follow up w/ another Liston match-up , a true test against an all-time great Larry Holmes.
follow up w/ another Liston match-up , a true test against an all-time great Larry Holmes.
An interesting matchup. I've thought about this one a lot, and I'm sure that Hawkins will weigh in. Sometimes I think that Holmes's great jab and ring intelligence would keep Liston at bay until Liston became frustrated, with Holmes throwing heavier leather through the last four or five rounds to a comfortable UD over 15.
And sometimes I think that Holmes's jab, beautiful though it was, would not keep Liston at bay and that Liston's own jab and very powerful shots would eventually lead to a very comfortable points victory over 15. It's possible that Liston would take Holmes out in the championship rounds, but I don't think so.
I tend to think of Holmes, Liston, and Foreman as being my second group of three (after Dempsey-Louis-Ali). I find it hard to decide among the three. I tend to believe that Holmes would defeat Foreman (prime to prime, of course), but I don't hold that belief with any great conviction.
And then I think, well, where does Frazier fit in? And what about Johnson? And then I start feeling that the imponderables are too great.
I think the real response everyone is looking for from me here is pertaining to this question:
Do I think Holmes, at his absolute best, was better than the best of the 70's version of Ali?
My answer to that is: Yes.
My answer to Holmes vs Liston is: Holmes by close unanimous decision.
I love both of these guys but if we're talking Liston 57-61 Holmes is going down. When Liston was at his best a jab, even one as powerful as Holmes is not going to stop him. This is a guy who walked thru Cleveland Williams bombs. He's also the fighter that went the distance with Marty Marshall after suffering a broken jaw early in the fight.
I love Holmes. He's one of the top 5 heavies of all time. So is Liston. With both of them in their absolute primes I give the edge to Liston.
"Holmeser" in me, can see Gor's conclusion to how this fight goes as completely acceptable.
Me-Holmes close decision win.
Gor-Liston late rounds stoppage (or even mid rounds after a helluva go).
It's a HELLUVA matchup regardless of your conclusion, between two Top 5, All time Heavyweight Greats.
Last edited by hawk5ins; 07-14-2010 at 03:31 PM.
Agreed, Hawk. After some more cogitation this is really closer than I first thought. It's practically a toss up. I give Liston the slight edge due to power, chin & very underrated boxing skills.
At the same time I CAN see Larry pulling out a decision win.
Call me slightly conflicted...
Prime Holmes would have to be practically KO'd to lose, otherwise it's an Ali style that could do this, beat him on points.
Larry's all around skill, and toughness is what wins this. Now, Liston could well land a bomb, and hurt Larry, who did not have the Ali chin, close, but not level. The bomb that Liston lands could end the bout, or a good clinical follow up.
I will go with Larry's heart, toughness, workrate, durability and indomitable spirit to see him earn a deserved decision, with a fair few real shaky moments.
I think Sonny ends the bout fresher, and less hurt, but still a loser. Put it this way, Sonny's landed shots do
more damage than Larry's. Larry IMO lands 20-25 percent more shots than Sonny.
Last edited by walshb; 07-15-2010 at 07:27 AM.
Holmes has great tools to really frustrate a Liston type fighter: movement, handspeed, stamina, and counter-punching ability.
However, I favor Liston to win and win by stoppage, for two reasons:
Liston's jab, and Holmes's defensive lapses.
Holmes had the faster stick but Liston had the much harder shot and his jab will be keeping Larry off-set all night. Great jabbers have problems when facing other great jabbers.
The other is that Larry would often, due to fatigue or sheer carelessness, often make some severe defense gaffes in his fights. We saw some results vs Shavers, Snipes, Weaver, Witherspoon and even Cooney in places when Larry would either forget to get back into position after throwing a punch or pull the macho card and trade with his opponent. Vs Liston, Sonny has the complete arsenal and strength to really make Larry pay severely for those lapses. And Holmes will be slowed down in the late rounds from Sonny's bodywork in the clinches.
I think Liston prime for prime is hell for any heavyweight who ever lived and I'd only back a prime Ali, Jack Johnson and Joe Louis to do the trick.
more concerened about the defensive lapses Hags. While believing Holmes would be in a much more defensive posture for Sonny and isn't too likely to take many chances with Liston, rest assured, Larry does get Careless or Lax, Sonny WILL jump on it and make him pay like no other.
