The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights

The Murder of Sonny Liston Las Vegas Heroin and Heavyweights A re examination of the circumstances surrounding former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston s death in Las Vegas in

  • Title: The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights
  • Author: Shaun Assael
  • ISBN: 9780399169755
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A re examination of the circumstances surrounding former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston s death in Las Vegas in 1970.

    One thought on “The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights”

    1. *Review originally published in the New York Journal Of Books: nyjournalofbooks/book-Charles “Sonny” Liston, former heavyweight champion turned drug dealer, was found dead in his Las Vegas home on January 5, 1971. It was the ending of a life that had been steadily veering toward rock bottom. He wasn’t quite celebrated or beloved enough for the public to view it as a tragedy. A suspected heroin overdose was nullified with an official death from the coroner listed as “natural causes.”At [...]

    2. The Laura Palmer of the Fight Game (Sonny was born dead)The subtitle of this book says it all. This is not a book about Sonny Liston; it's a book about the seedy Vegas milieu where Sonny settled after his boxing career ended in ignominy. And even though the book is titled "The Murder of Sonny Liston" one should not expect the kind of revelations from this book that came with "I Heard You Paint Houses," the book about the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. After I read that book, I was pretty sure Frank Shee [...]

    3. I had never heard of Sonny Liston before reading this book. I had to ask my dad who he was & since my dad was a just kid when Liston was fighting he only knew one thing about Liston. My grandfather had told him that Sonny Liston had been paid by the mob lose a fight to Muhammad Ali. Sonny Liston was illiterate, mean, a drug addict, a womanizer, and a criminal. That's all this book tells you about him. Liston died of heroin overdose because Liston was a heroin addict. This book wants you to t [...]

    4. A generation before George Foreman, Sonny Liston was the biggest, meanest, most fearsome heavyweight in boxing. In an era when the heavyweight championship was still looked upon as having national significance, if only symbolically, Liston's criminal background and alleged mob ties made even the idea of him fighting for the title a matter of heated debate. But for years he was the most obviously deserving challenger. And when Floyd Patterson, the reigning champion, finally gave him a title shot, [...]

    5. CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS I listened to the audio version of the book. I listened to it on my way from NJ to Florida, and I was totally engrossed. It is worthy of a 4.5 rating. The author obviously did a yeoman's job in his investigation and research. I give him a lot of credit for his work ethic on a case that was closed in 1970-71. Notwithstanding his research and interviews of key players, I was unconvinced that Liston was murdered. The author proffers several barely plausible theories fo [...]

    6. Admittedly I knew next to nothing about Sonny Liston before I read this book. I'm not much of a sports guru, although I do love boxing movies. All I knew about Sonny Liston was that he was the fallen boxer in the famous photo with Muhammad Ali towering over him. That's it. While this book doesn't go into too much detail about Sonny's early life or early career, it does mention some key facts and picks up the story towards the end of Sonny's life and career. This book doesn't paint a pretty pictu [...]

    7. I received a digital copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. I didn't know anything about boxing prior to reading this book, but I still enjoyed the book. The author did a good job of spinning the mystery and the background information that led up to it. The description of Vegas during that time period was also really interesting. Some chapters seemed to ramble off on a different tangent, but there was a reason for that information and it all c [...]

    8. I received this book as an ARC from Penguin. It is a good piece of cross genre non-fiction. It combines True Crime and Sport. I am not a big Sport of Boxing fan. But for those who are or are just getting into Boxing this will be a very enjoyable read.What I enjoyed most about this book was the history of Las Vegas and how the policing of the city has changed over the years.

    9. Here is the link to my review on my website, The Sports Bookie. Posted Oct. 18, 2016:bobdangelobooks.weebly/theAnd here is what I wrote: It reads like a script from the old television show “Cold Case.”A former heavyweight boxing champion is found dead from an apparent heroin overdose. Undertones of organized crime and racial tension rage in Las Vegas. A police informant points a finger at rogue policeman, then is found dead under mysterious circumstances years later. Maneuvering, wrangling a [...]

    10. It's 2.40 a.m. Just finished reading The Murder Of Sonny Liston. It's an interesting read for reasons, other than the central claim in the book, that Liston was killed; the author does not get close to proving that Sonny Liston was murdered. The original verdict was that the former Heavyweight Champion of the World died of natural causes and although he was a regular taker of drugs, there was not enough drugs in his body to cause the death. In my view, that is more likely to be the truth. Althou [...]

    11. Sonny Liston is a fascinating character. He was born and raised in very difficult circumstances - abused, neglected and was almost invisible to the world - an irony for a child who grew up so large. He somehow managed to become one of the best fighter not simply for his generation but also regarded often as top boxer of all times. As a man he was full of flaws, but not without virtue. Yet most people only saw him as a junkie, womaniser and an illiterate angry black criminal. And so his death was [...]

