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Liston on Clay Matchup: I’ll Get Locked Up for Murder

Mar. 14, 1963 - “Clay showed me I’ll get locked up for murder if we’re ever matched.” That was the immediate reaction of Sonny Liston last night after he watched the Cassius Clay-Doug Jones scrap (pictured) on a closed TV circuit at Miami Beach Auditorium. The world heavyweight champion, called a “bum” by brash Cassius in his post-victory oration, was more gracious than the kid who’s trying to bait Sonny into giving him a title match. “I thought Clay won the fight,” said Liston matter-of-factly. “But he isn’t ready for me. Like I said, I could get locked up for murder.” Liston kept his eyes glued to the screen during the fight, only occasionally turning to give his wife a whispered aside. By the eighth round, when it appeared to some that Jones held the upper hand, Sonny slumped in his seat and appeared bored. But he sat up and took notice when Clay mounted a breathtaking counterattack in the final round. Sonny didn’t join the audience in applause when the fight ended and the verdict was announced. He may have been preoccupied wondering where he’d raise bail for that murder charge.


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