EXCERPT | June 7,1965
Ascent of aKing
In Ali-Liston II,the Greatest shocked the world again
While fewer than2,500 fans were in a small auditorium in Lewiston, Maine, to see MuhammadAli—referred to below by his former name, Cassius Clay—fight Sonny Liston in arematch of Ali's 1964 upset, the bout was much anticipated. Writer Jim Murraychronicled what would turn out to be among the most memorable (andcontroversial: Did Liston take a dive?) fights of all time.
Sonny Liston hitthe floor like a guy slipping on a cake of soap getting out of the bathtub.This is the second time this fight has ended with several thousand peoplelooking at each other and asking: "What happened?"
I'll tell you whathappened. Sonny Liston got the hell beat out of him is what happened. This timeI was looking for it and I saw it: an old man groping his way into a speedyinsolent reckless kid. He was like a guy braving a barrage of rocks. He hasn'thit Cassius Clay yet. And he never will.
I counted threetimes when Cassius staggered Liston. The first was when the bell echo hadn'tdied down yet. Cassius is an ad-lib fighter, and he thought up a beaut to getthis dance under way—a right cross. Nobody ever started a heavyweight titlefight with a right before. But Cassius messed up Liston's unpretty featureswith a crazy right that he started to throw when he left his corner. Listonshould have known right then that his ploy was to find a soft place toland.
Two years ago wewere saying this guy was the best heavyweight in history. Now, he's not eventhe best heavyweight in Lewiston. And if you think that isn't a comedown,you've never been to Lewiston.
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Let me get thisstraight: The Padres, knowing that Jake Peavy told them months ago that hepreferred to stay in the National League if he were traded, arranged a trade tosend him to an American League team with a worse record and possibly a worseoffense than the Padres' themselves. What's Plan B? A deal with the St. LouisBrowns?
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Heavyweight Action Big Boppers
George Foreman dominated this rematch, scoring a fifth-round TKO over JoeFrazier. That made Big George 42--1; the loss had come courtesy of Ali.
Iron Mike Tyson (black shorts) remained undefeated by winning all 12 roundsagainst James (Bonecrusher) Smith, who avoided a KO by grabbing onto Tyson.
Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali's little brother, retained his IBF belt, knockingdown unbeaten Calvin Brock with a left-right combo in the seventh round.
Photograph by GEORGE SILK/TIME & LIFE PICTURES/GETTY IMAGES
¬†GLANCINGBLOW Liston avoided a direct hit on this right cross from Ali but was unable toduck the punch that dropped him later in Round 1.
HERB SCHARFMAN (FOREMAN)
MANNY MILLAN (TYSON)
JOHN IACONO (KLITSCHKO)
ROBERT BECK (PEAVY)
JOHN BIEVER (HARRISON)
BOB ROSATO (GRIFFIN)
BOB ROSATO (JAMES)
SIMON BRUTY (DOG)
BRETT DAVIS/US PRESSWIRE (HAMILTON)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (CROSBY)