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Fifty Years Ago, Cassius Clay 'Shook Up the World'

<p>Today in 1964, Cassius Clay became the world heavyweight champion.</p>
Cassius Clay versus Charles \"Sonny\" Liston
Challenger Cassius Clay throws a straight left to the face of Charles "Sonny" Liston in third round of their heavyweight championship fight at Convention Hall in Miami Beach, Fla., on Feb. 25, 1964. The 22-year-old Clay, of Louisville, Ky., defeated Liston in a technical knockout to become the world heavyweight champion.AP FILE

On this day in 1964, Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali, became the world heavyweight champion. The 22-year-old challenger from Louisville, Ky., defeated Charles "Sonny" Liston in a technical knockout after six rounds at Convention Hall in Miami Beach, Fla.

In the photo above Clay throws a third round, straight left to the face of Liston in a match that would go down as one of the most important fights in boxing history.

Clay Ali
Cassius Clay's handlers hold him back as he reacts to the announcement that he's the new heavyweight champion of the world.AP file

After winning the fight, Clay shouted "I shook up the world," but several days later he shocked it as well when he announced he was changing his name and joining the Nation of Islam, one of the most controversial organizations in the United States at the time.

"That’s the fight that created Muhammad Ali," said Ramiro Ortiz, boxing historian and president of HistoryMiami, in a recent interview with the Miami Herald. "Muhammad Ali transcended sports and is still to this day and has been for 40 years, the most recognizable face on Planet Earth."