The fight that Muhammad Ali waged against Sonny Liston on May 25, 1965, is currently one of the most remembered, as for many, it was the launching pad for the phenomenon, who became The Greatest.
When we remember this fight, the so-called Phantom Punch comes to mind. That short jarring, jolting, perfectly placed right that knocked Liston down, he rolled over, and his right leg twitched due to its counter punching pinpoint accuracy, confirming Ali as world heavyweight champion. Debate still rages about whether such a mountain of a man could have been so felled, and due to the lightning reflex, even with different videos and photographs it is difficult to appreciate its velocity. But inflicting and receiving was believing!
Even though the rematch was held in the small town of Lewinston, Maine, it was no small beer, as it marked the beginning of a heady and glorious era of heavyweights.
It was also where that brash, engaging and endearing young man from Louisville, Kentucky, named Cassius Marcelus Clay decided to announce his conversion to Islam, declaring his name to be Muhammad Ali, a King of the Ring.
From bursting into a Liston press conference to yell ‘Big ugly bear’ to assuring an impending eclipse of the Sonny, because he was assuredly going to get a real whupping, that he sorely needed classes on how to box and he was going to fall quick and mighty hard! Precocious Ali, who said it was only boasting if he couldn`t back it up…and he COULD, demanded to be called ‘the Minute Man’ arguing that after knocking out Sonny Liston in 1:49, people had taken longer to sing the National Anthem!
The legend of the “King of Boxing” was confirmed on May 25, 1965 and Ali’s legacy in boxing has definitely been an inspiration to countless millions the World over…over and over.