Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston by Neil Leifer

On February 25th 1964, Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston to win his first ever heavyweight crown. Neil Leifer was able to capture the perfect shot of Muhammad Ali towering over Sonny Liston, which would later be found on several front pages of many magazines and newspapers. This fight was very important for Ali because it marked his first of many heavyweight title wins.

Being a photographer myself, I have learned that it is important to be in the right spot at the right time. Neil Leifer was interviewed after taking the photo and he said “I was obviously in the right seat, but what matters is I didn’t miss it.” If Neil Leifer hadn’t captured this moment there would be of been another front page newspaper image. What makes this photo great, is that Leifer captured the moment using a high aperture setting. The higher the aperture setting the larger the focus point. Leifer was shooting with a high aperture and was able to capture not only the fighters, but also the crowd’s amazed reaction in the back.

Clearly Leifer knew what he was doing as he is one of the top sports photographers. Leifer has had much success during his 50 years of professional photography. His photos have appeared on front pages of major magazines such as: Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, and People. The angles that he captures at significant sporting events truly inspires me to become more of a creative photographer.



Amateur Photographer. (2014, October 23). Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston by Neil Leifer – Iconic Photograph. Retrieved October 15, 2018, from

Neil Leifer Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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