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Thread: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

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    Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Part I.

    Sonny Liston gets sold very short in accomplishments category. He accomplished alot in his heavyweight career, and his resume has very very little holes in it compared to other heavyweight champions. I am going to leave out listons skill in this thread and concentrate on his resume.


    Now lets Breakdown Listons Competition..........



    A. Thrown To the Wolved Early

    Some fighters are coddled on there way up. Not Liston. He was thrown to the wolves very early and came out on top. Being thrown to the wolves early in your career and doing well is a big accomplishment that not many heavyweight champions can lay claim to.


    Liston as an inexperienced amatuer beat Olympic Heavyweight Champion 6'4 210lb Huge Punching Ed Sanders. Liston was very inexperienced yet beat Sanders on his jab alone. Liston showing natural talent like this and dominating a far more experienced favorite is something that should be warranted.


    Entering the pros........

    Liston in his first 5 fights is thrown in against 3 guys with above average records including a 4-0 fighter, and is thrown in against 3 guys weighing above 200lb.


    In just his 6th and 7th pro fights, Liston is thrown in against Contender 20-1 Johnny Summerlin. Johnny Summerlin was one of the best heavyweight contenders of the mid 1950s and was a very dangerous fighter who beat strong opposition. A very raw inexperienced Liston twice beats one of the best HW contenders of the mid 1950s Johnny Summerlin. Liston outboxed him in very close fights. Not many heavyweight champions in history beat such a good fighter by there 6th pro fight.


    In listons 8th pro fight, he is thrown in against # 7 ranked light-heavyweight contender 18-5 experienced flashy marty marshall. Liston outboxes the much more experienced world class marshall until clowning techniques made liston get his jaw broken, slowing liston down and liston toughened in out to last in the distance in losing a close split decision loss. Liston then rematches world class Marty Marshall and a still very green sonny beats the shit out of marshall knocking him out in 6.

    after 10 pro fights, Liston held wins over johnny summerlin 2x, and Marty Marshall. Not many heavyweight champions beat this good competition by there first 10 fights. in fact the only one i can think of is james jeffries. So liston is thrown to the wolves very early in his pro career yet comes out 9-1 in his first 10 fights with 3 of those wins coming over ranked contenders.

    Liston has a very casual unimpressive year in 1955 but then picks up in 1956 with a one sided dominating win over marty marshall to win the trilogy. But now one must remember, Sonny Liston was originally scheduled to face harold johnson on that date in 1956. Liston was just a green 14-1 kid yet his management was going to send Liston in vs # 1 ranked contender hall of famer 54-7 harold johnson? just 4 days before the harold johnson-sonny liston fight, johnson pulled out due to an injury. A inexpereinced green Liston should get alot of credit for taking on such a fighter that early in his career. Its too bad this fight didnt happen, because it would have most likely really helped sonnys legacy had he done well(and maybe even won).


    So liston in his first 15 fights takes on harold johnson(cancelled), marty marshall 3x, and johnny summerlin 2x. thats defintley called being thrown to the wolves. yet liston came out 15-1. So this looks good for liston.




    What Could Have Been?

    on a sidenote, had liston not missed out on fighting most of 1956 and all of 1957, his legacy would be even better because he was just starting to mature into his physical prime by 1956 and liston most likely would fought alot in 1956-57 and added top quality names like young jack johnson, harold carter, hurricane jackson, harold johnson to win resume which would have further enhanced his legacy......and liston might have gotten a title shot sooner than he did. So like louis missed out in 42-45, sonny missed out in 56-57 2 prime years of tearing up the division.




    B. Cleaning out the division 1958-60 to establish # 1 contender


    Liston went he came back from prison in 1958 tore up the division like no one we seen before. from 1958-62 Liston cleaned out the top heavyweight contenders in his division like no heavyweight champion ever did.


    Sonny Liston beat top ten ranked contenders like nino valdez, cleveland williams 2x, eddie machen, zora folley, mike dejohn, roy harris, wayne bethea, albert westphal. Liston clearly established himself the # 1 contender by in a 3 year period 58-60 consistently beat all of the top contenders in the heavyweight division.


