Angelo DundeeBoxingCassius ClayDr. Ferdie PachecoHeavyweight Boxing ChampionsHeavyweight Boxing Title FightsHighlightsHoward CosellL E StoriesSonny Liston

L E’s Stories – The Championship: February 25, 1964 – Sonny Liston Vs  Cassius Clay (Muhamad Ali) – An Event That Shocked the World And Changed Sports Forever

This lil ole Chiweenie Sportsphile is a huge boxing fan…..predominantly due to having watched so many televised fights with Bone Daddy during the 1970’s and 1980’s…..for in my opinion, that was smack dab in the middle of the Golden Age of Boxing  from February 25,1964 to 199…..the night when a young Cassius Clay….who was a loud and obnoxious….seemingly arrogant….and extremely confident….for a young man about to take on Heavyweight Champ Sonny Liston….known as The Bear….who was a BAAAADD man with a mean disposition that seemingly no one wanted to fight…..that is except for the one who would by the end of his career be known as The Greatest.                                                                                        

                        Boxing – 1958 To 1968 – Special  – The Sonny Liston Knockout Reel Highlights

The fight known as THE CHAMPIONSHIP was officially announced on November 6, 1963….which was to take place on February 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida between “The Champ” Charles “Sonny” Liston and “The Challenger” Cassius Marcellus Clay for the undisputed Heavyweight Championship of the World.  Absolutely no one outside of Clay’s camp thought the young Olympic Champion had even a “snowball’s chance in Hell” of succeeding in dethroning the meanest…. baaaaadddest….most feared heavyweight champion in years…..so, I have decided today to give you a complete verbatim detailed account of the entire recorded dialog that went on in all of the events leading from the announcement of the fight on November 6, 1963…..while continuing on right up to the night of the fight on February 25, 1964.  This unparalleled and completely accurate account of the dialog enclosed herewith came from BD’s video sports library….a taping of the live closed circuit broadcast of the fight that historic night.  This dialog and commentary tells the real story surrounding all things leading up to the two combatants stepping into the ring on that truly historic night in South Florida.                                                                                                      

           Boxing – 1964 – Special – Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali Puts On A Show At The Announcement                                 Of His Upcoming Fight For The Heavyweight Championship With Sonny Liston

                                                                                   DOG ASIDE:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Before I get into the dialog….it is important for me to share with you the fact that BD has one of the most extensive private video library of world championship fights that I have ever heard of….now we’re not talking anything like the collection of fight footage that the late Jimmy Jacobs had….cuz heck….I’d bet 40% of BD’s library leads back to original footage owned by Mr. Jacobs….and I want to give him credit for his love and devotion to the sport of boxing.  When Jimmie Jacobs and Gus D’Amato teamed up to manage and train Mike Tyson years after THE CHAMPIONSHIP….he really shined in his knowledge of the beautiful art of boxing.  I will definitely write about these three men and how they created magic in their own right…..for they were each very special in their own rights….both individually and as masters of their perspectives of the art of boxing…..as Jimmie Jacobs was the gold standard of recorded boxing content, who had fight footage of virtually every significant boxer from any accredited weight division….while Cuz D’Amato was a professional manager and trainer extraordinaire, who worked in the ring from 1933 to 1985 while training the likes of Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson and Mike Tyson, who are all in the Boxing Hall Of Fame…..and the Mike Tyson was certainly one of the greatest Heavyweight Champions of all time, who might have “signed, sealed and delivered” as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) had Cuz not died soon after he became the youngest Heavyweight Champ of all time.                                                                                                                                                                           

              Boxing – 1964 – Theater Network Television Presents World Heavyweight Boxing Title Fight                                                              Cassius Clay Vs Sonny Liston – With Steve Ellis                                                                

For today’s journey down memory lane….I am going to share another verbatim display of the audio portion from a program that begins with a live interview with Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay….along with their opening remarks the day the fight was officially announced on November 6, 1963. 

Interviewer:          When will you start training for Cassius Clay?

Sonny:                   I’ll start training for this fight about five days before the fight.

Interviewer:          How do you expect the fight to go?

 

Cassius:              Sonny may be great….but he will leave in eight.

                             If he wanna go to heaven….I’ll get him in seven.

