Home Muhammad Sonny Liston pulled a gun on Muhammad Ali in a Las Vegas casino before returning to his game of blackjack

Sonny Liston pulled a gun on Muhammad Ali in a Las Vegas casino before returning to his game of blackjack

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Before Jake Paul, Conor McGregor, Naseem Hamed and Floyd Mayweather started bashing their rivals, Muhammad Ali was the trash king of combat sports.

The “Louisville Lip” has earned a reputation as a loud talker outside the ring and a flashy fighter inside.

Ali was the master of psychological warfare

Thanks to the influence of legendary wrestler Gorgeous George, Ali began to promote himself in a way the sport had never seen before – mocking opposition fighters while giving himself the nickname “The Greatest”. .

Although it might seem ordinary for fighters to act this way now, Cassius Clay (as he was known in his formative years) was revolutionizing the sports world one insult at a time.

After winning Olympic gold at the 1960 Games in Rome, Clay amassed a 19-game winning streak over Henry Cooper and Archie Moore to fight heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

A fearful character with dark ties to the mob and certified dynamite in his hands, Liston was one of the most intimidating characters in all of sport and few came across him. That was until Clay signed on to fight him.

Clay was an American hero after the 1960 Olympics

Clay was an American hero after the 1960 Olympics

The youngster may have overstepped the mark by harassing Liston on his doorstep at 1am

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The youngster may have overstepped the mark by harassing Liston on his doorstep at 1am

Besides harassing the champion at every opportunity when he had a microphone in his face, Clay even showed up at Liston’s house with a megaphone and a bus in the early hours of the morning.

Tensions came to a head when Clay approached Liston at the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas while the champion was playing a game of blackjack.

In no mood due to his bad luck with the cards, Liston pointed a gun at Clay and his entourage and shot the cocky challenger twice to strike fear into the hearts of the nearby crowd.

Luckily the gun was filled with blanks, but Clay still remembered the fear he had felt at the time.

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Clay bullied Liston

Clay bullied Liston

But the heavyweight champion literally fired back with interest

But the heavyweight champion literally fired back with interest

“I dodged,” he wrote in his autobiography “The Greatest, My Own Story Muhammed Ali.”

“A shiver ran down my spine. CLICK! CLICK! He was still aiming at me.

“I jumped over the blackjack table, then the dice table, scattering chips and cards on the floor, dodging and dodging to the end in the streets, and behind me the gun: BANG! SLAM! “

“When I got back to my hotel room, I threw myself on the bed, panting. My heart was beating fast, my hands were shaking. I thought maybe I should leave Liston alone.

Clay beat Liston twice in 1964 and again in 1965

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Clay beat Liston twice in 1964 and again in 1965

“They said the joke was on me. Liston’s gun was loaded blank. Willie had it set up, he told Liston I was coming and prepped it with a blank gun.

The pair shared the ring twice, with Ali winning twice to cement his reputation as the top heavyweight of his era.

George Foreman, Joe Frazier and many others would feel the wrath of Ali’s silver tongue and quick wit, thankfully none were as happy as Liston.

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