‘Fight of the Century’ poster
Original fight poster from the "Fight of the Century" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Inscribed by Frazier, GOOD LUCK, JOE FRAZIER, and dated it 3/8/71.
WHO: Jim Smith, Kirklyn
OCCUPATION: Retired contractor
WHAT: Original fight poster from the "Fight of the Century" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Inscribed by Frazier, GOOD LUCK, JOE FRAZIER, and dated it 3/8/71.
CONDITION: According to Smith, "a 9 on a scale of 10."
HOW IT WAS ACQUIRED: "My dad, Russell Smith, was an original shareholder with Cloverlay, the group of investors who backed Frazier early in his career, and he got tickets to every fight in the area. So we went to the Ali fight. Cloverlay actually had four cars to New York. They were drinking all the way up. I was standing at the bar beside John B. Kelly and Thacher Longstreth. After the fight was over, as we were leaving the Garden, I saw a poster on the wall and took it down. I rolled it up, put it under my coat and kept walking. Later, Joe signed it. When he did, he said, it would be worth 'a lot of money if you could get that Clay fellow to sign it.' Joe always called Ali his original name (Cassius Clay)."
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS WORTH? "Joe wanted to buy it. He said, 'What do you want for it?' I said, 'I really don't want to sell it, unless you've got an awful lot of money.' And he laughed. I took it to a card show once and I did have one fellow offer me $1,000 for it."
WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS: "The Ali and Frazier battles of the 1970s are still considered among the great boxing matches of all time. As such the memorabilia relating to that fight typically carries good value within the current marketplace. The poster from Mr. Smith is seen from time to time at auction and is obviously most desirable when signed by both fighters, but it is a plus that it appears to have the original ticket stubs at the bottom margin."
ESTIMATED VALUE: $500-$1,000.