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Publishers WeeklyLess a biography of Muhammed Ali and Sonny Liston themselves, and more of a documentation of their epic battle for the title of world heavyweight champion, Mee begins by relating as much as is known about the two legends' introduction to boxing. Liston, considered an oafish criminal with suspected mob ties, was in his early 20s serving time for robbery in Missouri State Penitentiary when Father Stevens encouraged him to try the sport. Cassius Clay, who had a slightly less volatile youth, was led to boxing by a police officer, Joseph Elsby Martin. Clay, however, remained an unpopular fighter due to his membership in The Nation of Islam, where he was renamed "Muhammad Ali" by leader Elijah Muhammad. Clay's defeat of Liston in six rounds in Miami in 1964 is a classic underdog story, as few expected him to win, and Mee details every aspect of the fight, from the weeks of training, to the blow-by-blow, to the aftermath. Their 1965 rematch fight, held in Lewiston, Maine is given similar treatment. The final pages deal briefly with the rest of the fighters' careers, including Ali having his boxing license with-drawn for draft evasion and Liston's mysterious death just after Christmas in 1969. Boxing fans will appreciate the depth of Mee's exploration of one of the most fascinating battles for the heavyweight belt of all time.
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