The film begins with Muhammad Ali before his championship debut against then List of heavyweight boxing champions Sonny Liston. During the pre-fight weigh-in Clay heavily taunts Liston (such as calling Liston a "big ugly bear"). In the fight Clay is able to dominate the early rounds of the match, but halfway through he complains of a burning feeling in his eyes (implying that Liston has tried to cheat) and says he is unable to continue. However, his trainer/manager Angelo Dundee gets him to keep fighting. Once Clay is able to see again he easily dominates the fight and right before round seven Liston quits, making Clay the second youngest heavyweight champion at the time after Floyd Patterson. Clay spends valued time with Malcolm X and the two decide to take a trip to Africa.