Friday (Photo: Sotheby's)

The trunks worn by Muhammad Ali in his epic ‘Thrilla in Manila’ victory over Joe Frazier are expected to fetch more than $6 million at a New York auction on April 12.

Ali’s iconic white shorts are on sale by auction house Sotheby’s and the bidding has already reached $3.8 million.

The polyester trunks, signed by Ali, were sold for $150,000 in 2012, but are likely to fetch 40 times that sum now.

The ‘Thrilla in Manila’, which took place on October 1, 1975 in the capital of the Philippines, is one of the greatest bouts in boxing history.

Frazier, nicknamed ‘Smokin’ Joe’, had won the first meeting between the pair four years earlier, becoming the first man to defeat Ali when he successfully defended his world heavyweight title via unanimous decision in New York.

Ali won a controversial non-title rematch in 1974, paving the way for the deciding third fight the following year, by which time he had regained the world crown by beating George Foreman in another iconic bout, the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

And the third meeting also went the way of Ali after 14 gruelling rounds when Frazier was retired by his corner team.

“It was like death. Closest thing to dyin’ that I know of,” said Ali after the bout. The scorching heat of the Philippine sun beat down upon both boxers, intensifying the already blistering atmosphere inside the arena.

Ali’s white Everlast trunks were kept by his corner man, Drew ‘Bundini’ Brown, who died in 1988 – they were part of Brown’s estate and fetched just $1,000 when auctioned after his death.

Ali, one of sport’s legendary figures, died in June 2016 at the age of 74 after living with Parkinson’s Disease for much of his post-boxing life, while Frazier passed away in 2011 at the age of 67.


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