    12. I was very excited to read this book. And it did not disappoint. Growing up, male members of my family were huge boxing fans, as was I. I heard a lot about Sonny Liston and was always interested in his life as well as his death. This book was a very good beginning for me to learn about these things. The writing was good and flowed. To learn about Vegas, boxing and the mob was an added bonus. Any boxing fan should read this book. After reading this book, I think there are unanswered questions tha [...]

    13. This was a fairly interesting read. However, it lacked a conclusion in terms of who did it, per the title of the book.

    14. CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS I listened to the audio version of the book. I listened to it on my way from NJ to Florida, and I was totally engrossed. It is worthy of a 4.5 rating. The author obviously did a yeoman's job in his investigation and research. I give him a lot of credit for his work ethic on a case that was closed in 1970-71. Notwithstanding his research and interviews of key players, I was unconvinced that Liston was murdered. The author proffers several barely plausible theories fo [...]

    15. Charles “Sonny” Liston lived a mysterious life, whether it was when he was born but could not produce a birth certificate, his young adulthood when he was imprisoned, when he was rising through the ranks of boxing to become the heavyweight champion, when he lost to Muhammad Ali twice (with the second fight ending by some accounts due to a phantom punch) and later in his post-boxing life in Las Vegas. When he was found dead in his apartment by his wife Geraldine on January 5, 1971 the medical [...]

    16. The Murder of Sonny Listen is a satisfying book, up to a point. As that point came near the conclusion, about the last fifth of the book, I was satisfied enough to read this. The positive aspects that take up most of this review are due in part to the fact that I knew so little about Liston's post boxing struggles, career attempts, and death. This work of non-fiction provides the reader with the life of Sonny Liston from his struggles as an early boy, his beginning with boxing, and what made him [...]

    17. The title causes the reader to feel that 'The Truth is Out There'. Feels like a rehash of the movie "Phantom Punch' as it recounts Liston's life in a scattershot manner. At times feels padded as it mentions Sinatra, Howard Hughes, and Joe Louis. Mentions that Liston may have been promised a percent of Ali's future earnings if he took a dive. When Ali and Frazer plan to fight for big $ Liston ends up (conveniently) dead. Swearing.

    18. Great readI really enjoyed the book. It kept my interest all the way through.The solution to Liston's murder that the author came up with is plausible. Though I don't agree. Sure sounds like the poor man simply OD'd. So much more info is available now about dementia and Parkinson's caused by concussions, something many fighters ended up suffering from. Like Muhammad Ali.I read Tosche's Liston book. The man had a hard life. I think he found some security in Las Vegas, which was nice for him and h [...]

    19. It is just what it's billed as: a re-examination of the events surrounding the death of Sonny Liston& it's done really well! It's put together in a way that leads the reader thru a number of years, telling about Liston's life he got to that end point. I really learned a lot, about Liston & Las Vegas, the 60's & 70's Prior to reading this, all I knew about Liston was that he was a boxer& I sure know a lot more now! Worth the read.ting.I did win this ARC in a First to Read Giveaway [...]

    20. 5-Star Excellent History Lesson ByPainting Photo Of Social Culture 46-Years Ago; Plus Touch Mystery For An Enjoyable Readable Book! Due My Personal Years Living In St. Louis, Mo. Met In Person "Leon Spinks" Who Fought Ali, I Had An Awareness Of Sonny Liston! "Historical Realism" Is Interesting Knowledge Flowing IntoOur Current Pop Culture Of Sports Figures In Society! Technology Of Surveillance Cameras; Phones; DNA; Etc. Would NAIL"Mystery Elements" Within Book, But "Past Era" Did Not Have "Scie [...]

    21. THE MURDER OF SONNY LISTON: LAS VEGAS, HEROIN, and HEAVYWEIGHTS is an interesting blend of Sonny’s boxing career, early Las Vegas days, crooked cops, drugs and crime bosses. While thoroughly researched, the novel never fully convinced me that a murder had actually occurred. So a more accurate title for me would be THE POSSIBLE MURDER OF SONNY LISTON. My thanks to Penguins First to Read for the advance reader copy…

    22. Not much. Nothing new here. Nothing to see here. The basic conclusion of the book is, "who knows."Not a colorful history of Vegas, not a treatise in racism. Not much. Maybe if you never heard of Sonny Liston, you would have, at least learned that he had a sad life, a raw deal, and was taken advantage by a bunch of white promoters and fight people. However, I did already know all that.

    23. An interesting combination of true crime and sports, but the majority of the book was the Las Vegas underbellye and drugs. Who killed Sonny Liston? No real definitive answersjust a lot of questions left hanging.

    24. This is less sports history than a investigative journalist digging into the Las Vegas of 1970--with the mob on its far less glamorous last legs, corporate casinos about to move in, redlined into deep racial segregation and rife with opportunistic crime.

    25. The world of boxing hasn't changed much since the days of Sonny Liston. It just isn't as obvious to everyone. It's a sad tale about a sad era.

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