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Old 04-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #1
SuzieQ49
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Default Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

According to Spokesman Review

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According to Milwaukee Journal

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Anyone have the Ring Magazine monthly ratings of 1960? I would love to put an end to the debate whether Williams was top 10 rated when he fought Liston the 2nd time.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
McGrain
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

I know what you mean, it's because people who want to run down Sonny bang on about it, "he wasn't ranked, he wasn't ranked".

Of course he was ranked when he fought Ali. Fifth, I think.

Which version was better?

As you said yourself, it's safe to say that Liston fought the best version.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

It doesn't really matter if he was ranked or not, especially by RING magazine. I bet if I saw the list and checked some of the names ABOVE Williams (in places 1-9), I'd find at least one or two who didn't deserve to be above him.

It always baffles me how on this board so much stock is put in RING magazine's opinion and ratings as historical barometers of a fighter's quality, or even that people assume the RING ratings were good and honest.

At the time RING magazine ratings were accepted because they came out every month and fans bought the magazine,. It became a status symbol to have a place in RING's top ten.

But let's me clear : these ratings were drawn up Nat Flesicher or one of his disciples, and at one time by Jack Dempsey, or some freelance "ghost" writer. Or, at best, a small panel of three drunk Bert Sugar lookalikes (actually, the guys Bert Sugar modelled himself on). Back in the day I mean.
I'm sure there was dodgy dealings too, not that it matters.

I just think it's odd how so many discussions of this board seem to still hold the RING magazine top 10s from 50 or 60 years ago as some sort of holy scripture or Rosetta Stone.
As historians, perhaps we should be a bit more critical.
I mean, I don't see anyone putting much stock in Nat Fleischers ALL-TIME TOP 10 RANKiNGS, or having trouble questioning them.


Anyway, that's my side rant over with.
Yeah, it's not surprising Williams was ranked among the RING's top ten.

But I think he's often mentioned almost as some sort of long-standing top 3 or 4 contender, a bogeyman who was menacing the champion until Liston came along and cleared him out of the way.
It's been claimed "Patterson ducked X, Y, and Z" : Z being Williams.
"Ingo ducked him". "Williams was ducked". "All the guys Patterson wouldn't fight" blah, blah, blah.

The guy was rated 10th by RING magazine in 1960, was described as "unranked" or "not in thechampionship class" by Sports Illustrated in '58 or '59.
He was hardly some dark shadow or ogre looming over the championship. And neither was Liston, in truth, until significantly later than has often been claimed (eg. '58-'59).
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

If Cleve was ranked seems it would have had to be the NATIONAL BOXING ASSOCIATION (The WBA then.) I went thru all my 1960's Ring, No Cleve! Charles Liston was #2 thou.
Cleveland Willams was the No. 3 Contender going into his Fight with Ali, Best he was ever ranked by "The Ring!" Boxing Register updated record book also had Williams unranked for Liston 1959, and 1960. Course they also had Liston's 1968 ticket to the top ten, -Henry Clark unranked, when in reality he was No. 5 WBA and top ten Ring, beating Leotis Martin. Its tough to figure who had the best ratings-i'd probably have to go with Ring. WBA did not Rank ALI after his wins over top 1 and 2 Contenders, Quarry and Bonavena. HE HAD TO WIN THEM IN COURT! And nowhere ranked was Ali for the "Battle of the Century!" - Ring had him where he was No.1 contender.

Last edited by ronnyrains; 03-13-2015 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 03-13-2015, 04:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

Although a good fighter, Williams was not ranked until later. In those days you had to beat a one time rated fighter or an "At the time rated fighter" to get a listing. Sonny Liston and Bob Satterfeild were the first two rated opponents Cleveland met and they both knocked Williams out.