                              He’ll be in a worser fix….if I cut it to six.

                              If he keeps talkin jive….he’ll go in five.

                              If he make me sore….he’ll go like Moore.

                              He keeps talking about me….I’ll get him in three.

                              If that don’t do….he’ll fall in two.

                              And if he run….he’ll go in one.

                              And if he don’t want to fight….he should keep himself home that night.                                  

                                         Boxing – 1964 – Special – Cassius Clay Has A Poetic Prediction                                                                                For His Upcoming Title Fight With Champ Sonny Liston

                                                                                                                                                                                    Marv Albert, as co-host for this program that looked back at this historic fight makes the comments as follows:

“The fight was happening at a time when The Beatles had reached America….LBJ was President….the war looming in Vietnam dominated the headlines….Martin Luther King had touched our conscience…. there was Warhol and Bonanza….and in Miami, Florida….two men were to meet to decide the World’s Heavyweight Champion….dubbed THE CHAMPIONSHIP….an event that would shock the world by the night’s end.”

To which his co-host Dr. Ferdie Pacheco….who was there in Clay’s camp and corner in 1964….noted that Ali did not exist at this time….and went on to say:

“Charles “Sonny” Liston was a brooding enigmatic champion….his background was clouded by prison time and alleged links to organized crime.  His age was also a question mark….listed officially at age 31….some felt he was closer to 50.  His public image was intimidating but private.  He preferred to let his actions in the ring do his talking.”                                                                                                                               

                                    Boxing – 1964 – Special – World Heavyweight Title Fight Weigh In                                                                                     For Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali Vs Sonny Liston

Back to the original footage of Liston’s and Clay’s opening remarks at the announcement of the fight as follows:

Liston:                     My prediction is that Clay will run….and I don’t think he can beat me by running.

Miami Herald Reporter                                                                                                                                              Edwin Pope:           I thought Liston was the best fighter in the world….a complete thug….a killer.

Clay:                        I’m young….I’m handsome….I’m fast….I’m pretty….and can’t possibly be beat.

Liston:                     You might be young and handsome….but you won’t be after I’m finished with you.

Clay:                        You’re forty years old if a day….and you don’t belong in the ring with Cassius Clay.

Liston’s Cornerman                                                                                                                                                    Milt Bailey:              Sonny thought he was a loudmouth kid….trying to build his ego up…..cuz we  figured                                   he was scared to death….and it would only be a matter of time before Sonny stopped                                   him from talking.

Liston:                     If they don’t put a mouthpiece in his mouth to keep him from talking….I’m gonna kill                                     him.

Pacheco:                 Liston trained at the Surfside Auditorium in South Beach.  During every training                                             session….he’d workout to the song “Night Train”

 Bailey:                     Sonny could play that whole record and never miss a beat on the speed bag. He was                                      so powerful….when he jabbed you….it was like someone else punching you with a                                        hook or overhand knockout punch.  The best sparring partner Liston had was a guy                                      named Amos Lincoln….and one day in training….Sonny hit Amos with a jab so hard                                      that his helmet flew off….and we all thought it was his head had flown off with the                                          helmet.

Clay:                         I am the greatest….I’m gonna shake up the world in 1964….and gonna talk no more.

Pacheco:                  I had been Clay’s doctor since he first started fighting….but THE CHAMPIONSHIP                                          was the first time I was in his fight corner in the ring.  I was struck by his athleticism                                      …. by his charisma….and by his blinding faith that he had….that he could not be beat.

Clay:                         For those of you who won’t be able to see the fight….here’s the 8th round exactly as                                      it will happen:

                                  Clay comes out to meet Liston….and Sonny starts to retreat.

                                  If Liston goes back to his corner….he’ll end up in the ring side seats.

                                  Clay flings with his left….Clay flings with his right….

                                  Look at young Cassius carry the fight….

                                  Liston keeps backing….but there’s not enough room.

                                  It’s a matter of time…b’fore Clay’s punch sends him toward the moon.

                                  Now listen to the person’s view….as the crowd’s getting frantic

                                  But by the time radar picks him up….

                                  He’ll be over the Atlantic.

                                   Liston’s still risin….and the ref is seen to frown….

                                   Why he can’t start countin….Til Sonny comes down.

                                   Who woulda thought when they came to the fight….

                                   That they’d witness a launchin….

                                   Of a human satellite.

                                   Yep….the crowd did not dream….When they put down their money….

                                   That they all would see….A total eclipse of the Sonny.                                                         

               Boxing – 1964 – Special – Heavyweight World Championship Sonny Liston Vs Cassius Clay                                                                                  PreFight Poetry & Highlights

Clay’s Trainer                                                                                                                                                        Dundee:                    Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) was the greatest fighter that ever lived….in and out of                                    the ring.  He changed the whole innovation of boxing….he was the first available                                            super star.

Miami Herald Reporter                                                                                                                                          Edwin Pope:             I thought he was very promising….sorta of a puffed up light heavyweight at the time.                                     I had no dreaming idea that he could win the fight….I didn’t give him a chance in Hell.

With Liston sitting two seats away from Clay at the Pre Fight Dinner….all of a sudden in a loud and excited voice….as Clay begins to go off on Liston:

Clay:                         Let’s get it on….wanna go right now?….I’ll whup you right now….right here.  Floyd                                        Patterson was so scared of you….Man, he couldn’t even walk in the room with you.  I                                    ain’t scared….I’ll come to your house at 2 am in the morning looking for you. It’s                                            gonna take a good man to whup me….you can see that I am more than confident…                                        I’ve had 100 amateur fights….20 professional fights….and I’m pretty as a girl.  I don’t                                    get hit….I’m so pretty.

Liston:                      How pretty you are….that’s about all that I am afraid of.

Pacheco:                  In South Beach at the 5th Street Gym where Clay trained….this place was like a zoo….                                    with wall to wall celebrities and entertainers like Sam Cook….writers like Norman                                          Mailer….and artists like LeRoy Neiman….and from across the Atlantic….The Beatles.                                    Any and all of these celebrities who showed up at Clay’s training camp would wait                                        patiently for Clay to finish his workout….cuz that’s when Clay would seek out Drew                                        Bundini Brown….his confidant, corner man and cheerleader….and they would begin                                      to chant….begin to joke around….and before you knew it….it was full blown show                                          time for all those waiting to see, touch and be up close to Cassius Clay.                                   

                          Boxing – 1964 – Highlights – Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) Training For Liston                                                                                             And Meeting The Beatles

Clay:                             You all know how great I am….I don’t have to tell you about my strategy….I’ll let                                              my trainer tell you….Bundini, what are we gonna do?

Bundini:                        We gonna float like a butterfly….and sting like a bee….

And they would both get face to face and open their mouths real wide open and  say AAAAAAHHHHH….. while becoming almost “two in one”…..and whatever Bundini would say…..Clay would respond with an agreeable comment.

Bundini:                         Rumble young man….Rumble….Rumble…..AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH

 Clay:                              That’s what we gonna do….you heard it….that’s my trainer….he told you what we                                          gonna do.

Dundee:                         Cassius Clay said to me….Angelo….I have a surprise for you. I am gonna bring                                              Drew Brown into camp….I said…don’t do that….the guy will drive me up a wall….                                          don’t do that.  I begged him not to do that.

Clay:                               Don’t worry… .he’s a nice guy….lotta fun….he won’t get in the way.

Dundee:                         And he was right….Drew was great….he added a new dimension to Clay….kept                                              him loose as a goose and most important…..Drew added something else….he                                                was an Important facet of Cassius Clay’s life.                                                                          

                         Boxing – 1964 – Special Rare Film – Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) Right Hand Man                                                               Drew Bundini Brown Interview With Howard Cosell

Interviewer:                      Ladies and gentlemen….Mr Cassius Marcellus Clay….He’s young….He’s                                                          handsome….

Clay:                                 They know that….

Interviewer:                      He’s a poet and many people believe he is going to be the next heavyweight                                                    champion of the world.  Cassius, can I ask you a question? How are you feeling                                              now that you are in training?        

Clay:                                 I’m feeling great….I’m ready to go to war right now.

Interviewer:                      Well, when you say you’re ready to go to war right now?….do you really mean                                                that?

Clay:                                 Man, if I were to see that bum on the street today….I’d just have to go ahead and                                            beat him before the fight.

