Canadian man donates boxing gloves worn by Joe Louis in famous fight to Smithsonian
The gloves, worn by Louis in his first fight with German Max Schmeling in 1936, have been in Milburn's family since then. And he wasn't going to sell them.
"The bottom line is, they're not for sale," Milburn told CBC Radio. "They could be worth two cents, they could be worth two million, who really cares?
"My aunt and uncle kept those gloves for at least 60 years. They didn't sell them," he says. "I don't believe the intent is I receive, or anyone receive, any monetary value for them. They are going where they belong."
They might have gone elsewhere.
In an interview with CBC.ca, Milburn says he phoned the International Boxing Hall of Fame three times to tell them about the gloves but "they didn't call back."
He also tried the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association, hoping they might be able to sell the gloves and use the money to help young fighters here, and they didn't call back either.
When Milburn contacted the Smithsonian they phoned right away. Once they had taken a look at them he received another call from the museum's Dr. Ellen Hughes.
"She said, 'Tell us what we can do or say to get the gloves,' " he says.
One expert on boxing memorabilia, Wally Boshyk of Toronto's Legends of the Game, estimates the gloves could bring up to $100,000 US as a base price out on the market. But if two collectors at an auction both wanted the piece, that number could go to $500,000 US.
Louis's gloves came into the family through Milburn's late uncle and aunt, Earle and Beulah Cuzzens.
Uncle Earle, who was at Yankee Stadium for the 1936 fight, was in the same business as both of Louis's managers, "known at the time as 'the numbers,' " Milburn said. "Now, the government runs the numbers [the lottery]. They call it Pick 3."
When Aunt Beulah died in 2003 at 96 years of age, she told her nephew to make sure the gloves, and some photos of Louis and her late husband, went to the right place.
comments powered by Disqus
- Now it can be told: The weakening of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the crowning achievement of GOP partisans who detested the law
- Japanese textbooks may sanitize history, but comic art books don't
- Novels About Real-Life Women Are Saving Forgotten History
- Rubio becomes the first Republican presidential candidate in 2016 to admit US must confront “painful” history of racial discrimination
- CNN documentary focuses on “Nixon’s Own 9/11"
- Historians Against the War gathering signatures for new resolution to AHA on alleged violations of academic freedom in Israel
- Academic Seeks Death Certificate for Outlaw Billy the Kid
- Murderer of historian of Czech Jewry goes on trial
- Election results are in for the American Historical Association
- Nial Ferguson warns Obama’s bet on Iran has low odds of success