Cassius Clay vs Tunney Hunsaker (partially found footage of boxing match; 1960)

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Program promoting the bout.

Status: Partially Found

On 29th October 1960, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) faced Tunney Hunsaker in a professional heavyweight boxing match. Occurring in front of 6,180 at the Freedom Hall in Louisville, it was Clay's first professional fight, with him winning the six-round encounter via a unanimous decision.


Even before his first ranked fight, Cassius Clay had already gained boxing accolades.[1][2][3][4] At the 1960 Summer Olympics, he defeated Poland's Zbigniew Pietrzykowski to win gold in the light heavyweight division.[1][2] In contrast, Tunney Hunsaker, a 30-year-old who was the Fayetteville, West Virginia police chief, had suffered a poor run of form, losing six consecutive fights including against then-world title contenders Tom McNeeley and Ernie Terrell.[5][2][1][3] According to BoxRec, his professional fight record was at 17-9-1 prior to this clash.[5] Nevertheless, while Clay was considered the favourite going in, Hunsaker maintained that he still believed he had a chance of winning, stating "I heard he won the Olympics, so I knew I was fighting a tough bird, but I don't think there was ever a fighter - not a good one anyway - who went in the ring thinking he was gonna get beat. I know I never did."[3][2] All net revenue generated from the encounter would be directed to the Kosair Crippled Children's Hospital.[6] Hunsaker also recalled that he and Clay met at a sports store to promote the fight, noting that while Clay was messing around with a basketball, he displayed signs of nervousness and apprehension.[3][2]

The Fight

The bout took place at the Freedom Hall with around 6,180 in attendance.[1] Considering Clay's later career, it perhaps came as no surprise when the 18-year-old proceeded to dominate throughout the encounter.[3][2][1] Hunsaker recalled that Clay proved incredibly agile for his size, praising him as a heavyweight with the speed of a middleweight.[1][3] Hunsaker harnessed a variety of maneuverers and techniques to try and unbalance the younger boxer.[3][2][1] However, this only intensified Clay, enhancing his overall performance.[3][2][1] From every position, he was able to land blows without sustaining hits himself. By the third round, several Clay blows inflicted a nosebleed, with Hunsaker suffering a cut to his right eye in the fourth.[1] Despite the match's brutality, Hunsaker held on for all six rounds, sustaining swollen and near-shut eyes by the time the fight ended.[2][1] Clay won all six rounds and achieved victory via a unanimous decision.[1][2][3][4][5]

Post-bout, Hunsaker predicted Clay would be a future world champion.[3][2] This proved true when on 25th February 1964, Clay defeated Sonny Liston to win the World Heavyweight Championship.[7][1][2][4] Muhammad Ali has since been declared as one of the greatest boxers of all-time, with a professional record of 56-5.[7][1][2][4] Hunsaker meanwhile competed until a KO loss to Joe Shelton on 6th April 1962 caused him to suffer a brain hemorrhage and require two subsequent brain operations, forcing his retirement from the ring.[1][2][5] Nevertheless, Hunsaker and Ali remained in touch, the latter even appearing at the police chief's retirement party in 1992.[2][1]


A cameraman was present during the Clay-Hunsaker fight, with a newsreel showcasing some in-ring action and Clay's hand being raised upon being declared the victor. However, as the recording was intended for a newsreel with a limited runtime, most footage of the six-round event was cut from the final product. Thus, only key highlights of Clay's first-ever professional bout is publicly available with the uncut tape's fate remaining unknown.




Newsreel of the bout.

Uncut HD footage of the bout.

See Also