By Sterling Pingree
Greatest of all time. Now it is attached to Tom Brady but until Super Bowl 49, the only GOAT in sports was Muhammad Ali. One of the most iconic faces in ALL of sport. The loudest talker, the most recognizable athlete that existed prior to the internet.
One of the most iconic images in the history of sport is Ali, waving for the befallen Sonny Liston to get up off of the canvas in the first round of their world heavyweight title fight in 1965. Even with that short description, you can picture it: the angle of Ali’s elbow, to the look on his face, to the photographer behind the turnbuckle with a smirk that says “the fix is in.” The image endures even now, almost 54 years since it was snapped.
The collage of sport is incomplete without this image of Ali, just as it would be without Jordan, Gretzky, Ruth or Brady. I’m not saying anything that everybody doesn’t already know. What people might not know is that this monumental moment took place in Lewiston, Maine.
Which is more unfathomable: that one of sport’s most iconic moments happened in Maine or that nobody knows that it happened here?
Whose fault is that? The people of Maine are modest, not showy of boastful, but the fact that a plaque or a statue doesn’t reside outside the Lewiston Colisee right now boggles my mind. I’m even more boggled now that as a result of a Drive poll from Wednesday, that people think a college hockey title is a bigger moment.
Ali- Liston is a bigger sports moment than 42-1-2. It is also a bigger moment than most Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, World Cups and all Olympics since Jesse Owens (except for the Miracle on Ice). So I’m not impugning UMaine’s accomplishment, Ali-Liston is a runaway train, they’re the ’76 Hoosiers, Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide, US Steel, death, taxes and The Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
Sports Illustrated, a magazine that Ali graced the cover of 38 times which is second only to Michael Jordan, ranked Ali-Liston as the 4th Greatest Sports moment of the 20th’s century. I’m not sure where 42-1-2 ranked.
Ali-Liston: Must be the greatest. It shook up the WORLD.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9f The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.Com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.