A Handshake of a Different Kind

Sonny Liston was a towering figure in boxing from 1962 through early 1964. During that period and prior to his first fight with Muhammed Ali in February of 1964, my father took me to see him train at a gym in Miami. I saw Sonny jump rope to the rock number Night Train. At the end of the workout we all lined up to shake hands with this bear of a fighter.

I was about 5 foot 6 and 130 lbs, soaking wet. Sonny at 6 ft 1  towered over me and was built like a gladiator.

I trembled as I put out my hand to shake. He gently shook my hand to the melody of my great relief, particularly as it was my right hand that I might well need for the rest of my life.

Other than a little arthritis, the hand works well these 57 years later, at least the last time I tried to slice a cabbage.