Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston
Original One Sheet Fight Poster (27x41"), 1964
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston
Feb 25, 1964
This poster is
from the Championship fight Feb 25, 1964 when the 1960 gold medal winner
Cassius Clay fought the Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston. This RARE
one sheet poster advertising the fight film is seldom offered
for sale. This historical sport treasure features full boxing poses of each
current and future World Champion would be a center piece to any
collection. This vintage poster had a small tape stain on lower left border. It also has some writing on back with a little bleed trough in a few spots. However, these minor issues have been addressed with professional linen backing and it now looks AMAZING!
We are vintage boxing collectors ourselves and have searched for this poster for over 20 years. So, when it is sold and we get the several traditional, "are you going to get any more", the answer will be Very Highly Unlikely.
At the time of the first Liston-Clay fight on February 25, 1964, Sonny Liston was the world heavyweight champion, having beaten Floyd Patterson by a first round knockout in September 1962. With an impressive knockout record to that point, Liston was a fighter many other heavyweights were reluctant to meet in the ring. Henry Cooper said that if Cassius Clay won, he was interested in a title fight, but if Liston won, he was not going to get in the ring with him. Cooper's manager Jim Wicks said, "We don't even want to meet Liston walking down the same street." Liston was an ex-con with ties to organized crime whose ominous, glowering demeanor was so central to his image that Esquire Magazine caused a controversy by posing him in a Santa Claus hat for its December 1963 cover.
Cassius Clay, on the other hand, was a glib, fast-talking 22-year-old challenger who enjoyed the spotlight. Known as "The Louisville Lip", he had won the light-heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He had great hand and foot speed and lightning fast reflexes, not to mention a limitless supply of braggadocio and confidence. Nevertheless, Clay had been knocked down by journeyman Sonny Banks early in his career and—more seriously—was almost knocked out by the cut-prone converted southpaw Henry Cooper. Although Clay rallied to win, it seemed to show he would be vulnerable to Liston's formidable left hook.
The brash Clay was not liked by most reporters, and his chances were widely dismissed. Lester Bromberg's forecast in the New York World-Telegram was typical, predicting "It will last almost the entire first round." The Los Angeles Times' Jim Murray observed, "The only thing at which Clay can beat Liston is reading the dictionary," adding that the faceoff between the two unlikeable athletes would be "the most popular fight since Hitler and Stalin—180 million Americans rooting for a double knockout." The New York Times' regular boxing writer Joe Nichols declined to cover the fight, assuming it would be a mismatch. By fight time, Clay was a seven to one betting underdog. Of the 46 sportswriters at ringside, 43 had picked Sonny Liston to win by knockout.