Interviewer:                      You’d actually take him on before the fight?

Clay:                                  Beat him like I’m his Daddy…..

Interviewer:                       I saw Sonny Liston yesterday….

Clay:                                  Ain’t he ugly….he’s too ugly to be the world champ….the world champ should                                                be pretty like me.

Interviewer:                        He told me to bet my life savings that you wouldn’t make it past 3 rounds!

Clay:                                    Well if you want to lose your money, bet on Sonny…..but I’ll never lose this                                                       fight….it’s impossible…tell um the next time you see him.

Bundini:                               Born a Champ in the crib…..AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH                


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Boxing – 1964 – Special – Cassius Clay + Bundini Brown                                                                      Float Like A Butterfly And Sting Like A Bee – Rumble Young Man Rumble                                                                            

Dundee:                           Let’s face it….look at the pure fun that this kid that this kid created. Fun is what                                             make you excel at what you do….cuz if you don’t have fun it turns ugly….and I                                               don’t like to be involved in any situation where you don’t have fun.

Pacheco:                         The media loved Clay….but they didn’t like his chances in the fight.

Mike Tyson:                    Liston basically depended on intimidation when he fought. He basically                                                           intimidated opponents before they ever got in the ring for the fight.  He was a                                                 massive guy….and on all circuits…he was just a monster who could punch                                                     hard.

Washington Post Reporter                                                                                                                                    Shirley Povich:               I like Liston in the fight….the 1st time he hits him….could be round one….                                                       perhaps two….but I don’t think it will last past one.

Sports Illustrated Writer                                                                                                                                        Morton Sharnik:              I look for Liston to win in three rounds….however, if Clay get past round 3, his                                                chances of winning improve with each succeeding round.

Los Angeles Times Writer                                                                                                                                          Jim Murray:                      I like Liston in about 1 – 3 rounds….as I think the problem is whether Cassius                                                can hurt Sonny or not.

At the weigh-in….there were over 1000 reporters covering the weigh-in……which was the perfect stage for the brilliant light that was Cassius Clay as follows:

Pacheco:                          If the training was a rehearsal then this weigh-in was a dress rehearsal for the                                                plan that young Cassius Clay had in his mind. The serious citizens of the boxing                                            establishment descended on the little boxing camp….and they said to Clay to                                                  stop all the playing around….stop all the nonsense….get serious….and preserve                                            the dignity of the weigh-in for the Heavyweight Championship of the World.  Clay                                            agreed and lived up to his agreement until he hit the door at the weigh-in.                        

                                        Boxing & Music – 1963 To 1981 – Special – “Can’t Be Touched”                                                   Featuring Muhammad Ali’s Defense. Speed & Punching Power Put To M C Hammer Music

                                                                                                                                                                                 As Clay moved to the microphone where before he goes to speak….he and Bundini do their AAAAHHHHH routine…smiling all the way through….as Clay steps to the scales….he begins to go off….shouting at Liston:

Clay:                            I’m the greatest….you tell Joe Louis and Sonny Liston that I’m here with Sugar                                               Ray….Joe Louis is flat footed….Sonny Liston is flat footed…while Sugar Ray and I                                         are two pretty dancers….we can’t be beat….I’m ready to rumble.

The Closed Circuit Promoter was about as upset as any promoter had ever been after the fabled weigh-in for the Heavyweight Championship Title Fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston as follows:.

Murray Sutherland:    The weigh-in was a sham….Clay put on a show that was unbelievable….and if you                                         look back at the clips….you’ll find that’s what happened.                           

Sonny’s trainer                                                                                                                                                            Milt Bailey:                  He (Sonny) thought Clay was crazy….Sonny had a violent side to him that everyone                                       knew about….but Cassius was smart….he was clever….and he could get under                                             Sonny’s skin more so than anyone ever had before.

Dundee:                       Liston didn’t know what to expect….what came into play there….was that tough                                             guys are afraid of guys who are a little goofy….crazy….guys that fly over the                                                   cookoos nest. Tough guys don’t know where to go with that….and Liston was a                                             tough guy. So, Liston was kinda lookin at him like this….as Clay was screaming at                                         him while standing on the scales….he’s screaming and he’s hollering….all the                                               while Dr. Robbins was giving him his blood pressure test. And Liston’s handlers                                             are saying to me that my guy is scared to death….he’s scared….and it ain’t going                                           to make the fight go long.  I’m listening to the guy and thinking that my guy is                                                 playing….and we’re just having fun. 