    Liston challenged and sought to fight all the top heavyweights 1958-62. The only one who liston missed out on fighting were henry cooper, harold johnson, archie moore, and ingemar johannsen.

    HOWEVER.......

    liston was scheduled to fight harold johnson in 1956, but johnson pulled out with 4 days left due to injury. So we cant hold it against sonny for not fighting harold(who was a top fighter during listons era)

    Henry Cooper- henry cooper and coopers manager publicity stated they wanted no part of sonny liston. you cant fight fighters who duck you. plain and simple.

    Archie Moore- Archie by the late 50s-early 1960s was really starting to decline and he was no longer a force to be reckon with. Moore was not going after the big fights in the heavyweight division anymore, and lost his status as a top 10 contender.

    ingemar johannsen- johannsen was heavyweight champ during listons era. Liston publicly challenged johannsen many times, and called him out on numerous occasions even offering to fight patterson and ingo on the same night. Ingo ducked liston, wanted no part of sonny liston. You cant fight who ducks you.


    So liston cleaned out the best of his division, and the ones he missed out on fighting he made sure he challenged to fight him. no other heavyweight champion can lay claim to this.


    Even in his two title defenses....he took on # 1 ranked floyd patterson rematch, and # 1 ranked cassius clay.




    C. Domination in Prime 1958-62


    another big factor is domination. Many heayweight champions struggled with there best opposition they faced like larry holmes, joe louis, rocky marciano, lennox lewis, jack dempsey.


    NO HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION WAS MORE DOMINATING IN HIS PRIME THAN SONNY LISTON!! NO ONE!! Liston did not struggle at all in his prime. He wiped out the entire heavyweight division with hardly any struggle. no other heavyweight champ can acclaim this!


    lets take a look


    TKO 1 Wayne Bethea- destroyed top 10 ranked granite chin bethea in 58 seconds. bethea never knocked out before or after the liston fight.

    TKO 6 mike dejohn- One sided massacre over dangerous top ranked heavyweight

    TKO 2 and TKO 3 Cleveland Williams- Destroyed a top 50 heavyweight of all time TWO TIMES in 2 and 3 rounds respectfully. only time williams ever knocked out in his prime.

    KO 3 Zora Folley- Destroyed a top 50 heavyweight of all time in 3 one sided rounds.


    TKO 4 Nino Valdez- Destroyed a fading but still dangerous durable contender in 4 one sided rounds.

    TKO 1 Roy Harris- Destroyed 22-1 ranked contender in embarrasingly easy fashion.

    TKO 7 Wille Besmanoff- Destroyed Fringe Contender VERY DURABLE besmanoff in 7 one sided rounds. besmanoff had fought over 65 fights and had NEVER been stopped prior to fighting liston(except his pro debut).

    W 10 2x bert Whitehurst- Twice easily won shutout decisions over one of the most talented journeyman of all time

    W 12 Eddie Machen- Won a Wide decision over a top 50 heavyweight of all time who also happened to be a master boxer.

    KO 1 2x Floyd Patterson- TWICE destroyed a top 20 heavyweight of all time in 1 round! this is arguebably the two most dominating preformances over a ATG heavyweight heavyweight ever!


    as you see, no fighter in sonny listons prime even gave trouble. Liston won all his fights in his prime vs top level competition by blowouts, or one sided decision. NO OTHER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION CAN LAY CLAIM TO THIS TYPE OF DOMINATION. Liston in his prime did not struggle.



    D. Defeat of Opposition in there "primes"


    One thing that makes liston look great is almost all of his best opponents he beat were fighters who were in there primes. many ATG heavyweight champions beat fighters who were considered green, or past there prime, but liston was one of the few heavyweight champions of all time who beat virtually all of his world class fighters when they were in there prime.

    lets take a look

    Floyd patterson 26-27 years old at his peak

    eddie machen 26 years old at his peak

    cleveland williams 26-27 years old at his peak

    zora folley 27 years old at his peak

    mike dejohn 27 years old at his peak

    johnny summerlin 21 years old entering his prime

    roy harris 26 years old at his peak

    Nino Valdez 34 years old and past his prime- the only world class fighter listo beat who was over the hill. though valdez was past his prime, at 34 he was still a dangerous ranked contender so the win counts.

    bert whitehurst 28-29 years old at his peak

    Albert Westphal 30 years old at his peak

    Willie Besmanoff 28 years old at his peak

    Marty Marshall 22-23 years old at his peak



    So as you see, Liston virtually beat all his top competition when they were young(under 30) and in there prime. not many HW champs can claim this. Also if you look at his opponents records, they were all virtually at the peak of there career when they fought liston.



    continued..........

