Press ID Badge, Clay-Liston Boxing Match, Lewiston, 1965

Contributed by Franco-American Collection


This press ID card was issued for the famed Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston World Heavyweight Championship boxing match, held in Lewiston on May 25, 1965. The card belonged to Paul Labbé, himself a successful local boxer, who served 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 controversial 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 licensing concerns. At the lat minute, the Central Maine Youth Arena (formerly the St. Dominic's Arena) in Lewiston Maine, was selected as the venue - one of the smallest ever to host a heavyweight championship.

Muhammad 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.

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.

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About This Item

  • Title: Press ID Badge, Clay-Liston Boxing Match, Lewiston, 1965
  • Creation Date: 1965-05-25
  • Subject Date: 1965-05-25
  • Location: Lewiston, Androscoggin County, ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 13 cm x 7.5 cm
  • Local Code: 2013.0.57
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

Franco-American Collection
USM, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston, ME 04240
(207) 753-6545

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