The feeling derived from witnessing a legendary sporting triumph is utterly unique, and ranks alongside the greatest of humankind’s pleasures. A defiance of odds or establishment of what was already expected through pure skill and brilliance, spur within us an excitement as we are left in awe of the extent to a human being’s capabilities.
Sports offer such moments in their purest form and so in honour of those feelings, here is a celebration of the greatest ever sporting achievement.
#5) Muhammad Ali v Sonny Liston – February 25th 1964
The Muhammad Ali v Sonny Liston fight will for many go down as the most exhilarating in boxing history. From Ali’s trash talking leading up to the fight, to the slim chances reporters and bookies alike gave Ali, to the infamous “I am the greatest” shouts after defying all odds; this fight can justifiably be described as the epitome of boxing.
That’s not to forget the pure entertainment of the fight itself, with the brooding and seemingly imperishable Liston’s heavy handedness up against the super quick, nimble Clay. Contrasts often provide the most entertaining sporting events (i.e. Chelsea’s recent battle against Barcelona), and the difference of Liston’s classic style against Clay’s revolutionary approach provided viewers with the perfect bout.
As if the drama of the night and that leading up to it wasn’t enough, the next day Ali – then named Cassius Clay – announced to the world that he’ll be changing his name to Cassius X and converting to the Nation of Islam.
The racial backdrop of a loud arrogant black fighter, proving his skill brashly in the face of conservative white America, is but another reason justifying this fight’s inclusion on our list.