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Part II.

    continued.............



    E. Wide Variety of Styles



    Liston beat a Wide Variety of styles, and not only beat them, he DOMINATED THEM!


    He showed he could dominate..........


    huge- power punching sluggers

    6'4 215lb cleveland williams 2x
    6'3 215lb nino valdez
    6'3 205lb mike dejohn


    Slick-Counterpuncher

    Eddie Machen
    Wayne Bethea
    Bert Whitehurst 2x



    Boxer-puncher

    Zora Folley
    Johnny Summerlin 2x
    Henry Clark


    Puncher-Swarmer

    Floyd Patterson


    Superheavyweights

    6'5 230lb Chuck Wepner- yea i know, pretty pathetic.
    6'6 225lb Gerhard Zech- southpaw



    F. Contemporary Accounts


    During most other heavyweight champions reings, they are critisized more by contemporaries and are not given there due during there time. usually, there legacy goes up over the years.

    however with liston it was different. HE WAS SO GOOD, he was already being compared in the same class as joe louis by 1962. thats how good sonny liston was. Some were calling him the greatest heavyweight ever.



    G. Accomplishments Past His Prime 1965-69


    - This was probably the one area liston could improve as he did not beat good competition when past his prime 1965-70. however part of the reason was because liston was so feared. even a Very Old shell of liston was too big of a threat for the top contenders to risk fighting. Ernie terell who liston used to box exhibitions with, wanted no part of sonny. joe fraziers management avoided fighting liston.

    - during that time 65-70 liston beat up on good fringe contenders like amos johnson, amos lincoln, henry clark, chuck wepner, gerhard zech. Liston dominated all of these guys easily.


    a 40 year old liston was finally destroyed by top ranked huge puncher leotis martin for the NABF title. however this fight showed something. even a shot 40 year old sonny liston knocked down and outboxed leotis martin for 9 rounds before getting caught. 40 year old sonny was on his way to a win over one of the most dangerous contenders in the division.



    H. Liston very Unprotected


    Listons management and the fight Mob were so confident in listons abilities that they matched him up with anyone. Liston was the most Unprotected fighter of all time. Usually when a Mob has a certain fighter, they guide him carefully and the fighters management steers him clear of certain fighters. With liston, the mob and sonnys management were convinced liston was so much better than anyone else, so they avoided no one and had liston fight all the top dangerous contenders in the division. They did not guide liston at all, he was that good. they simply threw him in against anyone. other champs like frazier, marciano, johnson, holmes, foreman, lewis, even ali(early on) were guided far more carefully. They even threw liston to the wolves early, and in listons 15th pro fight scheduled liston to fight hall of famer harold johnson.


    I. Lack of title defenses

    - this is a big misconception. liston had already cleaned out his entire heavyweight division by the time he was finally allowed to fight for the title in 1962. patterson ducked him for years. if everything had gone right, liston would have been champion in late 1958 and would have reigned for 6 years until 1964 with about 11 title defenses. So liston having only 1 title defense is a huge misconception.




    So lets go over this again


    - liston came out 15-1 despite being fed to the wolves early

    - liston was more dominating in his prime 1958-62 than any other heavyweight champion in history

    - liston beat great quality opposition......3 top 50 heavyweights of all time and a top 20 heavyweight of all time

    - liston beat great depth and wide variety of styles

    - Liston perhaps most unprotected heavyweight champion in history

    - Sonny beat almost all of his world class opponents in there prime, and struggled with none of them.




