12 Iconic Photographs By Neil Leifer That Defined Sport , We look at some of the New York photographer’s most...
December 16, 2021

12 Iconic Photographs By Neil Leifer That Defined Sport

We look at some of the New York photographer’s most recognisable photos that memorialised unforgettable moments in the world of sport.

  

Whilst you might not know his name, you will undoubtedly have seen his photographs. Neil Leifer is an American photographer, author and filmmaker known for memorialising some of the world’s most iconic sport events. His photography career began on his 16th birthday, when he captured the game-winning touchdown in the 1957 NFL title game, also known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. Over his 60-plus year career, Neil has captured over 15 Olympic Games, 4 FIFA World Cups, 17 Kentucky Derbies, 15 Masters golf tournaments, countless World Series games, 13 Super Bowls, and every important heavyweight boxing title fight since 1960. Best known for his photographs of the American professional boxer, Muhammad Ali, we take a look at 12 of the photographers most recognisable works.


 

NEIL LEIFER, MUHAMMAD ALI VS. SONNY LISTON, 1965

Arguably the most famous photograph in sport, Muhammad Ali Vs. Sonny Liston depicts the moment the young Muhammad Ali knocked established boxer Sonny Liston to the canvas in their rematch for the world heavy weight title. 


 

NEIL LEIFER, MUHAMMAD ALI VS. CLEVELAND WILLIAMS, 1966

Taken from above, this photograph depicts The Greatest celebrating his win, after knocking out Cleveland Williams in the second round during the World Heavyweight Title fight at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.


 

NEIL LEIFER, MUHAMMAD ALI, 1974

This photograph was taken at Muhammad Ali’s training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania in 1974 and shows a more human side to the great world champion.


 

NEIL LEIFER, MUHAMMAD ALI VS. FLOYD PATTERSON, 1965

Another iconic image of the world-renowned boxer, this photograph shows Ali walking back to his corner during the World Heavyweight Title fights against Floyd Patterson in Las Vegas.


 

NEIL LEIFER, JOE NAMATH, 1966 

Captured during a photoshoot at Life Studios, this image depicts New York Jets football quarterback Joe Namath running as if defending the ball from an unknown opponent.


 

NEIL LEIFER, RON TURCOTTE, 1973

Charged with unbridled dynamism, this photograph depicts the winning Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte riding Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in 1973.


 

NEIL LEIFER, MUHAMMAD ALI VS. GEORGE CHUVALO, 1966

Illustrating a moments pause before attack, Ali can be seen conferring with his trainer Angelo Dundee in his corner during the World Heavyweight Title fight versus George Chuvalo.


 

NEIL LEIFER, MUHAMMAD ALI VS. SONNY LISTON, 1965

Taken during the same fight as his most iconic photograph, Leifer captures Sonny Liston mid-punch as he throws a right hook towards Ali.


 

NEIL LEIFER, SYLVESTER STALLONE AS ROCKY, 1978

Although not a true sporting moment, the film Rocky has become synonymous with the sport of boxing. Therefore, it seems only right that Neil Leifer would capture Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa on set during Rocky II


 

NEIL LEIFER, PELE, 1970

Capturing Brazil’s iconic win against Italy in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, this image shows Pele being carried from the pitch by euphoric fans.


 

NEIL LEIFER, WILLIE DAVIS, 1965

Depicting the Los Angeles Dodgers’ baseball player Willie Davis sliding into second base during a game versus the Philadelphia Phillies, this photograph shows baseball as you’ve never seen it before.


 

NEIL LEIFER, JOHN F. KENNEDY, 1962

It was not just sports stars that the photographer captured but also notable spectators. Featuring United States President John F. Kennedy, the photograph was taken at an Army vs Navy college football game at Philadelphia Municipal Stadium.


 

Close

Your saved list

This list allows you to enquire about a group of works.
No items found
London Gstaad Los Angeles
Close
Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image

DOWNLOAD YOUR ART INVESTMENT GUIDE

Atmospheric image