Re the jab...well both were great jabbers. If great jabbers have issues with other great Jabbers, than both will probably have issues.
I've always charecterized Holmes Jab as Not quite a fast as Ali's jab, but much harder and Not quite as hard as Liston's but much faster. I think that combo makes it the Perfect Jab, specifically at Heavyweight. Especially seeing how Holmes RELIED on the jab and used it as often as he did.
Sonny's hammer of a jab IS going to cause issues for Larry. As you said, it is going to cause Larry to continually regroup and reset himself. But Holmes' jab, becuase it also has quite a bit of Pop to it, along with the speed, is going to be a pain in the ass for Sonny as well.
This would be Sooooo entertaining IMO to watch it play out.
Really hard one to call. I would have go with Holme's speed, determination, and grittiness. He was also a very good puncher, although not in Sonny's league. I don't know enough about Liston's stamina or will to win. He went the distance against guys that did not press him hard or make him fight hard. Holmes got off the floor after Shavers landed on him. Could Sonny really do anything to match that regarding heart and desire? But again nothing would surprise me in this fight.
Holmes is my favorite heavyweight of all time, and my favorite fighter too. That said, while it is convenient to view this bout as a case where we have a battler against a guy many think had the ability to mail it in or lose at the sign of trouble, and since it will go the distance most likely Larry wins... I see it this way:
Liston has two good power punches, and the nerve to unload them. Couple that with a jab to partly nullify Larry's, and Larry IMO would need to jab to stop Liston's jab and follow up. Leading to echanges rather than keeping Larry's foe at bay and without rhythm..which normally was the jab's primary motive.
Liston is physically more imposing than the strong fighters who gave Larry issues (Norton, Weaver, Spoon).. and Larry is NOT a fighter who didn't fight by the book, nor would he skitter hither and yon like some fleet footed guy who went the distnce with Liston.
Liston matches up well with Holmes, IMO, and the spirit would break if he were being thumped rond after round and having to chase Holmes. He wouldn't.
Much like I like the best Frazier to beat the best Larry, I like Liston here. Liston's left hook and not his right spell the difference. Larry touches down round 9 or 10, and Liston mops him up in round 12.
Someone thinks Larry mutes Liston enough where there is never that dire moment, and Larry wins because Sonny runs out of rounds... I can see that but disagree.
As an aside, I truly believe the guys that beat Sonny, best v best, do it with power and volume... or, power and consistancy.
I'd give Louis a nod to do it, provided he wasn't on his back foot all night. Dempsey as I think he could hit Sonny more than Sonny hit him..or hit him first and stun and then finish..(but I think this fight could be going the other way as easily.. no further than round 8 for either here). Larry has the best shot from the 'boxer' standpoint. Ali was Ali and he was not your standard fighter. I personally can't see Johnson fielding blows from Liston, and I dont think he could avoid Liston like he did the men he 'caught' blows from.
Foreman? perhaps. If Liston nailed George and George was still there, it'd be interesting.
Frazier I dont like the odds of as Joe HAD to fight the Joe was regardless of who he faced (unlike Jack).
Marciano... Sonny's left hand would land and land often.
Liston to me TRULY is a match-up guy... but unlike some styles make fights guys, Liston to me almost always dictates the other guy's strategy.
Last edited by Sharkey; 07-15-2010 at 10:07 AM.
makes one helluva matchup for so many other Heavyweight greats.
Good Stuff Sharks.
Still thinking you would have been in Coetzee's corner in 84 though had the bout come off.
No. Both guys were good guys.. but Larry would have been my horse in that race. If Coetzee had landed a bomb and Larry had a Snipes moment in say, round 3 or 4.. I might have been rooting for one guy to finish it and the other guy to ride it out.
I've got to side with Hags on this. I'd throw in Holmes willingness to trade and his burning desire to get payback when hurt as two more resaons that the Easton Assassin loses.
Right or wrong, I tend to place a lot more weight on the Cleveland Williams fights than the Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali fights when assessing Sonny. One, it was more towards his prime and two, there was just something not right about the latter, two. Yes, the 60's Ali made a lot of fighters look like they were wading through a swamp, but...
