The year was 1964. The country was embroiled in the Viet Nam War. Racial tension in America was a powder keg. Network TV was only 17 years old, and most TV programming was still in black & white. President Kennedy had been assasinated only months before. The world was in transition. It was with this background that a brazen heavyweight, an Olympic Gold Medal Champion a mere four years prior, dared to take on the odious Sonny Liston. The scene was Miami Beach. Two black men were about to fight in a city that only a few scant years prior, had banned interracial boxing matches.
It was drama, action, power, speed, and intensity...all played out to a sellout crowd and a national closed circuit TV audience. The fight was one thing. Clay scored the upset. The social implications began the very next morning when Clay announced that he was now Muhammad Ali, a Black Muslim, having discarded his 'slave name' as he had his gold medal in a river in his hometown of Louisville a few years before. The world was never the same.