“A Total Eclipse Of The Sonny”

One of the half-dozen most famous Americans of the twentieth century steps into full daylight

Dressed like mod young cornermen, the Beatles arrived at Miami’s Fifth Street Gym in February 1964 for a publicity meeting with a boxer whose euphonious name meant little to them. Cassius Marcellus Clay was freshly turned 22 years old and (as a 7-to-1 betting underdog) showed a certain presumption in challenging for Sonny Liston’s heavyweight title; on this afternoon he kept the world’s greatest pop band waiting for 15 minutes.Read more »

The Business Of Boxing

Some people think that the history of boxing as a glamorous business, as promotion rather than as sport, begins with Muhammad Ali and Don King. Before Ali, they say, boxing was I just a bunch of palookas punching each other. Ali was boxing’s first showman, they say, the first glamour boy, the first bad guy whom the fans loved to hate; the first black athlete to be revered worldwide, the sport’s first true media creation.Read more »