    Liston like i showed you had VERY VERY few holes in his resume compared to to other champs.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    this is just a small summary i made of liston
    Last edited by Elmer Ray; 10-15-2006 at 06:07 PM.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    I agree that Sonny Liston is very much underrated as an all time great. Personally, I rank him 4th all time behind Louis, Ali & Dempsey.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    i rank sonny 3rd, behind louis and ali

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    thanx, it wasnt really an article. just a summary. i would have gone a lot more editing and grammor fixing if it were an article. one day i might make an official article though.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Sonny Liston was like Dempsey in that both cleaned out their divisions so well by the time that they won the title that there just weren't many new contenders to fight.

    I wish Ali could have faced a prime Liston because that would have been a great fight. I really think Liston might have beaten the young, green Ali of 1964. The films show Liston was slower of foot and especially hand when Ali got to him.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Liston was like Dempsey in that both cleaned out their divisions so well by the time that they won the title that there just weren't many new contenders to fight.
    while i respect ur opinion greatly achilles.......i disagree here.


    dempsey did not clean out his division pre title. he cleaned out the white hopes pre title, but he did not beat the top black contenders pre title. so therefore he did not clean out his division.

    dempsey never fought the best heavyweight out there 1918-24 harry wills, so he most certainly didnt clean out the division.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Liston is the most underated heavyweight champ by far...he is tainted by the Ali fights and it is understandable but should be kept in perspective...

    First off Liston was most likely three years older than listed. By the time he fought Ali he was pushing 35. In addition in Ali he was fighting the greatest heavyweight in history and the one with the perfect style to trouble an older, inactive , hard living champion. Throw their second fight out the window since it is obviously a dump job. My proof is two fold...first off you have Ali screaming at him to get up from the dive. The second is when else in Ali's entire career did you see a fighter go down for that duration from any of his punches, let alone an off balance pitter/pat shot...

    Anyway, Liston was a tremendous fighter ...
    Last edited by HE Grant; 10-15-2006 at 08:12 PM.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Great article, Elmer Ray. I too put Liston in my all-time Top 5, behind only Ali, Foreman, Louis and Langford. And No. 1 on my list of all-time fantasy fights would be Liston vs. Chuvalo (which almost happened ... twice!)

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by writehooks
    Great article, Elmer Ray. I too put Liston in my all-time Top 5, behind only Ali, Foreman, Louis and Langford. And No. 1 on my list of all-time fantasy fights would be Liston vs. Chuvalo (which almost happened ... twice!)
    Chuvalo would put up a courageous effort as always but i think the most punishment inflicted is on Sonny's hands.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    After the Lewiston rematch, Chuvalo ended up in the ring in Ali's face and clearly terribly angry - had Liston won the rematch Chuvalo was to be the first defence. And George clearly thought it was a fix.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    Liston is the most underated heavyweight champ by far...he is tainted by the Ali fights and it is understandable but should be kept in perspective...

    First off Liston was most likely three years older than listed. By the time he fought Ali he was pushing 35. In addition in Ali he was fighting the greatest heavyweight in history and the one with the perfect style to trouble an older, inactive , hard living champion. Throw their second fight out the window since it is obviously a dump job. My proof is two fold...first off you have Ali screaming at him to get up from the dive. The second is when else in Ali's entire career did you see a fighter go down for that duration from any of his punches, let alone an off balance pitter/pat shot...

    Anyway, Liston was a tremendous fighter ...
    Does that mean you think Nunn/Kalambay was a fix also?

    Lol just playing bud, I agree, very strange fight.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Good point about the Dempsey comparison but drawing the color line was just accepted and, to quote Ray from the Trailer Park Boys, the "way it goes" in the late 1900's. Dempsey beat the white contenders, who were seen at the time by the average boxing fan as the only viable contenders for the title. Whether or not Dempsey himself was racist (I don't think he was) is a moot point because the circumstances at the time allowed that he needn't fight the deserving black contenders and many did not even want to see a black man in the ring with a white man. Johnson sure as hell took advantage of this once he had the belt. I mean, up until the 130's I believe they still called these matches "mixed matches" and they were almost a novelty it seemed.

