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Liston,Ali and Resnick


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#1 Marmoset

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 02:34 AM

Watch any old mob flick or certain, select episodes of “Sopranos,” and you can see just how intertwined the sports world has been with that of underground gambling. References to sports gambling lingo are ripe in these works of art, and they also leave you wondering about the extent of potentially illegal involvement when it comes to events taking place nowadays.

 

Given the intense media scrutiny which surrounds today’s biggest draws when it comes to the sports gambling calendar, it’s unlikely to think that something along the lines of the Super Bowl or a premier MMA bout could be fixed with any real ease. Accessing players or referees attached to such an enlarged event is not terribly logical, and the wage scale for which participants in such events are compensated has grown immensely since the days of decades past.

 

But history does lend itself to rumors, and such is the case when you look back and consider certain events from prior eras. Players from those times were not paid enough to flatly turn down a lucrative financial opportunity. Many young athletes were also rumored to be tied into the mob from time to time as well, and the inability of earlier media outlets to track known associations and connections leaves the door wide open to a myriad of possibilities.

 

Quite recently, however, such inclinations have become far more concrete in lieu of the FBI providing historical documentation to one of America’s most famed news outlets. The event being called into question is the famed 1964 Muhammad Ali – Sonny Liston fight, and the speculation is supplanted in a seemingly never-ending string of underworld connectivity.

 

That title match-up launched a young Cassius Clay into super stardom and also gave him his first opportunity to become a media darling. He was caught on sound bite indicating “I’m the king of the world! I’m the king of the world,” following his win, and Sports Illustrated ranked the event as a part of its top five sports moments in the 20th century.

 

But while this magnificent sporting scene has lived on in the annals of history for some 50 years, the purity of it has come into question thanks to the involvement of one man whose name might be elusive to most. 


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#2 Marmoset

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 02:36 AM

Contd

 

 

Irvin “Ash” Resnick was a longtime member of the gaming community who died back in 1989 at the age of 72. Resnick was known to have worked at multiple casinos throughout the years. His primary function during those times was to organize opportunities for high-rollers to come out to the Vegas strip, and he was a major enhancement in the overall social hierarchy of the times back then. 

 

The strongest forms of evidence regarding potential involvement on behalf of Resnick as it applies to this fight goes back to a man named Barnett Magids. Magids was an avid and successful gambler from Houston who, at length, spoke with the FBI regarding conversations he had with Resnick leading up to that fight.

 

Resnick changed his stance in the last few hours prior to Liston and Clay going at it. He instructed Magids to not make any bets on the fight following a strong stance portrayed just days earlier that Liston was the clear cut choice to win.

 

The coming months saw a magazine story circulate which indicated Resnick had lost big money on the fight after backing Liston, but others in the Vegas community talked to Magids and told him differently. They believed Resnick and Liston each made over $1M that night, and Resnick was believed to be the man who organized what amounted to a fix

 

While reports have stated Lesnick was a known corruption source within the sports industry, nothing has ever been fully corroborated in reference to the situation discussed here. But, the story of Resnick goes well beyond this one incident back in 1964.

 

Resnick was a native of Brooklyn and actually played ball at NYU in the 1950’s. Rumor has it that Resnick was believed to have been involved in a point shaving scandal at the school, but was never officially found to be guilty of anything.

 

While growing up in NYC, Resnick made connections in a variety of venues, most notably with mafia consequence. Not only did Resnick have a rapport with the primary business partner of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, but he was also in tight with Charles Tourine, an affiliate of the Genovese family.

 

As Resnick moved up the social ladder in Vegas, he had other ties in the sports world as well, most notably with the one and only Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain was a regular guest of Resnick’s at Caesar’s Palace back in the 1968-69 season.

 

Like Chamberlain, many of the figures related to Resnick have since moved on to the afterlife. Liston’s end, an abrupt heroin overdose that left him to be found by his wife in 1971, has always been disputed by friends to have been a possible homicide.

 

Much has been speculated regarding Liston’s death, but little has come to fruition in regards to a definitive answer. Liston’s potential match fixing capability was put to display in more revered coverage when he had a rematch with Ali some 15 months after the first battle.

 

That fight saw Liston go down to a relatively weak punch from Ali, with several commentators and sports columnists openly suggesting an attempt to throwing the match on behalf of Liston at that time.

 

A few documentaries have been created in lieu of Liston’s life, most notably shedding light on a mysterious path which saw him spend considerable time as a street enforcer prior to the elevation of his boxing career into what it is known as today.


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#3 Marmoset

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 02:38 AM

contd

 

 

We may never know the full extent to which Liston, with the help of Resnick, was involved in a potential fix of one of the greatest fights of all time. The characters inherent within many a boxing story have always seemed to possess qualities consistent with that of the underworld, even if not directly a part of it.

 

The fact that Liston fell in line with such a description is logical, but the idea that he would willingly throw a fight that has since become the essence of his legacy is still a bit shocking. At the same time, personal motives and financial needs often take substantial importance when it comes to decision making, but the belief that one could get away with it back in an era where transparency was thin makes the possibility far more plausible than it would be currently.

 

Liston’s life and what he meant to the boxing community will be about more than just a rumor, but the FBI involvement within this case is telling. The idea and mere thought that this would happen was probably not impractical or uncommon, but the documented conversations with various members of the underworld provide a massive indicator of potential.

 

We will never know the extent to which truth lies behind these potential circumstances, and the story may be nothing more than an urban myth. But, even if that’s all it is, it sure makes you wonder. 


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