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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Cassius Clay "Shocks The World"
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Feb. 25, 1964

Few give 22-year-old Cassius Clay much of a chance to dethrone heavyweight champ Sonny Liston. Only three of 46 writers covering the fight in Miami Beach had picked Clay, a 7-1 underdog. Most thought of him as a loud-mouthed braggart.

But the kid with the quick quip, who kept insisting he would "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," lives up to his words, showing his hands are even faster than his mouth. His long left jab keeps bouncing off Liston's face.

Clay's most troublesome time comes after the fourth round, when he is blinded by ointment applied to Liston's cut. He talks of quitting, but trainer Angelo Dundee forces him to continue. A round later, Clay's vision is clear, and he lands several solid blows, opening a cut under Liston's left eye.

The fight is even after six rounds, according to the three officials. Before the seventh starts, a bleeding Liston remains in his corner, complaining of numbness in his left shoulder down to his forearm. Clay is the champion on a TKO.

"I shocked the world!" Ali repeatedly screams after he, er, shocks the world.

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