Robert Lipsyte Remembers Muhammad Ali's 'Polarizing' Style Of Boxing06:53
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Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, shouting and gesturing shortly after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw on May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine.  (AP Photo/John Rooney)
Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, shouting and gesturing shortly after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw on May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine. (AP Photo/John Rooney)
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Before he was a firebrand for civil rights, before he galvanized debate about segregation, Islam and the Vietnam War, before he was known as Muhammad Ali, a young boxer named Cassius Clay astounded even casual observers of boxing with his athletic genius and unorthodox moves.

During one of his most famous fights - his 1964 championship bout with Sonny Liston - Ali flaunted an idiosyncratic style that matched his famously fast wit.

Robert Lipsyte covered that fight as a 26-year-old reporter for the New York Times. Lipsyte looks back with Here & Now's Robin Young to remember what made Ali such a singular force in the world of boxing, and how he changed the sport forever.

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This segment aired on June 9, 2016.

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