Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston to be world heavyweight champion – archive, 26 February 1964
Miami Beach, February 25
There had been a sensational end worldwide championship here tonight when Sonny Liston retired prior to when the beginning of the seventh round of his championship fight.
Fifty years on, Cassius Clay v Sonny Liston remains a pivotal moment | Sean Ingle
The first round began with Liston about the attack. The champion was in bounding form, and Clay was expected to dance and dodge his exit of trouble. All the same he was hurt by a from Liston. Clay then took the war returning to Liston.
The second round opened with Clay around the attack; but Liston looked the better composed. Liston begun to pound Clay and the challenger was breathing heavily. Clay swayed away from one great lunge ahead of the round ended. In the third round, Clay forced a cut under Liston’s eye – and the champion was worried.
Reeling on ropes
Liston was over the defensive for a short time, then Clay was at trouble as Liston banged him regarding the body. But Liston soon had Clay reeling over the ropes. In round four Liston drove Clay into his personal corner, but Clay slid down the ropes to leave. Clay was concentrating on Liston’s cut eye.
Clay were conserving his energy; Liston certainly seemed puzzled. There’s a problem with Clay’s eyes inside the fifth round – and Liston had him while on the road. In the sensational turn of events, Clay protested which he could hardly see. Clay was now being chased around the ring; his behaviour mystified the audience.
Earlier, Clay was fined $2,500 because of the local Boxing Commission for his conduct at the weigh-in whilst kicked and screamed as his handlers held him and frustrated his mock efforts to go to Liston, at whom he yelled a non-stop stream of insults.
? Right out of the mouth of Cassius – read Alistair Cooke’s original report on the fight when Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) won the entire world title at last, 27 February 1964.