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Ali-Liston Phantom Punch Fight - 1965 Perhaps the most controversial fight in boxing history: Ali-Liston II in Lewiston, ME on May 25, 1965. Ali (then Cassius Clay) had upset Liston on February 25, 1964 in Miami to win the world heavyweight title. The rematch, scheduled for Boston, was delayed by a few months because Ali needed emergency hernia surgery. By the time Ali had healed, he was tremendously unpopular because of his ties with the Black Muslims. Liston had connections in organized crime. Boston wanted no part of the fight, so it was moved to a high school hockey arena in Lewiston. Rumors that something odd would happen circulated before the fight. Watch Ali's famous "phantom punch" knock out Liston, a man who had never been floored before. Some people think it is a perfect punch. Others think Liston took a dive. Also watch ex-champ Jersey Joe Walcott botch the refereeing. Ali never goes to a neutral corner, yet Liston is somehow counted out. Ali wasn't exactly a one-punch knockout artist. He only had two first-round knockouts in his pro career. Renowned sports writer Red Smith, one of many respected journalists who maintained the fight was fixed, said, "I saw the punch; it wouldn't have crushed a grape."
Tags: boxing  Ali  Liston  phantom  punch  Lewiston 
Added: 26th October 2012
Views: 3351
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Pfc on 2012-10-27 
Was it really this long ago?
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2012-10-27 
Yep--it's been nearly 48 years. I remember NBC had a program on the 25th anniversary of the fight. At that time eople in Lewiston were still embarrassed about what happened and don't embrace their connection to the fight.

To comment on someone's Twitter post: Yes, there was a punch--but few people believe it had the impact to drop Liston. Liston had never been floored in his life.

Nat Fleischer was not the official timekeeper, nor any other official. He was just at rignside to report on the fight for The Ring magazine. Fleischer heard the knockdown timekeepr count to ten and shouted to ref Walcott that the fight was over. Walcott screwed up: He should have restarted the count once Ali went to a neutral corner. (I don't think he ever did!) I've always said this fight proves that great fighters do not necessarily make great referees.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2014-12-17 
...And the Oscar goes to Sonny Liston!
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2015-05-21 
Good heavens--the 50th anniversary of this debacle is near. I'm still waiting for Joe Walcott to make Ali go to a neutral corner.
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