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FBI papers accuse mafia of fixing historic Ali fight

FBI papers accuse mafia of fixing historic Ali fight

HISTORIC FIGHT: In this Feb. 25, 1964 file photo, Cassius Clay, left, who later became Muhammad Ali, fights Sonny Liston during their heavyweight title match in Miami Beach, Fla. Photo: Associated Press

Newly-released documents reveal investigators from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suspected Mafia bosses of fixing Muhammad Ali’s historic fight with Sonny Liston.

Ali stunned the boxing world in 1964 when he defeated Liston as a rank outsider, snatching the World Heavyweight title.

Liston had thrown in the towel before the start of the seventh round, but now documents released in the U.S. suggest the fighter, who died in 1970, made more than $1 million by betting against himself in the bout.

It was alleged known Mafia-affiliated mobsters in Las Vegas, where the fight was staged, teamed up with Liston to bet on Ali, and that a subsequent magazine article detailing huge gambling losses for the Mob was a “cover-up” to hide the fix.

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Dec. 19, 2014