The Beatles meet Cassius Clay

On this day The Beatles were taken to the training camp of boxer Cassius Clay - later known as Muhammad Ali - who was preparing for his 25 February fight against heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

The Beatles with Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), 18 February 1964

Obviously we were having an effect, because all these people were clamouring to meet us - like Muhammad Ali, for instance. We were taken to meet him on that first trip. It was a big publicity thing. It was all part of being a Beatle, really; just getting lugged around and thrust into rooms full of press men taking pictures and asking questions. Muhammad Ali was quite cute, he had a fight coming up in a couple of days with Sonny Liston. There is a famous picture of him holding two of us under each arm.
George Harrison

The Beatles with Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), 18 February 1964

The meeting took place at Miami's Fifth Street gym.

I sparred with Cassius Clay, as he was called then - I taught him everything he knew. That was a thrill, of course, and I was putting my money on Liston, so I really knew what was happening!
Ringo Starr

In the evening The Beatles went to a drive-in movie, where they watched Elvis Presley in Fun In Acapulco.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

7 responses on “The Beatles meet Cassius Clay

  1. Matt

    I just found a matted print still in wrapping in my closet of the 2nd print shown here. Titled: Muhammad Ali & The Beatles 5th st. Gym Miami Beach,Fla. Is it worth anything unsigned?

  2. Laurence Cheeseman

    Hi Chris
    Great photos. I have two of your signed pictures of the day at the gym with Beatles and Cassius Clay. I am considering selling these and wondered if you could advise me on where i should advertise these or maybe Auction. Have you any idea what they may be worth?
    Regards Laurence

  3. NEIL

    It’s a pity that Brian Epstein arranged meetings with people who had no interest in the Beatles, but who were only concerned with putting them down or attracting publicity for themselves.

  4. robert

    Your point about Epstein is valid except for the fact that at that time, there was no “rock n roll” industry – as Ringo once said, The Beatles were brought up in “show business” where everyone did all types of publicity stunts. This would never happen now – but in the same way the Beatles really shouldn’t have been dragged into publicity photos with Cassius Clay – Muhammad Ali would never have allowed himself to be dragged out either.

  5. misty lee

    When Paul performed here in Louisville on Tuesday he mentioned he had not seen these photos. Perhaps someone could help him with that.

    Misty from Louisville

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