MUHAMMAD ALI VERSUS SONNY LISTON—-50TH ANNIVERSARY. Gordon Marino has an article in the Wall Street Journal today about the first Muhammad Ali/ Sonny Liston fight, which took place 50 years ago today. I “saw” it via a televised broadcast at the old Boston Garden with my brother Elmer, Bruce Abel and Peter Metro, the proprietor of the little restaurant at which we ate frequently.
Liston was a huge favorite to win (this article by Robert Lipsyte from the New York Times archive says that only 3 out of 46 reporters at the fight picked Clay to win). Liston had won the title by knocking out the previous champion, Floyd Patterson, in the first round. We had listened with several others on our front porch the previous summer to the radio broadcast of his second fight with Patterson. We liked Patterson and were taken aback when he quickly knocked Patterson out—again in the first round.
Muhammad Ali was one of my few heroes, but, based on the record, I approached the fight with apprehension. Kids, I’ll tell you about our night at the fights tomorrow.