CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
After winning the gold medal in the Olympic Games in Rome, a fighter who would later be known as Muhammad Ali decided to make the jump to professional boxing and won the heavyweight crown, with a record of 56 victories and 5 defeats. Also, a 30-year-old London woman introduced the miniskirt. In Zulia, a tanker owned by Creole Petroleum Corporation crashed into the Rafael Urdaneta bridge, killing 10 persons
After winning gold in the Olympic Games in Rome, Clay made the move to professional ranks, and on February 25, 1964 he defeated another US fighter, Sonny Liston File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation
His special boxing style, which he described as floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee or his self-praise: "I am the greatest" or "I'm young, I'm handsome, I'm fast and I can't possibly be beaten," made Cassius Clay a boxer in a league of his own.
After winning gold in the Olympic Games in Rome, Clay made the move to professional ranks, and on February 25, 1964 he defeated another US fighter, Sonny Liston, to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Later, he would fight Liston again, and knocked him out in the firs round with one of the most beautiful KO's in the history of boxing. The blow sending Liston to the canvas was known as the phantom punch.
After becoming a Muslim, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He defended his title on several occasions until he lost it, but not in the ring; authorities had decided to strip him of his championship belt for refusing to enlist in the Vietnam War.
Seven years later, in an attempt to regain his crown, Joe Frazier would dish out his first defeat. Nevertheless, he did not spare his next shot at the crown, knocking out George Foreman in Kinshasa (Zaire) in 1974.
With a record of 56 victories and 5 defeats, "The Greatest Ever" would retire in 1981, after losing to Trevor Berbick.
If Muhammad Ali earned his reputation in the sports world in 1964, fashion belonged to Mary Quant, a London designer who revolutionized the world of fashion by shortening skirts and creating the miniskirt.
In Venezuela, President Rómulo Betancourt handed command over to his successor Raúl Leoni, who governed with the support of a coalition of parties called the "Broad Base," comprised of AD, Unión Republicana Democrática and Frente Nacional Democrático. Further, the Gazette of the Federal District published a decree-law establishing the creation of Sidor, a subsidiary of Venezuelan Guyana Corporation (CVG), which would be aimed at directing and developing the iron and steel area.
One of the most relevant bits of news that year would take place on Lake Maracaibo, in the western state of Zulia, when close to midnight on April 6, supertanker Esso Maracaibo owned by Creole Petroleum Corporation and loaded with 262,000 oil barrels crashed into the Rafael Urdaneta bridge, killing ten and collapsing the structure connecting Maracaibo with the Eastern Coast of the Lake. Zulia's inhabitants believed that it was some sort of natural disaster and took to the streets.
By the end of the year, Leoni's government enacted a Law on Sentence Commutations, allowing social reinsertion of individuals processed on insurrection charges.
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