“Clay Beats Liston: February 25, 1964″
of his fellow Kentuckians. The first thing I noticed in all the newspapers that
(UPI). This displayed three things about the Kentucky press, first the belief
that Clay’s fight was not important enough to cover themselves, secondly that
the newspapers probably did not make enough money to send their own reporters
down to Miami Beach, and finally the localization of the newspapers’ audiences.
Another aspect of the fight is the effect it had on Kentucky society, especially
the sports scene.
I primarily noticed that almost all the papers used reports from the
Associated Press and the United Press International, even the (Louisville)
Courier-Journal, one of Clay’s hometown newspapers, used reports from the
Associated Press. The only articles that were not written by a member of the
Associated Press were the very rare editorials written about the fight. The use
of reports from the AP and the UPI shows that most newspapers did not think the
written by a member of the Associated Press or the United Press International,
however that one article was an editorial about Cassius Clay’s new found wealth
and not the actual fight. The lack of coverage also proves that even though
blacks were supposed to be equal to whites, that in reality achievements by
blacks and whites were treated differently. None of the newspapers that I read
displayed a large picture or headline proclaiming that Cassius Clay was the new
heavyweight champion of the world. Most newspapers had an average sized
headline stating that Clay was the new champion, but none had an article about
were believed to be less important than the achievements of whites. I saw
received almost a page of coverage, I am alarmed by the fact that this one page
of coverage on basketball was the same amount of coverage for the boxing match.
The stories by Associated Press and United Press International illustrate
two more facts about Kentucky during the 1960’s, primarily that most of
Kentucky’s newspapers were too poor to send their own reporters to Miami Beach,
and furthermore that the audience was very localized to events either in their
own city or the state of Kentucky. Although I am not surprised that newspapers
send reporters to Miami, I was surprised that newspapers like Louisville’s
Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald, which have a much larger circulation,
did not send even one reporter from their staff to cover the fight. The absence
of reporters from the (Louisville) Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald
proves that even the newspapers from the major cities in Kentucky had a very
learning about the world that surrounds them, especially from affairs of other
towns. For example, if the Lexington Herald only wrote reports about the events
effecting the city and a few major events that would effect the entire state, it
would be possible that something occurred in Paducah that might not be reported
in Lexington for several days, even months. The localization in rural areas
such as Paducah and Bowling Green is not surprising, but when urban places like
Louisville and Lexington localize their news many important events in other
areas of the state could not be reported for an extended period of time.
The most important effect of Cassius Clay defeating Sonny Liston is the
placement of Kentucky, and specifically Louisville on the map of boxing. For
many years there were numerous boxing gyms in and around Louisville that
national media until Cassius Clay, who was a product of such gyms, defeated
Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship. When Clay won the gold medal in
recognition for producing Clay, however they were not fully recognized until
1964 when Clay beat Liston. Clay’s victory made the gyms in Louisville more
popular as more and more youths flocked to the gyms in the hopes of one day
becoming heavyweight champion of the world. Although none of these kids would
ever win the heavyweight championship, their efforts in the ring made Louisville
one of the centers of amateur boxing.
in the 1960’s versus the 1990’s. I also realized that Kentucky newspapers
almost always localize their news and hardly publish national or international
news articles that do not come from the Associated Press or some other news
because Kentuckians are only exposed to news that affects them and nobody else.
of the world.
(1) Courier-Journal, [Louisville], Feb. 26, 1964, p. 3.
(2) Lexington Herald, Feb. 26, 1964, p. 9.
(3) Paducah Sun-Democrat, Feb. 26, 1964, p. 10-B.
(4) Park City Daily News, [Bowling Green] Feb. 26, 1964, p. 9, 20.