Daily Almanac for Saturday, February 25, 2023

On this date in 1964, Cassius Clay (later called Muhammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston in seven rounds to win the world heavyweight boxing title. Here is Cassius Clay and his trainer Joe E. Martin, January 1960. By The Courier-Journal – https www.newspapers.com, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org



By late 1963, Clay had become the top contender for Sonny Liston’s title. The fight was set for February 25, 1964, in Miami Beach. Liston was an intimidating personality, a dominating fighter with a criminal past and ties to the mob. Based on Clay’s uninspired performance against Jones and Cooper in his previous two fights, and Liston’s destruction of former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson in two first-round knockouts, Clay was a 7–1 underdog. Despite this, Clay taunted Liston during the pre-fight buildup, dubbing him “the big ugly bear”, stating “Liston even smells like a bear” and claiming “After I beat him I’m going to donate him to the zoo.” Clay turned the pre-fight weigh-in into a circus, shouting at Liston that “someone is going to die at ringside tonight.” Clay’s pulse rate was measured at 120, more than double his normal 54. Many of those in attendance thought Clay’s behavior stemmed from fear, and some commentators wondered if he would show up for the bout.

The outcome of the fight was a major upset. At the opening bell, Liston rushed at Clay, seemingly angry and looking for a quick knockout. However, Clay’s superior speed and mobility enabled him to elude Liston, making the champion miss and look awkward. At the end of the first round, Clay opened up his attack and hit Liston repeatedly with jabs. Liston fought better in round two, but at the beginning of the third round Clay hit Liston with a combination that buckled his knees and opened a cut under his left eye. This was the first time Liston had ever been cut. At the end of round four, Clay was returning to his corner when he began experiencing blinding pain in his eyes and asked his trainer, Angelo Dundee, to cut off his gloves. Dundee refused. It has been speculated that the problem was due to ointment used to seal Liston’s cuts, perhaps deliberately applied by his corner to his gloves. Though unconfirmed, boxing historian Bert Sugar said that two of Liston’s opponents also complained about their eyes “burning”.

Despite Liston’s attempts to knock out a blinded Clay, Clay was able to survive the fifth round until sweat and tears rinsed the irritation from his eyes. In the sixth, Clay dominated, hitting Liston repeatedly. Liston did not answer the bell for the seventh round, and Clay was declared the winner by TKO. Liston stated that the reason he quit was an injured shoulder. Following the win, a triumphant Clay rushed to the edge of the ring and, pointing to the ringside press, shouted: “Eat your words!” He added, “I am the greatest! I shook up the world. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.”

At ringside post fight, Clay appeared unconvinced that the fight was stopped due to a Liston shoulder injury, saying that the only injury Liston had was “an open eye, a big cut eye!” When told by Joe Louis that the injury was a “left arm thrown out of its socket,” Clay quipped, “Yeah, swinging at nothing, who wouldn’t?”

In winning this fight at the age of 22, Clay became the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion. However, Floyd Patterson remained the youngest to win the heavyweight championship, doing so at the age 21 during an elimination bout following Rocky Marciano‘s retirement. Mike Tyson broke both records in 1986 when he defeated Trevor Berbick to win the heavyweight title at age 20.


Question of the Day

I received a fig tree (fruit-bearing type) as a Christmas gift and want to find out the correct time and way to set it into the ground. I live in central Mississippi.

Figs need warm weather and lots of sunlight to ripen, so we suggest that you plant the tree in a 30-gallon container with good drainage and put it outside in mid-spring if the tree is dormant; if it has leaves, be sure not to put it outside until all danger of frost has passed. If you want to plant it in the ground, put it close to the south wall of your house for extra warmth. The benefit of container planting is that you can move the tree indoors when the weather turns colder and thus extend the ripening period.

Advice of the Day

Luck is loaned, not owned.

Home Hint of the Day

Old or broken hacksaw blades make good, flexible tools for applying glue, crack filler, or cement. Use an electric grinding wheel or a hand file, to grind down the teeth a bit, then grind the end to any shape desired.

Word of the Day


1 furlong=1/8 mile=660 feet=220 yards

Puzzle of the Day

What word is that which by having a single letter transposed becomes its own opposite?

United (untied)


  • Christopher Wren (architect) – 1723
  • Thomas Moore (poet) – 1852
  • Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (U.S. First Lady) – 1864
  • Tennessee Williams (playwright) – 1983
  • Darren McGavin (actor) – 2006
  • Jim Lange (original host of The Dating Game) – 2014
  • Bill Paxton (actor) – 2017


  • Pierre Auguste Renoir (painter) – 1841
  • Zeppo Marx (comedian) – 1901
  • Jim Backus (actor) – 1913
  • Bobby Riggs (tennis player) – 1918
  • George Harrison (musician) – 1943
  • Sean Astin (actor) – 1971
  • James and Oliver Phelps (actors) – 1986
  • Justin Berfield (actor) – 1986


  • First trained monkey act in the U.S.– 1751
  • George Washington held the first Cabinet meeting as President of the United States– 1793
  • First tunnel (railroad) under Hudson River opened, linking New Jersey to New York City– 1908
  • First state gasoline tax began, Oregon– 1919
  • USS Ranger, first true aircraft carrier, launched– 1933
  • First hockey game on TV– 1940
  • Battle of Los Angeles with UFO, California– 1942
  • Cassius Clay (later called Muhammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston in seven rounds to win the world heavyweight boxing title– 1964


  • Eighteen inches of snow, Society Hill, South Carolina– 1914
  • 21 degrees, San Antonio, Tex.– 1960
  • 49.3 inches of snow fell, Mt. Washington, New Hampshire– 1969
  • Boston, Massachusetts, received 26.3 inches of snow in a two day storm– 1969
  • Light snow in Pocatello, Idaho, raised its seasonal snowfall total to 85.7 inches– 1993
  • 92 degrees F, San Antonio, Texas– 2008

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