“He Acted Liked a Crazy Person”: Joe Rogan Details Muhammad Ali Doing “Crazy SH*T” Leading Upto the Fight Against Sonny Liston in Resurfaced Clip

Published 10/06/2023, 12:49 PM EDT

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“I shook up the world.” These were the words of the great Muhammad Ali after his victory against Sonny Liston in 1964. At the time, Ali was only 22 years of age and was the underdog. Meanwhile, Liston was the champion and had an intimidating aura to him. Many formidable opponents tested their luck against him — but failed. Before he fought Ali, he was only defeated once. Subsequently, Liston was also a heavy favorite to win, 8-1 to be precise. However, Ali did the unthinkable and stopped Liston via RTD in the seventh round. Therefore, a rematch was inevitable.

In the rematch, Ali once again defeated him, in a much more stunning fashion. He knocked the former heavyweight champion down and won via a first-round knockout. The world was left stunned, but a new star was born. Even decades after the bout, this iconic matchup is still spoken about and scrutinized. In a resurfaced video, UFC commentator, podcast host, and comedian, Joe Rogan reflected on this bout. However, he was just as intrigued with the drama in the lead-up to the bout as the bout itself.

Joe Rogan reflects on the lead-up Muhammad Ali and Sunny Liston


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Ali had his way with words. He was a confident young man. Many were afraid of Liston at the time — including Ali himself. However, he made sure not to make it evident. Subsequently, he resorted to trash-talking him, made bold predictions of hurting him, and even showed up at his house in the middle of the night with a loudspeaker on a school bus. Liston never faced an opponent like him before. Many believe that this caught him off-guard and Ali managed to get under his skin.


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Even Rogan thinks it was smart on his part to resort to such antics. Reflecting on the same, on his podcast, he stated, “This is why Ali did this on purpose. He acted like a crazy person. Sonny Liston was a big scary man, and he felt like Sonny Liston would be afraid of a crazy person. Someone who was not afraid of him. All the press conferences and all the things leading up to the fight, he would scream at him, he would show up at Sonny Liston’s house, and honk the horn in the middle of the night, and get on his lawn and scream and yell at him.”

Moreover, Rogan asserts that Ali did it on purpose to win a mental battle before the fight. He added, “He did a lot of crazy sh*t to Sunny Liston to f*ck him psychologically.” Whether or not he did it intentionally, it is safe to say it was unlike anything the sport had seen before.
Decades after this bout, the fight is still talked about, and written about. Such was the legacy that Ali left behind. However, we are curious to know, what your thoughts are on the lead-up to this iconic rivalry. Share with us your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.


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Written by:

Harddit Bedi


One take at a time

Harddit Bedi is a passionate Boxing writer at EssentiallySports, who specializes in covering the off-court drama of athletes. He has a keen interest in the untold stories of boxers. Harddit is a firm believer in the primal nature of boxing, which he views as the oldest and most fundamental sport known to mankind.
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Edited by:

Gokul Pillai