Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Charles Liston and Floyd Patterson were in a boxing match for the title of World Heavyweight Champion on September 25, 1962.
Liston was the twenty-fourth of twenty-five children born to an Arkansas sharecropper.
Patterson had two years on Liston, while Liston was one inch taller than Patterson, and much heavier.
The contract for the first fight said that if Liston beat Patterson, Patterson could ask for a rematch later that year.
The first fight was short. Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round, gaining the title of World Heavyweight Champion.
Patterson did ask for a rematch, and, after several postponements for various surgeries for both men, the second fight occurred on July 22, 1963.
Liston beat Patterson yet again. The second fight lasted only four seconds longer than the first.
Nobody knows the exact cause of Liston’s death. His wife was gone for a holiday, and when she came home, Liston had already been dead for several days. Based on the number of milk deliveries on the doorstep, his death is believed to be December 30th, 1970.
Patterson died well after Liston from Alzheimer’s disease on May 11th, 2006.