Shorts worn by Muhammad Ali in one of the greatest fights of all time could be auctioned off for up to $6million.

The Everlast white trunks, with black trim, that Ali wore against Philadelphia’s Joe Frazier for the October 1, 1975, Thrilla in Manilla, have been signed by Ali, who passed away in 2016, and they are being auctioned by Sotheby’s with an estimate of reaching between $4m and $6m.

It was the third fight of the famed trilogy, with Frazier having won The Fight of the Century in New York in 1971 before Ali evened things up winning the rematch in 1974, so everything hinged on what happened in the Philippines. 

After 14 give-and-take rounds, Frazier was withdrawn by his trainer Eddie Futch before the 15th and final round of their decisive fight – at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City – could begin.

The listing on Sotheby’s includes the following passage of the start of the contest: “Then they disrobed, and Ali stood there in his trademark Everlast shorts, pure white save for the black belt line and thin black racing stripes down each leg.

“The shorts were Ali’s calling card. A symbol in satin. Because if you strip away the context, the stakes and everything else: Who wears white shorts to a fight?

The answer, of course, is someone who thinks they’re going to win, and to walk away looking pretty.”

The auction lot was made live on March 27 and will be decided by 12.30pm Eastern on Friday, April 12.

The Thrilla in Manilla was a historically gruelling fight. Ali said he and Frazier went to Manilla as champions but they returned as old men. The Greatest also said the fight was “the closest he had come to death” and they battled both each other and the 10am Filipino heat.

There is a current bid of $3.8m, but the reserve has not yet been met.