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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

FBI suspected iconic 1964 Ali-Liston fight was rigged by mob -- By Thom Loverro, The Washington Times

Muhammad Ali (Formerly Cassius Clay) in action against Sonny Liston. Ali was the winner in Miami Beach, Florida on February 25, 1964. (AP Photo)Fifty years ago today, Muhammad Ali "shocked the world" and beat one of the most fearsome fighters ever to put on a pair of boxing gloves, heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

But what if that storied fight was not what it seemed?

It happened Feb. 25, 1964, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The film clip and sound bite have now become part of the American story — Liston quitting his stool before the eighth round, a young Cassius Clay, as Ali was known then, bouncing around the ring, waving his hands, yelling to the reporters at ringside who thought he would be killed by the more veteran boxer. "I'm king of the world! I'm king of the world!" Ali proclaimed.

Sports Illustrated named it the fourth-greatest sports moment of the 20th century. The fight also is the foundation of the Muhammad Ali story: the three-year heavyweight championship reign of dominance, followed by his three-year exile as he fought the Vietnam War draft. The Ali-Joe Frazier fights, the upset over George Foreman in Zaire, the reconstruction of Ali from a pariah to a national treasure. All of it begins with a brash Clay "shocking the world."

Maybe it wasn't such a shock, as 4-decade-old documents released to The Washington Times under the Freedom of Information Act show the FBI suspected the fight may have been fixed by a Las Vegas figure tied to organized crime and to Liston. The documents show no evidence that Ali was in on the scheme or even knew about it. And nothing suggests the bureau ever fully corroborated the suspicions it investigated.

The FBI documents released to The Times are the most detailed information to date about suspicions of a fix in the first Clay-Liston fight, though they are likely to only continue the debate and not resolve it.

Ali did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Times.

The memos, so sensitive that they were addressed directly to Director J. Edgar Hoover, show the FBI suspected Ash Resnick, a Las Vegas gambler with organized crime connections, of fixing multiple boxing matches, including the first Clay-Liston fight.

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