Ali, Heavyweights, This Day in Boxing

This Day July 22, 1963 Muhammad Ali Sees Sonny Liston KO Floyd Patterson

Muhammad Ali Sees Sonny Liston KO Floyd Patterson

Sonny Liston retains the heavyweight crown


Sonny Liston 215½ lbs

Floyd Patterson 194½ lbs

KO at 2:10 in round 1 of 15

Location: Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Referee: Harold Krause

World Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Liston)




The contract for the first Liston-Patterson fight stated that Patterson, if he should lose, had the right to a rematch within a year. It also dictated that Patterson and Liston would each get 30% of the gate and 20% of the closed circuit revenue.

The fight was originally set for April 4, 1963, in Miami Beach, Florida, but was changed to April 10 when Liston injured his left knee. The match was then moved to June 27 in Las Vegas, Nevada, because of a recurrence of the knee injury. The bout was postponed yet again and rescheduled for July 22 after Patterson had to have a benign tumor removed from between his fourth and fifth knuckles on his right hand.

The fight was shown on closed circuit TV in 143 locations in 109 cities.

Liston was a 4-1 favorite.

In a UPI poll of 64 sports writers, 51 picked Liston to win and 13 picked Patterson.

A crowd of 7,816 at the Las Vegas Convention Center produced a gross gate of $286,190.

Shortly before the fight started, a ringside vendor yelled, “Last round, folks.”

Patterson was floored three times and counted out at 2:10 of the first round. The rematch lasted four seconds longer than the first fight.

On August 21, 1963, the WBA voted to suspend any member state approving a contract with a return bout clause. The regulation was inspired by the contract Liston was forced to sign to get a title shot against Patterson. Delegates described it as the worst ever seen in the boxing business.


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