Working Press, "Clay vs. Liston"


Working Press, "Clay vs. Liston"



Press ID card for Muhammed Ali/Sonny Liston Heavyweight Championship boxing match held at St Dominic's Arena in Lewiston, Maine. The card belonged to Paul Labbé, himself a known local boxer, who was to serve as an additional judge for the match.

Sonny Liston became world heavyweight champion in 1962. The first match between Liston and Clay in February of 1964 was highly anticipated, with Liston the favorite to win. However, Clay won when Liston forfeited due to an injury - the first time a heavyweight championship fight had been forfeited since 1919.

The controvesial nature of Clay's win led the World Boxing Council to seek a re-match, and the Boston Garden was originally chosen, but pulled out due to licensing concerns. The Central Maine Youth Arena (formerly St Dominic's Arena) in Lewiston, Maine, was selected as the venue - one of the smallest ever to host a heavyweight championship.

Muhammed Ali had already changed his name from Cassius Clay by the time this match was scheduled, but promoters billed it as the "Clay-Liston" fight nonetheless. 

Rather than the 15 rounds promised on this card, the fight lasted only a few seconds. In the middle of the first round, Liston was felled by a punch that the crowd didn't see, and Ali was unsure if it had connected. There were allegations of match-fixing by Liston, but these were never proven. The match did result in a celebrated photo of an angry Ali standing over the fallen Liston, exhorting him to get up and fight.


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Intercontinental Promotions, Inc., “Working Press, "Clay vs. Liston",” Franco American Digital Archives/Portail franco-américain: Beta, accessed February 23, 2024,