Bill Cayton. Bill Cayton's Prime Time Boxing presents Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay - February 25, 1964 and May 25, 1965. The heavyweight champion of the world in early 1964 was a seemingly unbeatable behemoth known as Sonny Liston. Liston was a truly ferocious fighter who had trampled through the heavyweight division en route to two title bouts with previous champion Floyd Patterson, doing the unthinkable by knocking Floyd out in the first round twice. No one believed that anyone then living could beat Sonny Liston. Even the ranked challengers did not seem anxious for a title shot -- a situation unparalleled in boxing history. Cayton Sports, Inc. (2001), Audio CD.
Liston, a 215-pound wrecking machine with an incredible 84-inch reach, was the most feared fighter in the history of boxing. Sonny Liston had emerged from prison in the early 1950s to win the mid-west Golden Gloves. Immensely strong with a great natural left, he compiled a professional record of 14-1 from 1953 to 1956, when he was sent back to prison for assaulting a policeman. Released in 1957, a new and improved Liston clubbed his way through the heavyweight division. Young and handsome Cassius Clay, dubbed “The Louisville Lip” by newsmen for the non-stop way he ran his mouth, was a teenaged boxing protégé. He capped his sterling amateur career by winning the Gold Medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.
Turning pro under the sponsorship of a group of Louisville businessmen, Clay was undefeated for the next three years, stunning boxing people with his skill, speed and braggadocio, even daring to name the round in which he would dispatch his opponents -- and usually making good on his predictions.
But English heavyweight Henry Cooper actually knocked Clay down in the closing seconds of the fourth round at Wembley before Cassius stopped him on cuts. Clay claimed he hadn’t seen the punch, a hook. “If he couldn’t see Cooper’s,” said one expert, “how is he going to see Liston’s?” Almost everyone thought Cassius was crazy to fight Liston, and Sonny was installed a heavy favorite at 7-1. In the popular mind, the brash young man seemed likely to get killed. Hear the rest in a blow-by-blow commentary for the heralded rematch by the much experienced Russ Hodges. Big-voiced Van Patrick and the veteran Bill Stern are the color men at ringside. The champion, announced as “Muhammad Ali” by ring announcer Johnny Addie, is referred to as “Cassius Clay,” the name by which he won the title, by the broadcast team. Not until the 1970s would this new name, Muhammad Ali, be fully accepted by the boxing community, and indeed by the world.
About the Author: Described by Muhammad Ali as the man who "...preserved boxing's special heritage, a heritage that might have been lost without your early insight," Bill Cayton is an authentic legend in the world of boxing. Besides bringing boxing to television, Cayton built the world's greatest collection of fight films, saving for posterity films of such greats as Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali. Named Manager of the Year an unprecedented 14 times, Cayton managed champions Wilfred Benitez, Edwin Rosario, Tommy Morrison, Vinny Pazienza, Michael Grant, and Mike Tyson, who for years was regarded as not only the most talented, but the best managed and best-marketed fighter in the world.