    But you are 100% correct, I shouldn't let that be an excuse. Liston beat EVERYONE in his path to the title and eventually Patterson either had to fight him or become a disgrace to the title. Dempsey in contrast left some questions unanswered; some (such as the Wills fight)that still haven't been answered and never will be.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Good point about the Dempsey comparison but drawing the color line was just accepted and, to quote Ray from the Trailer Park Boys, the "way it goes" in the late 1900's. Dempsey beat the white contenders, who were seen at the time by the average boxing fan as the only viable contenders for the title. Whether or not Dempsey himself was racist (I don't think he was) is a moot point because the circumstances at the time allowed that he needn't fight the deserving black contenders and many did not even want to see a black man in the ring with a white man. Johnson sure as hell took advantage of this once he had the belt. I mean, up until the 130's I believe they still called these matches "mixed matches" and they were almost a novelty it seemed.

    But you are 100% correct, I shouldn't let that be an excuse. Liston beat EVERYONE in his path to the title and eventually Patterson either had to fight him or become a disgrace to the title. Dempsey in contrast left some questions unanswered; some (such as the Wills fight)that still haven't been answered and never will be.

  16. #16
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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    even when liston was in his prime he was considered beatable--and he was . he was one of the best since his time--but hes overrated here on this thread. mike

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    O.R.: A apple and an orange...first off, Nunn had multiple one shot KO's through out his career. More importantly, look at the difference of the shots. One was a crunching shot, a direct hit. The other is an off an off balance punch thrown on tip toe...a real joke...

    Once again, the biggest proof is Ali's own reaction. He knew first and better than anyone that it was a dive. What more proof do you need than the fighter who threw the punch yelling at the other guy to get up ? His immediate reaction was that he knew the punch was nothing and Liston tanked. You did not see him act that way against Bonavena did you?

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    O.R.: A apple and an orange...first off, Nunn had multiple one shot KO's through out his career. More importantly, look at the difference of the shots. One was a crunching shot, a direct hit. The other is an off an off balance punch thrown on tip toe...a real joke...

    Once again, the biggest proof is Ali's own reaction. He knew first and better than anyone that it was a dive. What more proof do you need than the fighter who threw the punch yelling at the other guy to get up ? His immediate reaction was that he knew the punch was nothing and Liston tanked. You did not see him act that way against Bonavena did you?
    I know man, like I said i was only playing. I know Liston wanted to get out of there, the question is WHY?

    From all i've read over the years, i get the impression Liston thought he might get shot if he hung around in there too long. Bad atmos in the arena that night, supposedly.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    My winning essay on Sonny Liston in the Wail tells you the whole story about Sonny Liston as I heard it from the "Bosses" who made it happen. How anybody takes Alis victories over Sonny as real is beyond me. In Alis two previous fights he gets decked by Cooper and barely edges Jones, both guys small heavies. Sonnys two fights previous takes Patterson two straight one round kos.
    Nobody since Dempsey has cleared out a divison like Sonny Liston did. Even though Jack didnt fight the Blacks, it was a poor era for blacks and Dempsey showed so much force and talent at the time it was considered a clean out, especially in beating Willard and Fulton who were considered so much the best having beaten Johnson and Langford. But Sonny stands alone the way he stood out as a top contender.
    The guy was THE tragedy of boxing history.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by naf2003
    Mike brings up an interesting point. According to the old boxing magazines, Liston was considered a beatable fighter even in his prime. I had always been under the impression that Liston was seen as a force of nature prior to the first Patterson fight and that it was a foregone conclusion that Liston would beat Patterson.

    From reading old boxing magazines I find that I was wrong. Liston was seen as a slow, ponderous fighter by many. The Ring magazine's "panel of experts" picked Patterson to beat Liston in the first fight. Liston was an 8-5 bettting favorite according to the magazine, but of their panel of 36 experts, 20 picked Patterson to win.

