Muhammad Ali Shocked The World From South Beach

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali “shook up the world” 55 years ago in Miami Beach.

The 22-year-old underdog, still known as Cassius Clay, shocked heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at the city’s Convention Center.

Boxing was never the same.

He reached people beyond the ring.

Ali was confident, brash, poetic.

He changed sports. He changed the world.

But he didn’t start out that way.

He transformed in South Beach.

Here is a look back at Ali’s life, training and victory here in reports from the Miami Herald archives.

Muhammad Ali is jubilant after knocking out Sonny Liston in their world heavyweight championship bout at the Miami Beach Convention Hall in 1964.
John Pineda Miami Herald File


Published Dec. 1, 2016

The street in Miami Beach where Muhammad Ali’s legend was born now bears the boxing icon’s name.

On Tuesday, Beach commissioners approved adding a new name to Convention Center Drive: “Muhammad Ali Way.”

Mayor Philip Levine proposed the change after Ali’s death on June 3.

A 22-year-old Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, grabbed the world’s attention Feb. 25, 1964, at the Miami Beach Convention Center when he upset Sonny Liston in a heavyweight title bout that became a seminal sports moment of the 20th century.

“I shook up the world!” Ali boasted in a ringside interview after he won.

Tuesday’s unveiling began with a compilation of video footage showing Ali training in South Beach at the 5th Street Gym, driving a convertible by Art Deco hotels and, of course, running across the ring, arms stretched high, after his victory against Liston.

“What’s amazing is all this happened right next door at the Miami Beach Convention Center,” Levine said at Tuesday’s unveiling. Lonnie Ali, the boxer’s widow, wrote a letter to the city saying her family was thrilled by the honor.

“Miami became Muhammad’s home while he was still a young Cassius Clay,” Lonnie Ali wrote. “It was here he began his professional career as a professional boxer in earnest, under the watchful eye of Angelo Dundee,” Ali’s trainer.

Ali’s name will go on a green street sign with two boxing gloves after Miami-Dade commissioners give final approval. The city debuted the sign outside City Hall after Tuesday’s meeting.

But Convention Center Drive isn’t alone in receiving The Greatest’s name. “I’m going to have a son next week,” said Commissioner Ricky Arriola, whose girlfriend is days away from giving birth. “His middle name is going to be Ali.”