50 yeas ago this weekend, Cassius Clay, soon to be Muhammad Ali, shocked the world in Miami Beach, Florida, when as a 7-1 underdog he beat the heavy champion of the world into submission. Sonny Liston couldn't or wouldn't answer the bell for the seventh round. You can make an argument that just a few months after President Kennedy was killed, the young, brash Clay ushered in the 1960's.
Clay turned even the boring pre-fight weigh-in into an event. His pulse and blood pressure shot so high as he screamed at Liston and taunted him, that the fight doctor threatened to cancel the fight. Later, the doctor wrongly surmised that Clay's pulse and blood pressure were so high because he was scared.
Sonny Liston would barely live out the decade. He died in Las Vegas in 1970. Officially his cause of death was a drug overdose, but it was known that Liston owed money to the Mob. His grave is in a cemetary near the Las Vegas airport. The tombstone reads "Charles Sonny Liston. A Man."
Ali went on to win and lose the heavyweight title a record three times. He refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War and was stripped of his title and could not get licensed to fight for over three years in the prime of his career. His conviction for draft evasion was overturned by the US Supreme Court. Ali went on to have epic fights with Joe Frazier and George Forman. He spends his days quietly in Scottsdale, Arizona, no longer able to speak much, his body ravaged by the blows he took as a boxer and the resulting Parkinson Syndrome.
But 50 years ago- February 25, 1964- the greatest shocked the world and change was in the air.
See you in court.
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM