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Old 12-06-2009, 01:25 PM   #1
ChrisPontius
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Default Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

This is a very interesting matchup. Why?

Well, on one hand, Liston was very strong but had a lot of trouble with a faster mover in Ali, and couldn't really land a good shot on a slick, defensive fighter in Machen. Tunney has a bit of both.

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On the other hand, Tunney is relatively unproven at heavyweight, and we don't know how well he stands up to a skilled heavyweight who is bigger (but not by that much) than the ones he fought. Dempsey downed him with a great combination, but he continued his dominant performance and did win 19 of the other rounds they fought. But it does beg the question: what happens when Liston connects with one of his heavy right hands or left hooks?


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Also, while Liston is the first one that comes to mind when you think of a stoppage, what do you think of Tunney's power? We know that Liston has been downed by a mediocre lightheavyweight and stunned/hurt by King, Whitehurst, DeJohn and down against Earls and Martin, although he was getting old by then.

Still, there were quite a few people thinking that Tunney could stop Rocky, who probably is more durable than Sonny. So what do you think?
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

I think that Liston landed on Machen and that's another fine exaggeration on your part.

Certainly he landed enough to send Machen on the run after having success in the early rounds. I think it was the round three body shots that did this. He scores with beltline body shots throughout. He scores with a great right hand at the end of 8. Machen, a very skilled fighter, successfully takes away the uppercut though. If I remember rightly Sonny landed only one, after Machen slipped on water.

This fight is interesting though. Liston has all the physical advantages, Tunney has all the style advantages. Tunney's guard would work both for and against him...Liston likes to tag to the body against mobile opponents.

Best guess? Tunney gets caught by one of Liston's lunging attacks, perhaps a little later on when Tunney starts to tire a bit. I'll pick Liston by KO.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Very good fight. McGrain already put down the facts: Liston has the phsysical advantages, Tunney the style advantages. I don't think the physical advantages are big enough to outweigh the style advantages of Tunney. Tunney's combination of foot- and handspeed and his defensive style would spoil anything Liston does. And Tunney has a great chin, I doubt Sonny can knock him out. I take Tunney buy UD with the early rounds beeing closely contested but as the fight goes on the style advantages will become more and more visible.Something like 10 rounds o 5 or 9 rounds to 6.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

I would expect Tunney to win, on points or by retirement TKO.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

I'd take Gene's speed and mobility to carry him to a decision. An aged Dempsey dropped Tunney, but I don't think Sonny's best hand speed was a match for Jack's, even in 1927. Liston wouldn't have been fast enough to win a jabbing contest with Gene.

Machen, Whitehurst and Martin proved that Sonny would not have been too big for Tunney to go the distance with. I just can't see Liston winning a decision over him. Gene also took substantial punishment to the body from Dempsey with no apparent ill effects.

Sonny's ability to intimidate opponents tremendously aided his success. Like rivals Loughran (whose chances I also like against Liston) and Greb, Marine veteran Tunney was absolutely fearless (and flawlessly disciplined). Liston has no psychological advantage here.

Gene was a veteran of 15 round contests, and stopped Carpentier in 15. Sonny never went past 12. Over 15, Liston tires late. At some point he might hurt Tunney, but Gene showed matchless survival skills after the Long Count, and Sonny couldn't finish off Whitehurst when he had Bert in serious trouble at the outset of round nine in their rematch.

Bodhi has it about right. I also favour an edge of around ten rounds to five in favor of the Tunney of the Heeney fight over the best version of Liston.

Last edited by Duodenum; 12-07-2009 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 03:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

I was just thinking about this match-up!

Don't know who I'd favor; if they fought five times it would probably go 3-2.

I think Machen shows Tunney could survive against Liston; that's not really the point, though. I think the question is can Tunney be active enough to be atleast even going into the later rounds, without getting KO'd? If so, he has a good chance of winning.
One big question is, if/when Tunney gets dinged, does he get up with the sort of legs he showed against Dempsey?; if not, will he be able to tie-up Liston?
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:24 PM   #7
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
I think that Liston landed on Machen and that's another fine exaggeration on your part.

Certainly he landed enough to send Machen on the run after having success in the early rounds. I think it was the round three body shots that did this. He scores with beltline body shots throughout. He scores with a great right hand at the end of 8. Machen, a very skilled fighter, successfully takes away the uppercut though. If I remember rightly Sonny landed only one, after Machen slipped on water.

This fight is interesting though. Liston has all the physical advantages, Tunney has all the style advantages. Tunney's guard would work both for and against him...Liston likes to tag to the body against mobile opponents.

Best guess? Tunney gets caught by one of Liston's lunging attacks, perhaps a little later on when Tunney starts to tire a bit. I'll pick Liston by KO.
How do you estimate the probability of Tunney by stoppage?
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

i'll take sonny in about 4 rounds.tunney has nothing to hurt liston with.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius View Post
How do you estimate the probability of Tunney by stoppage?
Negligable.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:10 AM   #10
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
Negligable.
So you consider Liston to be more durable than Marciano?
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius View Post
So you consider Liston to be more durable than Marciano?
I'd say that Marciano was more durable but that Liston would be better equipped to eat the big turn-around style punch.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

I'd say Liston was more durable. I've seen the bombs Liston took from Williams, a much bigger puncher than anyone Marciano ever fought. In fact, your the first person I ever saw question Liston's chin ...

Anyway, Tunney by decision ..
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:08 AM   #13
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Maybe i'm off here, but i'd see durability as the ability to absorb sustained shots over an extended period - Liston never proved himself Marciano's superior in this department.

I'd say chin or punch resistance is the ability to absorb a given punch. Here i'd take Liston.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:23 AM   #14
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Gene Tunney was one of the smartest heavyweights ever.....I think I'll take Tunney by
UD...
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Sonny Liston vs Gene Tunney, 15 rounds

Gene Tunney had the ability to beat Liston,but not the physicality. I can envisage Gene building up a narrow points lead,before Sonny crowds and stops him.
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