The Fight That Shook Up the World! Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay, Jr.
Before Muhammad Ali was Muhammad Ali, before he was Heavyweight Champion of the world, and even before he won an Olympic gold medal, he told the world that he was the greatest boxer of all time. While most people believe this to be true today, 64 years after he became a professional fighter, there were many skeptics in the beginning.
In the early days of Ali's career, sports journalists and boxers alike seemed to never be impressed by his victories. They claimed he only fought unskilled journeymen and aging pugilists and could never stand up to the likes of Ingemar Johansson, Floyd Patterson, or Sonny Liston. Critics still felt this way even after the then-21-year-old defeated British Heavyweight Champion Henry Cooper in June of 1963. The noise of his doubters only got louder when it was announced that he would face then-Heavyweight Champion, Charles "Sonny" Liston, in an attempt to take the crown. The young boxer was hailed as an underdog, some experts believed he would not even last a single round against Liston--but boy, were they wrong.
In celebration of the 60th Anniversary, The Fight That Shook Up the World! Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay, Jr. utilizes items from the Muhammad Ali Center's Permanent Collection to examine the before, during, and after of the fight that made him Heavyweight Champion of the World--for the first time.