Live

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:30 PM-09:00 PM

LIVE: Off The Ball
'I was astounded by how many p...
Other Sports

'I was astounded by how many people wanted him dead' | Was Sonny Liston murdered?

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

18:47 14 Jan 2020

There is plenty of reason to believe that former heavyweight boxing champion of the world Sonny Liston was murdered, according to Shaun Assael.

The author of ‘The Murder of Sonny Liston’ was on Off The Ball and spoke about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the boxer’s death.

“The autopsy reads, ‘Natural causes with heroin metabolites in his system.’ So the accidental overdose is what most people think. And yet for 30 odd years, I’m hearing conspiracy theories that there’s more.

“So I go to Las Vegas to try to unravel those theories and what I find is that Sonny was in the crosshairs of a very dangerous period both for Las Vegas and him.

“He was under federal investigation, there was a drug dealer who he crossed in the set-up who had a contract out on his life.

“As I said, he’s making noises about an Ali fight nobody wants him to make - not the mob, not the Nation of Islam. He’s involved with a gang leader and he’s snorting heroin with that gang leader, he’s dating a junkie - I could go on,” Assael said.

Assael is not the first author to have written a book about Liston’s life but he explained that he is the only one to really delve into the former heavyweight champion’s death.

“So as I begin unravelling this, and I should say that the idea for the book - there have been a number of great biographies, the late Nick Tosches wrote a phenomenal one and I encourage everyone to read those.

“But most of those biographies race through the last year of Sonny’s life. By setting a book entirely in that last year I was able to develop what not a lot of people knew about him and by the time I’m done I’m astounded by the cast of characters that want Sonny dead,” Assael commented.

Liston often found himself in trouble with the law yet had a close relationship with the police, which may have resulted in his death.

“One of the reasons the cops let him go so often was that he was snitching for a police detective who was the head of the organised crime bureau there. So again, was Sonny snitching?

“There’s a lot of people who got killed in Vegas for doing that. But he had that champions faith in him, that all champions boxers have. That he could duck any punch. He just didn’t see that one coming,” Assael said.

While natural causes are the official reasoning behind Liston’s death, there are certainly plenty of reasons to believe his death may well have been murder.

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Boxing Crime Murder Shaun Assael Sonny Liston

Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

LIVE: Off The Ball

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:30 PM-09:00 PM

Share

Up next

LIVE: The Football Show

LIVE: The Football Show

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

10:00 PM-12:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

05:00 AM-07:00 AM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 AM-07:30 AM

Share

LIVE: OTB AM

LIVE: OTB AM

07:30 AM-10:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Share

Leaders Questions with Stuart Lancaster

Leaders Questions with Stuart Lancaster

12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Wednesday Night Rugby

LIVE: Wednesday Night Rugby

05:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

06:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Newsround

LIVE: Newsround

07:00 PM-07:30 PM

Share

LIVE: Off The Ball

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:30 PM-08:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Wednesday Night Rugby

LIVE: Wednesday Night Rugby

08:00 PM-09:00 PM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on