Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston

Phantom PunchAli vs. ListonMay 25, 1965seventh round1964 Liston-Clay1965 rematcha major upsetAli versus ListonAli-Listonchampionship fight against Sonny Liston
The two fights between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston for boxing's World Heavyweight Championship were among the most anticipated, watched and controversial fights in the sport's history.wikipedia
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Miami Beach Convention Center

The Fillmore Miami BeachMiami Beach AuditoriumJackie Gleason Theater
The center was the site of the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston boxing match in 1964.

Malcolm X

assassination of Malcolm XEl-Hajj Malik El-ShabazzMalcolm Little
A compromise was reached when Malcolm X, at the time a companion of Clay's as well as a feared and incendiary spokesperson for the Nation of Islam (though Malcolm X had, by that time, been censured by the NOI—banned from speaking to the press and suspended from all official NOI roles and duties—and would soon officially break with the Nation), agreed to keep a low profile, save for the night of the fight when he would rejoin Clay's entourage as spiritual advisor and view the fight from a ringside seat.
In January 1964, Clay brought MalcolmX and his family to Miami to watch him train for his fight against Sonny Liston.

Muhammad Ali

Cassius ClayMuhammed AliAli
The two fights between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston for boxing's World Heavyweight Championship were among the most anticipated, watched and controversial fights in the sport's history.
He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset at age 22 in 1964.

Ali (film)

Ali2001 biopicAli (soundtrack)
Ali, a movie by director Michael Mann, was released in 2001.
The film focuses on ten years in the life of the boxer Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964 to 1974, featuring his capture of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, his conversion to Islam, criticism of the Vietnam War, and banishment from boxing, his return to fight Joe Frazier in 1971, and, finally, his reclaiming the title from George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle fight of 1974.

Sonny Liston

ListonCharles "Sonny" ListonPariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston
The two fights between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston for boxing's World Heavyweight Championship were among the most anticipated, watched and controversial fights in the sport's history.

Lewiston, Maine

LewistonLewiston, MELewiston Evening Journal
Their second fight was in May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine, which Ali won with a first-round knockout.
In May 1965, Lewiston became the venue for a heavyweight title rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston; Ali had defeated Liston in a controversial fight in Miami Beach, Florida in February 1964, and the World Boxing Council was demanding an immediate rematch, which was against World Boxing Association rules (the WBA eventually stripped Ali of their title).

The Suitcase

Mad Men'', The SuitcaseThe Suitcase" (''Mad Men'')
The Mad Men episode "The Suitcase" from Season 4 revolves around the second fight.
As the rest of the office leaves to follow the May 25, 1965, Ali vs. Liston fight, Don makes Peggy stay behind to work on ideas.

Garrett H. Byrne

Massachusetts officials, most notably Suffolk County District Attorney Garrett H. Byrne, began to have second thoughts.
In 1965, Byrne had the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston fight banned from Boston, calling it a "setup", "unlicensed", and a "common nuisance."

Phantom Punch (film)

Phantom PunchPhantom Punch'' (film)
Robert Townsend directed a 2008 movie about Liston entitled Phantom Punch.
Liston loses the rematch against Cassius Clay, now known as Muhammad Ali, after falling down for 20 seconds following the famous phantom punch.

Mike Tyson

Desiree WashingtonTysonMichael Tyson
Johnny Tocco, a trainer who worked with George Foreman and Mike Tyson as well as Liston, said Liston was the hardest hitter of the three.

Esquire (magazine)

EsquireEsquire MagazineEsquire'' magazine
Liston's ominous, glowering demeanor was so central to his image that Esquire magazine caused a controversy by posing him in a Santa Claus hat for its December 1963 cover.

Santa Claus

SantaKris KringleHo ho ho
Liston's ominous, glowering demeanor was so central to his image that Esquire magazine caused a controversy by posing him in a Santa Claus hat for its December 1963 cover.

Missouri State Penitentiary

Jefferson City Correctional CenterMissouri PenitentiaryMissouri State Penitentiary for Women
Liston learned to box in the Missouri State Penitentiary while serving time for armed robbery.

Robbery

armed robberyrobberiesrobber
Liston learned to box in the Missouri State Penitentiary while serving time for armed robbery.

Frankie Carbo

John "Frankie" Carbo
For much of his career, his contract was majority owned by Frankie Carbo, a one-time mob hit man and senior member of the Lucchese crime family, who ran boxing interests for the Mafia.

Lucchese crime family

Lucchese familyLuccheseReina family
For much of his career, his contract was majority owned by Frankie Carbo, a one-time mob hit man and senior member of the Lucchese crime family, who ran boxing interests for the Mafia.

American Mafia

MafiaItalian-American Mafiamob
For much of his career, his contract was majority owned by Frankie Carbo, a one-time mob hit man and senior member of the Lucchese crime family, who ran boxing interests for the Mafia.

Gorilla

Silverback gorillagorillassilverback
He was typically described in thinly veiled racist terms—a "gorilla" and "hands like big bananas".

James Baldwin

BaldwinBaldwin, JamesJames Arthur Baldwin
Author James Baldwin understood Liston perhaps better than anyone in the press and sympathized with him and liked him, unlike boxing writers.

David Remnick

Remnick, David
He was a man who, according to Ali biographer David Remnick, "had never gotten a break and was never going to give one".

1960 Summer Olympics

19601960 Olympic Games1960 Rome
Known as "The Louisville Lip", he had won the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.

Rome

Rome, ItalyRomanRoma
Known as "The Louisville Lip", he had won the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.

Sonny Banks

However, Clay had been knocked down by journeyman Sonny Banks early in his career, and, in his previous two fights, had eked out a controversial decision against Doug Jones and—more seriously—was knocked down by a left hook at the end of round four against the cut-prone converted southpaw Henry Cooper.

Doug Jones (boxer)

Doug Jones
However, Clay had been knocked down by journeyman Sonny Banks early in his career, and, in his previous two fights, had eked out a controversial decision against Doug Jones and—more seriously—was knocked down by a left hook at the end of round four against the cut-prone converted southpaw Henry Cooper.

Henry Cooper

Sir Henry CooperHenry Cooper (boxer)
However, Clay had been knocked down by journeyman Sonny Banks early in his career, and, in his previous two fights, had eked out a controversial decision against Doug Jones and—more seriously—was knocked down by a left hook at the end of round four against the cut-prone converted southpaw Henry Cooper. Henry Cooper, the British champion, said he would be interested in a title fight if Clay won, but he was not going to get in the ring with Liston.