FBI suspected iconic 1964 Ali-Liston fight was rigged by mob

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A 1968 report from the FBI Philadelphia office said Resnick “was investigated in the alleged fixing of the first Clay-Liston fight in Miami. He allegedly is a friend of Meyer Lansky and Vincent Alo [“Jimmy Blue Eyes”] and Charles Tourine.”

Lansky was one of the most powerful mobsters of the 20th century, credited, along with his friend and partner Charles “Lucky” Luciano, with building a nationwide crime syndicate. Alo was a member of the Genovese crime family and an associate of Lansky’s. Tourine, also known as “Charlie the Blade,” was a member of the Boiardo New Jersey gang affiliated with the Genovese family.


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A May 19, 1972, FBI report from the Los Angeles field office to Hoover stated that Resnick had “major mob ties” with New Jersey and Brooklyn figures and indicated his reach went beyond the ring. Resnick, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who had been a basketball player at New York University, was involved in the fixing scandal there in the early 1950s.

The 1972 report says Resnick also was involved in Caesars Palace and, according to FBI documents, was close to NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. “Was deeply involved with Wilt Chamberlain during the 68-69 big year — when Chamberlain performed poorly — Wilt was Ash guest at [Caesars Palace] almost every open weekend when the Lakers were at home or Phoenix.”

Resnick died in 1989, at the age of 72, from heart failure in a Las Vegas hospital after a long bout with cancer, according to an obituary by The Associated Press. “His forte was bringing gamblers to Las Vegas casinos for high-stakes gambling, and he organized the first junkets that later became a fixture of the casinos,” the obituary stated.

In 1974, Resnick was convicted of income tax evasion while working for Caesars Palace, as the government alleged he skimmed more than $300,000 from Caesars and failed to pay taxes on it. The conviction was later overturned, the obituary stated.


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Magids died in 2007.

Liston fought at times after that, and at one point in 1968 mounted a comeback with seven straight wins, all by knockouts. But he was knocked out by Leotis Martin in the ninth round in December 1969. Liston’s last fight was a 10-round beating he delivered to Chuck Wepner in June 1970.

Liston was found dead by his wife in their Las Vegas home on Jan. 5, 1971. Police determined he died from a heroin overdose, but the cause of death remains controversial. Liston’s friends maintained it was a homicide covered up by police.

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