Ali, Muhammad (Associated Press) On February 25, 1964, Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, celebrates his victory against heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at Miami Beach, Florida. The win made him the first boxer to defeat Liston twice. It also earned him $500,000 ($4 million in today's money).
Liston had been expected to be an easy winner, but Clay came forward aggressively and used his great speed and footwork to avoid being hit by those mighty fists. In the eighth round, he landed a series of powerful punches that caused Liston to collapse to the floor! The referee immediately stopped the fight and announced a technical knockout for Clay.
This was only Clay's second match in over a year and a half and he was already becoming one of the biggest stars in sports. He had achieved fame with his fights against Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson and now people were eager to see him compete against other top fighters.
Clay refused to stay on the road because promoters didn't want to risk losing such a big draw, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and set up his own boxing cards under the Thrilla in Manila banner.
Liston, Sonny Cassius Clay, 22, dethroned world heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout on February 25, 1964. The fight was held at Miami's Fontainebleau Hotel & Casino.
Clay went into the bout as an underdog with many observers picking Liston to win in any round. In fact, some books list him as a 1/8th favorite. But Clay proved everyone wrong by knocking out his opponent within 90 seconds of the start of the 7th round! He became the first black boxer to win the heavyweight title and started a movement among black Americans called "Black Power".
After winning the championship, Clay refused to give up his religion or change his name and therefore wasn't allowed to keep his title. So he left the United States and lived in exile in Europe where he continued to work with social causes back home in Africa and the African Diaspora.
Some say that it was this act that caused him to be banned from returning to the U.S., but there are others who say it was because of his personal life (i.e., polygamy, divorce). Either way, he passed away in June 1981 at age 44 due to kidney disease.
Cassius Clay won the world title. Cassius Clay, 22, has been proclaimed world heavyweight champion after defeating Sonny Liston in one of boxing's biggest upsets. The victory also made him the first black man to win a world heavyweight championship.
Clay retained his title for nearly three years, until he was defeated by Italian boxer Luigi Marciano on October 15, 1967. After this defeat, he abandoned boxing and moved to America, where he married Suzanne Robinson, daughter of black American baseball player Jackie Robinson, in 1969. He had two children with her: a son named Shamrock and a daughter named Shiara.
Clay then started working as a mason's helper so that he could make enough money to support his family. In 1974, he joined the US Army and was given a medical discharge due to skin problems. After leaving the army, he worked as a truck driver and a factory worker before turning to professional wrestling in 1978. He became the world heavyweight champion again in 1986 at the age of 35 when he defeated Michael Dokes by technical knockout after Dokes failed a drug test.
He held the title for more than one year before losing it to George Foreman in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo).
A Brief Overview Cassius Clay, a boisterous young man nicknamed as the "Louisville Lip," won the Olympic Gold Medal for boxing in the light heavyweight class on September 5, 1960. Clay went on to become Muhammad Ali, a professional heavyweight boxing champion and one of the sport's all-time greats.
Cassius Clay, a boisterous young man nicknamed as the "Louisville Lip," won the Olympic Gold Medal for boxing in the light heavyweight class on September 5, 1960.
He had tossed his Olympic gold medal into the river, which he had earned in Rome in 1960. Clay was chosen for the USA boxing squad, but when he learned they were travelling to Italy, he refused to participate.
Sonny Liston, nicknamed "the Bear" due to his massive bulk, had held the world heavyweight title since 1962. He was gruff and nasty, and he hit quite hard. The boxing establishment viewed him as the clear-cut winner of all their fights except one: Floyd Patterson defeated him in listless fashion in an elimination match to win the title.
Liston's reign came to an end on September 25, 1962, when he lost to a young upstart from America named Cassius Marcellus Clay. He was only 24 years old but had already made a name for himself by defeating worthy opponents like Liston and former champion Joe Louis. The fight that finally ended Liston's career was called the "Fight of the Century".
Clay dominated most of the first round, landing powerful punches. Then, in the second round, something strange happened: Liston started throwing punches of his own! It was at this point that everyone involved in the bout realized that something was wrong with Bear Bryant. As Liston was being taken out on a stretcher, the referee declared Clay the winner by technical knockout.
He had done it by knocking out his opponent with a single punch. This kind of victory is known in boxing as a "silver medal victory".