    Even after the Patterson fights, Harold Johnson was given a good chance to beat Liston by some of the then contemporary boxing experts. One former boxer (I believe it was Tommy Loughran) went so far as to predict that Liston would not last over two minutes with Patterson. He believed that many of Liston's prior fights were "works" and that Machen had to hold back in his fight with Liston so that Liston would not be exposed before he has a chance at the title.
    I can't help but wonder if some of those experts' picks were based on wishful thinking. Sonny wasn't the most popular fighter of his day, by any stretch.
    Last edited by sweetsci; 10-17-2006 at 09:43 PM.

  21. #21
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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetsci
    I can't help but wonder if some of those experts' picks were based on wishful thinking. Sonny wasn't the most popular fighter of this day, by any stretch.
    not by any means. liston was thought to be slow, ponderous, easy to hit to the body and not quite the banger made out to be later. this is from the boxing community--not the public. the ring and others mags had articles on how liston was vulnerableand defiecent insome areas. later--ali was considered to be a joke or an unteseted speedsteer.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Ray Arcel picked Patterson to beat Liston first time around.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by rocky111
    My winning essay on Sonny Liston in the Wail tells you the whole story about Sonny Liston as I heard it from the "Bosses" who made it happen. How anybody takes Alis victories over Sonny as real is beyond me. In Alis two previous fights he gets decked by Cooper and barely edges Jones, both guys small heavies. Sonnys two fights previous takes Patterson two straight one round kos.
    Nobody since Dempsey has cleared out a divison like Sonny Liston did. Even though Jack didnt fight the Blacks, it was a poor era for blacks and Dempsey showed so much force and talent at the time it was considered a clean out, especially in beating Willard and Fulton who were considered so much the best having beaten Johnson and Langford. But Sonny stands alone the way he stood out as a top contender.
    The guy was THE tragedy of boxing history.
    To save us the trouble of looking it up, can you re-post your essay here?

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Ray, its in the May 2000 issue of Wail. Im sorry that I dont know how to post it here. If you like or are interested in Liston, Id like you to read it and I hope it opens up eyes to what this guy really was and how he got dealt.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by rocky111
    My winning essay on Sonny Liston in the Wail tells you the whole story about Sonny Liston as I heard it from the "Bosses" who made it happen. How anybody takes Alis victories over Sonny as real is beyond me. In Alis two previous fights he gets decked by Cooper and barely edges Jones, both guys small heavies. Sonnys two fights previous takes Patterson two straight one round kos.
    Nobody since Dempsey has cleared out a divison like Sonny Liston did. Even though Jack didnt fight the Blacks, it was a poor era for blacks and Dempsey showed so much force and talent at the time it was considered a clean out, especially in beating Willard and Fulton who were considered so much the best having beaten Johnson and Langford. But Sonny stands alone the way he stood out as a top contender.
    The guy was THE tragedy of boxing history.
    I take the first fight against Ali very seriously? He got decked by Cooper and Banks? he failed to respect either in the ring and paid the price.... he never looked spectacular against 2nd tier competition. In with a dangerous opponent Ali was a different animal, he fought best when pushed to the edge of a cliff. Against Liston he was aware of the danger, and was on his game.... People cry 'fix' but the film IMO reveals that Liston was made to look even older and slower than he was by a highly talented younger opponent with a stylistic advantage. Liston is getting tagged by flurries for the duration of the fight whilst making what looked like very genuine attempts to stop Clay and then he quits on his stool..... surely if your going to take a fall you would do it in the most convincing fashion possible? Falling under a barrage of punches instead of quitting on your stool would be the logical move.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    I found Rocky's article. It is very interesting. Can we repost articles here from the Wail?

