Monday, 16 January 2012

Muhammad Ali versus Sonny Liston [1965]

Picture author: Neil Leifer,
Picture date: May 25, 1965

This picture is probably one of the most famous frames in sports. It depicts the moment when Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston, a former heavy weight champion, in the first minute of the first round, in a rematch. Ali won the previous match one year before, after Sonny resigned to defeat complaining of a shoulder injury).

Midway through the first round, Liston fell to the canvas; Ali refused to retreat to a neutral corner, standing over his fallen opponent, gesturing and yelling at him, “Get up and fight, sucker!” Mr. Leifer, a reporter who covered many boxing matches, struggled to capture this moment, which has since become one of the iconic images in sports history.

The blow that ended the match became known as “the phantom punch,” so named because most people at ringside did not see it. Speculations circulated about Liston’s fall, many spectators considered the bout fixed, even the FBI investigated the case. Some say while preparing for the fight, Liston was visited by Black Muslims who threatened to kill his daughter Eleanor if he should win the rematch, others say Liston lay down for money.

No comments:

Post a Comment