(Video) That time Sonny Liston pulled a gun out on Muhammad Ali will forever be crazy

One of the most insane moments in boxing history recently went viral again on social media – the time heavyweight champion Sonny Liston pulled a gun on Muhammad Ali in a heated pre-fight confrontation.

In the lead up to their 1965 title fight, the brash young Ali had been relentlessly taunting and insulting the reigning champ Liston. Their altercation reached its explosive peak when Ali tracked Liston down at the Desert Inn casino in Las Vegas to continue his verbal onslaught.

While Liston tried to ignore the trash talk and focus on his blackjack game, Ali’s provocations eventually became too much. In a shocking moment caught on camera, Liston suddenly pulled out a pistol and fired it twice just over Ali’s head, sending “The Greatest” scrambling for cover.

Ali would later recount the terrifying incident in his autobiography, admitting he feared for his life in that moment. As it turned out, the gun was loaded with blanks in an elaborate prank planned between Liston’s camp and Ali’s friend to try to put the smack-talking challenger in his place.

“I ducked. A chill went through my spine. BANG! BANG!…I leaped over tables, scattering chips everywhere, ducking and dodging with the pistol still firing behind me,” Ali vividly recalled.

Despite the gun scare, the hyped fight went ahead a few weeks later with Ali scoring a massive upset over Liston to claim the heavyweight crown. Their intense rivalry had already made for a compelling promotion, but Liston pulling a gun on Ali took things to an entirely new, unhinged level of madness.

The incredible footage of two boxing giants squaring off with actual firearms still looks just as crazy today as it did almost 60 years ago. It was a product of a very different era in the sport, and an unforgettable piece of boxing’s outlandish history.