“I Shook Up the World!”
This was the fight that launched Ali onto the world stage. He had won Olympic Gold in 1960. Now in 1964, he was fighting for the Heavyweight Title against one of the most feared heavyweight champions in history. Even though 22 year old Cassius Clay (he had not changed his name yet) was undefeated as a professional at 19-0, this would be his biggest test.
None of Clay’s previous opponents were as skilled or as powerful as the champion, Sonny Liston. Liston had destroyed the former champion, Floyd Patterson in one round. In their rematch, Liston again knocked out Patterson in one round.
As the fight drew near, Clay was a 7-1 underdog. 43 out of 46 boxing writers predicted a Clay’s quick knockout by Liston. Clay brashly predicted that he would win by knockout saying that Liston, “is too ugly to be the Heavyweight Champ.”
The fight showed Clay’s speed and talent. He truly floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. At the end of the seventh round, a new champion was crowned and a new era in boxing had dawned.
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