Charles L. “Sonny” Liston became the world heavyweight champion in 1962 after knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round, repeating the knockout the following year in defense of the title.

Liston lost the title in 1964 to Muhammad Ali midst claims that he had been drinking heavily the night before the fight and had entered the bout with a lame shoulder. In a 1965 rematch with Ali, Liston suffered an unexpected first-round knockout that led to unresolved suspicions of a fix.