1965-05-25 Muhammad Ali w co 1 (15) Sonny Liston, St Dominic’s Youth Centre, Lewiston, Maine, USA - WBC
1965-05-25 Muhammad Ali w co 1 (15) Sonny Liston, St Dominic’s Youth Centre, Lewiston, Maine, USA - WBC. Referee: Jersey Joe Walcott. In a fight shrouded in mystery, Ali (206) retained the WBC version of the title when knocking Liston (215¼) out in the opening round. According to Nat Fleischer, of The Ring magazine, the short right-hand punch that knocked Liston out clearly landed and that the referee gave the former champion at least 20 seconds to get to his feet. Walcott counted to ten then continued to let the time run to 12 seconds before calling it over after 20 seconds had elapsed. Called the ‘Phantom Punch’, Fleischer went on to say: How hard a blow? Only Liston knows. The fiasco of the finish continued after the fight was over, with the official timer saying it lasted 60 seconds, while the camera men said it was 1.48 and Fleischer 1.42.
Continuing his career, losing just once more in a further 16 contests and still active, Liston was found dead at his home on 30 December 1970. To say he died in mysterious circumstances would be an understatement and the question unanswered as to whether or not he threw the two Ali fights he would take to the grave.