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Read online or Download The Phantom Punch: The Story Behind Boxing's Most Controversial Bout (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Rob Sneddon


Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608933655
Publisher:
Down East Books
Publication date:
10/04/2015
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
204,012
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Overview

 

The two bouts between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston are widely considered the most anticipated and controversial fights in heavyweight boxing. Cassius Clay won the first bout in Miami Beach in February 1964, when Liston refused to come out for the seventh round. The second fight took place in Lewiston, Maine, fifteen months later in May 1965. Halfway through the first round, Ali countered a left from Liston with a fast right, knocking Liston down. He did not get up. Ali’s right was so fast many spectators never even saw it. It was quickly dubbed the Phantom Punch and rumors began to swirl that Liston had thrown the fight. Many who believed Liston—a brutal fighter who picked up boxing in prison—had also thrown the first fight the year before in Miami were now vindicated.

Journalist and sports historian Rob Sneddon takes a fresh look at the infamous Muhammad Ali–Sonny Liston fight of May 25, 1965, which ended in chaos at a high school hockey rink in Lewiston, Maine. Sneddon digs deep into the fight’s background and comes up with fascinating new takes on boxing promotion in the 1960s; on Ali’s rapid rise and Liston’s sudden fall; on how the bout ended up in Lewiston —and, of course, on Ali’s phantom punch. That single lightning-quick blow triggered a complex chain reaction of events that few people understood, either then or now.

Even if you’ve seen films of the fight and think you know what happened, this book will change your perspective on boxing’s greatest controversy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/28/2015
In this intriguing, exhaustively researched chronicle, sport historian and Down East Magazine editor Sneddon examines the infamous "phantom punch" that ended the second Ali-Liston bout in May of 1965. The controversy that followed Cassius Clay's 1964 upset of the menacing Sonny Liston in their first bout was multiplied a thousand fold when Clay pledged allegiance to the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. White America couldn't decide which black man it hated and feared more: the former criminal with mob ties, or the adherent to Islam. Against a backdrop of political assassinations and the rising turmoil of the '60s, one venue after another rejected the chance to present the rematch, leaving Lewiston, Maine, to claim the spotlight. While Sneddon's ostensible subject is the phantom punch—a seemingly innocuous blow that K.O.'d Liston in the first round—he is equally concerned with New England characters such as promoters Sam Michael and "Suitcase" Sam Silverman. Diligent historical research allows Sneddon to convincingly evoke the surreal marriage of a heavyweight title bout with an economically struggling city. Sneddon doesn't solve the mystery behind the punch (and dismisses any claim of a fix), but he vividly recreates the social upheavals that brought the most glamorous contest in boxing to the northeastern hinterlands of the nation. (Oct.)

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