1968 Sonny Liston Fight Worn Robe from Henry Clark Bout
"The only thing my old man ever gave me was a beating." - Sonny Liston."A boxing match is like a cowboy movie. There's got to be good guys and there's got to be bad guys. And that's what people pay for - to see the bad guys get beat." - Sonny Liston.The enigmatic life of Sonny Liston was filled with sadness, brilliance and mystery. While he was never loved by the fans, he was feared by his opponents and respected by anyone in the fight game worth their salt.There is no record of his birth, so his age was always estimated. As a child, he was beaten by his father and turned to the streets and a life of crime (for which he served prison time). He took up boxing in prison and continued after he was released, winning the Golden Gloves and ultimately turning pro.Known for his intimidation, toughness, punching power, reach, and supposed mob ties, Liston became the Heavyweight Champion of the World when he crushed Floyd Patterson in 1962 but then lost to Cassius Clay in two highly controversial bouts which many observers believed were fixed.An enigma till the end, Sonny appeared on the cover of Esquire magazine (with a Santa hat), shot a movie with the Monkees, starred on an episode on Love American Style, made a commercial with Andy Warhol, adopted a boy from Sweden, and died under mysterious circumstances in a Las Vegas hotel room.The robe on offer here was worn by Liston in his 1968 bout versus Henry Clark. Before the fight, Clark derided Liston saying he was "old as the hills." After he KO'd Clark in the seventh round, the soft-spoken "old man" of few words told Howard Cosell that "When guys are fresh...they get sassy."The imposing white velvet garment has a black velvet hood, belt, and sleeve stripes with interior red silk lining. What makes this a robe to die for, though, is the "Sonny Liston" and sun rays on the verso which are all embroidered in black, gold, and orange thread. Two white silk interior labels include "Custom Tailored. Ballan's. Las Vegas, Nevada" and "Custom Tailored For Sonny Liston." While the garment exhibits some noticeable wear (including loose stitching in the interior back collar and under the left arm, as well as some light bleeding (from the lining), this exemplar is completely intact and visually magnificent.This is the first Liston robe we can recall as having ever been offered for public sale. What's more, there is actually video documentation of Liston wearing the robe during the said bout (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89qVsyq1ovs).One of the The Sweet Science's all time greats, Liston always ranks in the top ten when the topic is history's top heavyweights. His career record 50-4 with 39 by knockout is impressive, to say the least, as is the fact that he was the #8 ranked heavyweight in the world when he passed away in 1970, roughly at the age of forty.Liston's historical significance and domination in the ring, the aesthetic appeal of this garment, and the scarcity of his fight worn memorabilia combine to make this exemplar a once-in-a-lifetime offering and worthy of the most advanced collections.Comes with a Letter of Provenance from the consignor who obtained the robe from Odis Allison (former UNLV Running Rebel & Golden State Warrior) who received it from his close friend Davey Pearl (World Boxing Hall of Fame referee & UNLV booster). Pearl was also a close friend of Liston and the executor of his estate.