Franco-American Collection logo
Franco-American Collection logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Badge, Identification
Title Working Press, "Clay vs Lisbon"
Description Press ID card for the famed Muhammed Ali - Sonny Liston Heavyweight Champsionship boxing match, held at St Dominic's Arena in Lewiston. The card belonged to Paul Labbé, himself a known local boxer, who was to serve as an additional judge for the match.

Sonny Liston was considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, and he became world heavyweight champion in 1962. Cassius Clay, on the other hand, was viewed as a fast-talking loudmouth upstart by many in the mainstream press. The first match, between Liston and Clay in February of 1964 was therefore 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 liscencing concerns. At the lat minute, 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 champtionship.

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. There was outright public hostility to Ali after his embrace of the philosophy of the Nation of Islam.

The event, on the night of May 25, was viewed as something of a debacle. 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.

Accession number 2013.0