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Sonny quit on his stool to build up a rematch. Pure and simple. After his best round in the first match he suddenly quits punching in the last round and Ali goes on no offensive to speak, but simply spars. Its the worst round of the fight. Next round Sonny quits. He gave Ali his lesson for a few rounds to warn him to back off and not go for the sky and get back with the program. The second fight was what it was. A gruesome fake that Sonny paid for after wards in his getting barred from the big fights.
    Again I say, its the "so called golden era" of heavies yet NOBODY wanted to fight Sonny Liston after the Ali matches. I wonder why?
    The fact of the matter is that Ali and the Ali myth can never be challanged because he became a liberal political and American icon. I mean he carried the torch at Atlanta when he was probably the poorest sport of all time for a top boxer. Can ANYBODY argue that Floyd Patterson amonst boxers wasnt a better choice to represent American sportsmanship?
    I never mean to say Ali wasnt a great boxer or that he was a fraud as a fighter. But he wasnt going to beat Sonny Liston.
    I mean the guy went rounds and rounds with Floyd Patterson and never convincingly knocked him down yet Sonny did the trick twice in a round. Who the hell ever handled Floyd like that?
    Sonny was a beast of fighter, capable of beating anybody, but he was a ex con, too black skinned for the Black establishment, a poor draw and a bad interview. From a social economic standpoint they wanted Cassius Clay not Sonny Liston. But that dont mean he could beat THE Sonny Liston.
    I sometimes think that Sonny was murdered by the government "mob" to cover up what really happened, on how the Kennedy administration and the NAACP moved in to take his title.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    PS. Dont forget Marylnn Monroe died in funny circumstances also having plenty of Kennedy secrets she could disclose. Do people doubt it? Ask Mob guys who know about the violence and ruthlessness of Bobby Kennedy and his crowd. I mean one doesnt get all the news from the front page of the New York Times does one?

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    Quote Originally Posted by rocky111
    Sonny quit on his stool to build up a rematch. Pure and simple. After his best round in the first match he suddenly quits punching in the last round and Ali goes on no offensive to speak, but simply spars. Its the worst round of the fight. Next round Sonny quits. He gave Ali his lesson for a few rounds to warn him to back off and not go for the sky and get back with the program. The second fight was what it was. A gruesome fake that Sonny paid for after wards in his getting barred from the big fights.
    Again I say, its the "so called golden era" of heavies yet NOBODY wanted to fight Sonny Liston after the Ali matches. I wonder why?
    The fact of the matter is that Ali and the Ali myth can never be challanged because he became a liberal political and American icon. I mean he carried the torch at Atlanta when he was probably the poorest sport of all time for a top boxer. Can ANYBODY argue that Floyd Patterson amonst boxers wasnt a better choice to represent American sportsmanship?
    I never mean to say Ali wasnt a great boxer or that he was a fraud as a fighter. But he wasnt going to beat Sonny Liston.
    I mean the guy went rounds and rounds with Floyd Patterson and never convincingly knocked him down yet Sonny did the trick twice in a round. Who the hell ever handled Floyd like that?
    Sonny was a beast of fighter, capable of beating anybody, but he was a ex con, too black skinned for the Black establishment, a poor draw and a bad interview. From a social economic standpoint they wanted Cassius Clay not Sonny Liston. But that dont mean he could beat THE Sonny Liston.
    I sometimes think that Sonny was murdered by the government "mob" to cover up what really happened, on how the Kennedy administration and the NAACP moved in to take his title.
    Your opinion and fair enough. But i dont buy a word of it..... Sonny Liston handled floyd indeed he did, but patterson was tailor made for Sonny... without the capacity to fight on the backfoot effectively against his larger foe floyd was within Sonny's range and thus Sonny was able to impose his physical advantages on Paterson. He was not able to do this against Ali, the films show an aged Liston trying and failing to overcome father time and a major stylistic problem. Ali was able effectively establish range and make his relatively lumbering, cumbersome foe chase him. 'the simplest explanation is usually the right one' - Liston was beaten and this topic is another example of peoples inability to accept an incident where a seemingly invincible fighter is defeated. The Liston that Ali fought certainly wasn't in his prime, and if he was it's possible and maybe even likely that he would beat the Ali of 64' who was still a little green. Ali matured and really started to peak in 66-67' and i have no doubt with his physical gifts and the huge stylistic problem he poses to Liston he would win a prime for prime matchup every time.

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    Re: Sonny Liston, One of the most accomplished Heavweight Champions in history

    in a recent article by mike casey on liston, casey does describe liston as not one who relished training- except in spots-and tended to burn the candle at both ends. he goes on to say had liston been 110 percent most of the time and was somewhat fanatical in his training and carreer- that would have been something to see.

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