Besides, Holmes, while mobile, was not Ali, nor did he have the footspeed of Eddie Machen who was also able to avoid serious Liston punishment. On the other hand, I also don't want to discount the fact that Larry was still faster than Sonny and his legendary recuperative powers were almost paranormal.
I think the key is what takes place in the first three rounds. I think it's a given that Liston pursues and that Holmes backtracks. Not running like Machen, but on his back foot dishing leather when appropriate. I don't think it's a stretch to question Sonny's confidence (despite what I stated earlier) and I think he needs to hurt Larry early to build on that. I also don't think that the jabs are the key weapons in this fight. Holmes will use his quite a bit more, but Sonny, when in pursuit mode, tended to lead with big shots, forsaking his.
The Liston jab will come into play when he hurts Larry, keeping him where he wants him. (Then it's Holmes sneaky right cross that comes into play because I think Larry can hurt Sonny with it.) A cornered Holmes is dangerous, but Sonny could finish with a capital F and as the fight goes on, Larry will tire, suck it up and fight back. But I just don't see him being able to continually do this all night.
Liston TKO 13 Holmes in a terrific fight that demands a rematch...and a similar result in the return.
Been watching a good deal of footage of Liston recently. I have to say, maybe I was underrating him a bit. He is quite a beast, and a very powerful and methodical and precise beast. Do I think he's the best ever, no, but he's gone up a bit for me. I still think Holmes can win this, but the fact that Larry was at times too eager to fight and brawl, as others have pointed out, this leaves me nervous. It's a 55-45 call for Holmes with me.
I echo the exact answer of Gordoom.
Just something about that Duane Bobick fight, how bad he was shaken by Shavers and Snipes, the type of KO by Tyson, all understandable and explainable and as disturbing as the old Liston being poleaxed by Leotis, but at their best, man oh man to be hammered by Liston a la Cleveland Williams, Nino Valdez, Zora Folley, Patterson,
Liston would get him.
Sonny wins every round and eventually ko's Larry Holmes. He would keep him going backwards all nite and Larry would mount no offense to bother Sonny Liston. Sonny just does everything better than Larry at the best of both guys nites.
Larry seems quicker and slicker .not that it would spell victory for Holmes but this match-up should show how Liston had trouble with boxers . Liston might catch up in later rounds but not until Holmes hands him fits . I always imagined this match-up and ask my self, as great as these two were, what would their careers be like if they fought in the 70's (Ali's era?).
I've watched every Liston fight available a couple of times each, or more. An excellent fighter, but not mythic or unbeatable. While I have a great deal of respect for him, I view him as a more polished, more precise, better-chinned Lennox Lewis-- like Lewis, very deliberate and fairly slow.
I think speed is what beats Liston; it sure isn't done by going toe-to-toe with him. Ali beat Sonny with speed; I see Holmes, who was every inch as big as Ali--meaning he was bigger than Liston--being able to out-jab Liston due to outspeeding him. If a young Ali's jab cut Liston, so would Holmes's harder jab, I think.
In the same way that I like Holmes over such a predictable and painstakingly slow Lennox Lewis, I see Holmes beating Liston on points consistently through the fight. Holmes didn't get cornered and caught in his entire career until his post-career vs. Tyson; otherwise, the punches that dropped him (Snipes, Shavers) came out of nowhere.
Does Liston catch Larry and even everything up with one shot? Not sure. It's hard for me to believe that Holmes wouldn't recuperate as he did from some gigantic shots from others.
Sonny to me has more than a puncher's chance, but I can't see him decisioning the 1978 version of Holmes. He'd have to catch him to stop him, which didn't happen to Holmes, ever, until he was a pro for about 16 years (1988) and returned from retirement for an execution against a prime Tyson.
I always respect Ron's expert opinion but I cannot see the relevance of the Duane Bobick amateur fight nor think that the Shavers and Snipes knockdown blows were anything less than legit atomic bombs. Liston, conversely, is the one whose losses need a lot more 'splainin'.
Last edited by Michael Frank; 07-17-2010 at 09:57 AM.
suggestion that this is a whitewash EITHER way is IMO completely out to lunch.