I think miteff was the closest Williams got to beating a rated fighter and that was not until 1961. IMO Williams most impressive win was against Curley Lee between the Liston fights. Lee was ruined as a fighter yet he had been a well regarded youngster even if he was not yet ranked. The 1962 Terrell fight seems to have been a simular win over a youngster, although Ernie went on to reverse the loss after 6 more learning fights.
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Old 03-13-2015, 04:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

Cleveland Williams with the ulitmate fringe contender; too good for journeymen, not good enough for real contenders:

You look at the guys he beat, even up to pushing 40, he handled all of the "prospects;
Terry Daniels
Billy Daniels
Gullick
Todd Herring
Sonny Banks
Roger Rischer
Alonzo Johnson
Miteff
Bethea
**** Richardson
Agramonte

Being relevant in 3 decades isn't bad. If you think about it he beat guys who fought everyone from Joe Louis to George Foreman.
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:26 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

No, the actual knock on Williams is that he didn't knock out any contenders leading up to the Liston fights so his KO%, power, threat... may be overstated.

This is a fair response when Pro-Liston posters try to build up Williams as an uncrowned Champion. That's no exaggeration, its been claimed that Champion Patterson somehow ducked this unrated fighter who would have destroyed him had they met, and Liston was the only man who could take this beast down.

Last edited by The Mongoose; 03-13-2015 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

Cleveland Williams was actually rated by the NBA as early as 1957. He got dropped for walking out on his rematch with **** Richardson (having apparently received a "message from beyond").
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

He was rated number 10 by the NBA at the end of October 1959 and was still there when he faced Liston in 1960.

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In 1961, he would stop Miteff. In 1962, he drew with Machen.

What's funny in those earlier links posted was, the night of Liston-Williams II, the "live" fight featuring sixth-rated Roy Harris was called after seven rounds so fans in the arena could watch the Liston-Williams fight on the big screen. Talk about giving someone the hook. Get off the stage, Roy.

Last edited by Dubblechin; 03-13-2015 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

I think Williams best time was from Liston 1 up to Terrell 1 where
he beat Terrell by TKO. Liston was referee in this fight.

Would love to see that , I do not understand why there are no recordings.
Thats so sad...

If I had a time machine I would go back and take up the fight in HD
including Liston vs Folley.
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mongoose View Post

This is a fair response when Pro-Liston posters try to build up Williams as an uncrowned Champion. That's no exaggeration, its been claimed that Champion Patterson somehow ducked this unrated fighter who would have destroyed him had they met, and Liston was the only man who could take this beast down.
In a nutshell.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:27 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

As of February 23, 1960 (April 1960 issue & the issue of Ring previous to the Liston-Williams II fight) these were The Ring's heavyweight rankings:

C: Ingemar Johansson

1. Zora Folley
2. Floyd Patterson
3. Sonny Liston
4. Henry Cooper
5. Eddie Machen
6. Billy Hunter
7. Roy Harris
8. Mike DeJohn
9. Joe Erskine
10. Alex Miteff

It wasn't until beating Alex Miteff in 1961 that Williams was ranking in the top-10 by The Ring, and then at #8 and #9 for several months.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetsci View Post
As of February 23, 1960 (April 1960 issue & the issue of Ring previous to the Liston-Williams II fight) these were The Ring's heavyweight rankings:

C: Ingemar Johansson

1. Zora Folley
2. Floyd Patterson
3. Sonny Liston
4. Henry Cooper
5. Eddie Machen
6. Billy Hunter
7. Roy Harris
8. Mike DeJohn
9. Joe Erskine
10. Alex Miteff

It wasn't until beating Alex Miteff in 1961 that Williams was ranking in the top-10 by The Ring, and then at #8 and #9 for several months.
That's what I found too.
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetsci View Post
As of February 23, 1960 (April 1960 issue & the issue of Ring previous to the Liston-Williams II fight) these were The Ring's heavyweight rankings:

C: Ingemar Johansson

1. Zora Folley
2. Floyd Patterson
3. Sonny Liston
4. Henry Cooper
5. Eddie Machen
6. Billy Hunter
7. Roy Harris
8. Mike DeJohn
9. Joe Erskine
10. Alex Miteff

It wasn't until beating Alex Miteff in 1961 that Williams was ranking in the top-10 by The Ring, and then at #8 and #9 for several months.
A more pertinent question might be, would you pick:

Cooper
Hunter
Harris
Erskine
To beat him?
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:04 PM   #15
mattdonnellon
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Default Re: Cleveland Williams rated 10th when he fought Liston in 1960

I might have back in November 1960.
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