On 18 Feb. 1964, the Beatles met Cassius Clay at the boxer’s training camp in Miami, FL while he was preparing for his 25 Feb. fight with the world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.
It has been reported that Liston had first been approached about meeting the Beatles, but Liston had no interest (“I’m not posing with those sissies,” he reportedly said). The 22-year-old Clay was disliked by most reporters and was the heavy underdog in the upcoming fight (Clay was a 7-1 underdog, and 43 of the 46 sports writers covering the fight picked Liston to win) and was seeking a diversion for the press.
The Beatles arrived at the training camp and found out that Clay wasn’t there. They waited and waited and almost had to be locked in a room as Clay still didn’t show. Finally, the boxer arrived and waved the Beatles to follow him to the ring (and the photographers), saying, “Let’s go make some money.”
Clay and the Beatles clowned around in the ring for a short while and according to New York Times reporter Robert Lipsyte who was there at the time: “It was marvelous. And then it was over and they left. Cassius Clay works out. At the end he’s back in the dressing room being rubbed down after the workout. He beckoned me over because he’d seen me in the dressing room, and he said, “So, who were those little sissies?”