Fact vs Fiction: The Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali 1964/1965 Fights were not fixed.

After years of discussion and negotiations with the FBI, I was able to finally thanks to the Department of Justice, that J. Edgar Hoover was more concerned with the NOI than the Ali/Liston Fights. I tried my best to get the FBI to release the Ali/ Liston Fights FBI file separate from the larger file that was released a while back, while Mr. Ali was still alive, but I ran out of time. Mr. Ali passed away, and I was at a loss to what to do. I decided that I would persist in my need for the FBI to release the file, thinking that I could still bring about closure to this chapter of Mr. Ali’s and Sonny’s life. Luckily for me, the FBI released the file unannounced on the fights separately from the larger file, they had released almost a decade ago, without announcing it. The world can finally see what the Liston and Ali families have always known, and that is that there was no fix. May Sonny, Mr. Ali, and Geraldine, finally rest in peace.
Dear Mr. Micheal Kortan, my name is Lynel Gardner and I’m in charge of the Sonny Liston Estate. I’m the grandson of Sonny Liston, and I’m in charge of all business of the estate. The 1964/ 65 fights between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, were considered at the time, to be fixed by the public at large, and the press. And all parties involved, including the families, managers, and promoters, were considered to have been involved in some type of conspiracy to fool the public. But the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover knew that this was not true. The FBI File Number 172-31 on Charles “Sonny” Liston, clearly shows that the FBI did not want to open an investigation on the Sonny Liston/ Ali fights. Because the FBI knew that the fights weren’t fixed.
The FBI felt that the press was basing its leads off of rumors. And the FBI did not trust the press. The FBI had just investigated boxing in 1960, and would just continue to rely on its continued wiretapping, boxing experts, informants, and contacts, within the boxing commission nationwide. The problem was that Mr. J. Edger Hoover, never released his findings to the general public and the press at that time, and 52 years later, the speculations surrounding the fights, have become the source of movies, books, and have continued to bring shame and humiliation to all families involved with the fights. Casting a negative shadow, over these two great titans.Mr. Ali and Sonny Liston were best friends, and our families have been close since the fights. I knew that Mr. Ali’s health was getting worse and worse for years. My goal for the past twelve years was to bring a resolution to this case and to redeem the Muhammad Ali and the Sonny Liston names.
My goal was to do this before Mr. Ali died. Unfortunately, I was not able to accomplish this while he was still alive. But in death, I still have the chance, with your help, to allow Mr. Ali, his fans, family, the press, the opportunity to see these fights, in a different light. I cannot do this without the help of the FBI, who I feel have the responsibility to let it finally be known, to the press and the general public, that these fights were not fixed. And to clear both fighters, of any wrongdoing. And allow this story to come to its conclusion. I would like you, Mr. Kortan, along with Mr. James Comey if possible, along with myself, to hold a press conference, to submit our statements and finding. Mr. Kortan, I would like you to explain during the press conference, the details of why Mr. Hoover at the time, chose not to present his findings to the public and the press, and to discuss why Mr. Hoover believed that there was no fix.
And to also explain, why Mr. Hoover and the FBI believed, that an open investigation was not necessary. I have spoken to your historian Mr. John Fox, and he is currently reviewing the Sonny Liston file, and he will be getting back to me in about a week. I look forward to speaking with you soon about this matter.


Lynel Gardner

Estate of Sonny Liston Estate


6 thoughts on “Fact vs Fiction: The Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali 1964/1965 Fights were not fixed.

  1. Hello Mr. Gardner – if you need any help pushing this through to the right people or garnering support, please let me know! I had no idea about this story until I read this letter, and I find it sad that the case has not been given the time of day by the people who have the power to clear the names of both your grandfather and Muhammad Ali. Best of luck with your mission!


    • Yes, I would love your help. We have suffered a lot from the film industry and advertisers in editorial copy, book writers, and film and television companies for over fifty years. I have spent the past 15 years trying to set the record straight about how Sonny lived and died. My book idea was just stolen by Sean Assael of ESPN and SHOWTIME SPORTS. That is now going to become a Major Motion Picture Produced by the UK Production Company called, MAD AS BIRDS. We have lost untold millions over the years, by people illegally using Sonny’s image, likeness, and name. Especially from Warner Brothers Studio, who stole my grandmother Geraldine Liston’s script idea. For the movie NIGHT TRAIN that sits on their shelf to this day. They have yet to green-light the production. And also how she was swindled out of Sonny’s Championship belt. That was valued at $80,000 but was bought from her for $10,000. And Heritage Auctions House who sold Sonny’s gloves for almost 1 million dollars, that was taken from Sonny after the Muhammad Ali/ Liston Fights and never returned to the family. And the Boxing Hall of Fame facilities around the world who use Sonny’s image without our permission.


    • Thank you, any help that you could offer would be great. I wanted to present my findings to congress. I also wanted to change the paradigm. The myth of Sonny Liston is a cottage industry. Nobody wants to be the one to disrupt the status quo. Even though everyone in the news and television industry, knows that I have the official records. For example, the myth is that Sonny did not know his own birthday, and that there is no record or Birth Certificate. It took me 3 weeks to attain his Birth Certificate. There are people who lie, guess, and don’t have the access to Sonny’s records like I do. But the myth of Sonny has been a cash cow for more than 50 years. I don’t know what you do and how you can help, but there are people out there that need to know the truth and want to know the truth.


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