The Rise of Muhammad Ali: February 1964 Clay-Liston Fight

The historic fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston can be thought of as the incident that prompted the “birth” of Muhammad Ali. During the championship fight on February 1964, Ali was still recognized by his birth name, Cassius Clay. The day after his win, Clay changed his name to Cassius X before moving on to the now legendary name, Muhammad Ali. As Cassius Clay, the boxer felt shackled, claiming that he wanted to be free of his “slave name”. His win was unexpected by many because the glamorized ex-con Sonny Liston was the the defending world heavyweight champion. The 22-year old Clay, however, already had the fast-talking confidence that he became known for. When he did win the championship fight against Liston, Clay’s confidence grew bigger. The February 1964 Clay-Liston fight remained one of the most controversial fights in boxing history. Their rematch in November of the same year was even more scrutinized. Many speculated that Liston threw the fight in order to get sure money to pay his debts. The first fight was also suspected to be fixed because of how Liston quit due to what he claimed to be a shoulder injury. Sonny Liston was after all one of the strongest punchers and jabbers in boxing history; he also had at that time, the biggest fists in heavyweight boxing.

The sports celebrity poster features the February 1964 championship fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston. It clearly shows the result of the battle. The picture, however, is said to have been taken during the first round. Clay/Ali is shown to be pumped over the fight, looking down at the helpless Liston with a mixture of triumph and eagerness. The poster features an iconic moment in sports history because it pinpoints the moment when Ali has risen to boxing fame. It is recommended to all sports fans, especially to fans of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston

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