THis is a GREAT matchup between two All Time Great, top 5, Heavyweights.
End of Story.
I pretty much agree with you Hawk. The only fighters that would have a chance to beating a prime Liston(on the level) are Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Ali, and Larry Holmes. Louis and Johnson because of boxer-puncher skills, Ali and Holmes because of boxing skills and speed. Tyson, Frazier, Dempsey, Foreman, Marciano, and any other heavyweight past or present stupid enough to stand in front of Liston was a recipe for disaster. Some might say that I am committing boxing heresy, but I think at least one.... may be both of those fights with Ali were tanked. Don Dunphry and others were of that opinion as well. I believe Don said that if that was a punch.... than I will eat it. As far as Liston vs. Holmes.... too close to call. Liston had power and skills and Holmes with underrated strength, speed and skills. This is a 50-50 fight, but I lean towards Liston because of his power by decision..... may be a split decision. Even Joe Louis and Jack Johnson would have their hands full with a prime Liston.Originally Posted by hawk5ins
Yeah, these fantasy matchups are just so certain, they can only go the way one poster sees. Any other view is simply "out to lunch." Of course.Originally Posted by hawk5ins
It's not like Hearns-Hagler, Curry-McCrory, Tyson-Spinks, Sanchez-Gomez, and Hearns-Duran were not considered good matchups and then someone actually lost decisively. Oh, but, they did. Ooops. I guess those were lopsided after all.
Or Ali-Frazier II. Considered a good matchup, but Ali took it on points, in the opinion of most by a wide margin. As I see Liston-Holmes.
Oh but no, that is "out to lunch." Can't be.
Sorry that anyone else here even ventured an opinion. OBVIOUSLY Liston-Holmes can only turn out one way.
Originally Posted by rocky111
I see it something like this as well.
Larry loved to fight from his pitchers mound. If you let him do this, he looks fantastic and is very very difficult to beat. But guys that put pressure on him like Weaver/Berbick/Witherspoon/Tyson later on and even Snipes show the cracks. I'm certain the left hand slugger Wells got him off that pitchers mound as well. Bobick did too come to think of it.
Liston's jab and far far superior left hook get Larry off that pitchers mound. That great left hook off that jab is going to be a big problem. And like you said, back him up. Larry could fight backing up but he liked doing it when he set the pace & not the other guy. It's that 3 minutes per round of pressure that ultimately creates the openings when the gastank drains and Larry drops those hands. And he was the guy easier to reach w/ right hands over his jab. An old ali sure did it to Liston, but a 22 year old ali is landing rights on an old Holmes as well.
I think this would kind of be like the Tyson fight for Holmes. If he did win rounds, he would be giving his all and draining his tank to sustain that 3 minute effort. 2 or 3 rounds of that, and he'll slow down & that's when Sonny catches him. And Liston is a finisher, unlike a Snipes or shavers or Weaver---is that what you see Rocky? Maybe 8 or 10 rounds?
Holmes comes in agianst a Prime Liston at 38 Years old, inactive for 21 months, prepares for Liston for only 6 weeks and is roughly 6 years removed from his peak prime, the bout will probably go just like the Tyson bout.
What I see is that Sonny was the better boxer as well as puncher. Larry Holmes is not going to hand Sonny Liston any boxing lesson with a jab no matter how good it was. Hes going to be pushed backwards by anything Sonny throws. Sonny was the better heavyweight.
Originally Posted by hawk5ins
The point was lots of guys landed right hands on Holmes. Always did throughout his career. Much tougher to do on Liston. The only guy that did it a ton to Liston was a youthful Cassius Clay.
I'm saying an old Holmes gets hit by right hands by a 22 year old Clay as well.
with this statement either:
"I'm saying an old Holmes gets hit by right hands by a 22 year old Clay as well."
I disagree. I think that a prime Liston would take that Holmes out sooner than Tyson did.Originally Posted by hawk5ins
Behind that Dan.
Specially seeing how Liston isn't only a better Boxer than was Tyson, He was a better BOXER than Holmes as well.
At least THAT Holmes.
Right? We ARE talking about THAT Holmes right?