With the new film One Night in Miami landing on Amazon Prime, viewers are wanting to learn more about legendary boxer Cassius Clay, who later became Muhammad Ali. Several know that he became a world heavyweight champion but were unaware of how he achieved this goal. Now director Regina King is putting one particular boxing match against Sonny Liston front and center.
On Feb. 25, 1964, Clay entered a Miami boxing ring and faced off with Liston, the titleholder at the time. He was the underdog with 7-1 odds but still showed off his confidence. Once the opening bell rang, Liston raced in and tried to secure a quick victory, but Clay danced out of his way. He continued to bob and weave while utilizing speed and mobility. Clay pushed his advantage, fought through stinging eyes allegedly caused by ointment on Liston's gloves and secured a TKO victory after the sixth round.
Following the victory, Clay headed out for a night on the town with Malcolm X, Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown, and singer-songwriter Sam Cooke. This night and the four men became the focus of One Night in Miami. Although there is still a considerable amount of unknown information about what they discussed during the eventful night.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, King explained why she wanted to get involved in the film. She said that the dialogue was powerful and that she wanted to tell the stories of four men with real fears and emotions. Although King acknowledged that she was unaware of the fact that the four men were friends prior to getting involved in the project.
"I was not familiar with the night at all," she explained. "I was familiar with Cassius and Malcolm's friendship, and I knew Cassius and Sam had a friendship, but it wasn't until I read the script that I was aware that they had spent that night together. It wasn't until I did my research that I even saw pictures of Cassius and Jim Brown together. I mean, it makes sense, but I didn't know that."
One Night in Miami is now available for streaming audiences on Amazon Prime. The film stars Aldis Hodge as Brown, Eli Goree as Clay, Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X and Leslie Odom Jr. as Cooke. One Night in Miami currently has a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes with one critic calling it "a vital piece of work" while another refers to it as "masterful."