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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Angelo Dundee, R.I.P.

In 1957, Carmen Basilio won the middleweight championship of the world with a split decision over Sugar Ray Robinson, who is still considered by many experts to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time. Angelo Dundee was Basilio’s trainer for that fight. I was only 9 at the time, but I remember listening to a live radio broadcast of that fight with my dad. In 1964, challenger Cassius Clay outboxed heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, who quit after six rounds.… Read More »

Phantom punch anniversary: Part III

Tuesday, May 25, is the 45th anniversary of the so-called ‘phantom punch,” when Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in their rematch at Lewiston, Maine. For a retrospective of that controversial heavyweight championship fight, read my Sunday column online at pressdemocrat.com or in The Press Democrat’s sports section. In the previous two days, we discussed the myth that Liston was counted out, and the myth that his career ended that night in Lewiston. Here’s Myth No. 3: After losing in… Read More »

Phantom Punch anniversary: Part II

Tuesday, May 25, is the 45th anniversary of the so-called ‘phantom punch,” when Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in their rematch at Lewiston, Maine. For a retrospective of that controversial heavyweight championship fight, read my Sunday column online at pressdemocrat.com or in The Press Democrat’s sports section. Yesterday we discussed the myth that Liston was counted out. Myth No. 2: With his second consecutive defeat to Ali, Liston’s career was over. Fact: Liston won 14 fights in a row… Read More »

Ali wanted to quit against Liston

Forty-six years ago, on Feb. 25, 1964 at Miami Beach, Cassius Clay, just days from announcing his name change to Muhammad Ali, scored a sensational upset by dethroning Sonny Liston for boxing’s heavyweight championship. It was such a remarkable fight and its power is that it still fascinates today. But the most remarkable part of it is often lost in the retelling. In between the fourth and fifth rounds, Clay experienced vision problems. He was blinking wildly and actually wanted… Read More »

Bigger upset: Douglas over Tyson, or Clay over Liston?

<CP12.2>Today is the 20th anniversary of 42-1 underdog James “Buster” Douglas knocking out the previously unbeaten Mike Tyson to win boxing’s heavyweight championship. Later this month is the 46th anniversary of 7-1 underdog Cassius Clay defeating the seemingly invulnerable Sonny Liston. Here’s why one upset was bigger but the other more important historically. Clay-Liston, I believe, was the most important upset in sports history, the key word being “important.” It is conceivable that without Clay upsetting Liston, we would never… Read More »