Spectacular vintage fight poster for this iconic battle between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali). The graphics of the two boxing legends are stunning! An extraordinary piece of sports history. Very good to excellent completely UN-Restored condition. Also, note has the original studio NSS stamp on back which many collectors like to see for added proof of authenticity..
Liston vs. Clay (20th Century Fox, 1964). One Sheet (27″ X 41″). Sports.
Starring Sonny Liston, and Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali). An unrestored poster that displays signs of use. May include light edge or fold wear. . Included is a newspaper printing template, size about 11×13″. .
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, 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.
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