Clay was fined $2500 for his antics at the weigh-in….and the amazing thing above all that was documented throughout the entire weigh-in….was that Dr. Robbins blood pressure test…taken at the very moment of his screaming at Liston….measured at rest….not even at an aerobic state….IT WAS ALL AN ACT.                                                                                                                                                                                     

                          Boxing – 1963 – Special – Cassius Clay Appears On The Jerry Lewis Show                                                                                  To Go Several Rounds Verbally With The Host

Miami Herald Writer                                                                                                                                          Edwin Pope:                       Clay said later….everybody is afraid of a crazy man….and  that is why I was                                                     acting crazy.

 Pacheco:                            It was all part of young Clay’s master plan….to give the appearance of being                                                   crazy….therefore rendering himself immune to Liston’s bullying tactics.

Interviewer:                         What percentage of the people will be coming to you?

Clay:                                    Well, 100% of the people coming to the fight will be coming to see me….but                                                     99% of them….are coming to see me get beat cuz they think I talk too much

Pacheco:                             As if Clay hadn’t already put enough pressure on himself…the morning of the                                                 fight….he announced he had joined the Black Muslim organization and joined                                                 the faith of Islam….an unpopular militant group….and it threatened the entire                                                 fight.

Fight Promoter                                                                                                                                                            Chris Dundy:                       Oh my God….it killed the whole fight….we all of a sudden end up with two bad                                                guys….when we had one good guy and one bad guy…. kinda like Russia vs.                                                    the USA….and we wind up with two bad guys.…it was terrible.

 Dundee:                               Cuz the fight got butchered….with that bad guy / good guy routine….and the                                                   bad guy is an unknown….as the unknown scares people….What is a Muslim?                                                 ….heck….I thought it was a piece of cloth.  Who the heck knew what a Muslim                                                 was?

Miami Herald Writer                                                                                                                                          Edwin Pope:                          I thought it was a complete non-issue….because I thought that Sonny Liston                                                  was going in and smash the boastful kid like an ant….and it would                                                                    immediately become a non-issue

Despite the uproar…..9,000 people including celebrities from sport and entertainment jammed Convention Hall on the evening of February 25, 1963….as millions more watched closed circuit television in movie theaters around the world.  Just before 10 pm Eastern time….Cassius Marcellus Clay and his entourage entered the ring on February 25, 1964….and “THE WORLD OF SPORT CHANGED FOREVER.”                                        

       Boxing – 1964 – World Heavyweight Title Fight – The Championship – Cassius Clay Vs Sonny Liston                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you never have gotten to see THE CHAMPIONSHIP in its entirety….today is your lucky day.  After watching the Video Feature below….I think you will agree with me….that young man did indeed SHOCKED THE WORLD.

  LeRoy Neiman Signed Oil Seragraph                          Introduction At                                    Madison Square Garden

Also, as a matter of interest….LeRoy Neiman, the artist….of whom Bone Daddy have multiple of his serigraphs and prints in his collection….was actually in the ring after the conclusion of the fight….so this is a good time to show you BD’s LeRoy Nieman collection….including my favorite…. a signed Nieman oil in BD’s collection that is titled Introduction at Madison Square Garden” ….fitting wouldn’t you agree since Bone Daddy’s sports bar carried the same name. This particular Nieman depicts a World Heavyweight Championship Fight with Joe Louis being introduced…. as there are 109 recognizable faces in the fight crowd at MSG of this painting…. we’re talking President Richard Nixon, Frank Sinatra, Lyndon B Johnson and Lady Bird, Truman Capote    and so many more….it is    really cool…..as I have spent many hours myself locating and identifying as many of the 109 recognizable celebrities from the world of sports, literature, politics, entertainment, et al….and I was able to find only 57 of those painted into this picture.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

           Boxing – 1964 – Heavyweight Championship Fight – Casius Clay vs. Sonny Liston – 1st Fight 

 

 

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