One night in the 1960s, a Las Vegas police officer was doing his rounds in the well-heeled neighbourhood of Paradise Palms when he was accosted by a female resident. She was a neighbour of the sometime world-champion boxer Sonny Liston, and she did not appreciate the loud parties the heavyweight threw whenever his wife, Geraldine, went away. “He’s a goddamn drunk,” she told the officer. “He’s going to die in the gutter.” As it turned out, Liston was not merely a drunk but a heroin addict, and he died flat on his back in his bedroom at New Year in 1971, around the age of 40. Drugs were found in his kitchen. An autopsy cited natural causes, but its conclusions and the circumstances surrounding Liston’s…