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Old 01-11-2011, 03:58 PM   #1
Il Duce
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Default 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Trouble always seemed to follow Sonny, or vice-versa.

October 16, 1962

Only two-weeks after demolishing Floyd Patterson and winning the
World Heavyweight Championship.

Sonny Liston is named 'Fighter of the Month' by Ring Magazine.

To clean-up his so-called persona, Sonny has embarked on a campaign
for a 'New Image'
This week, Sonny Liston had reasons for both 'smiles' and 'grimaces'.
Out to create a 'new image', Liston recently signed a pact with
Joe Glaser's Booking Corporation, and Sonny promptly made an
appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show".
Liston's past crept in, when he was halted by a Park Guard while cruising
in a Philadelphia Park, for driving 'too slow'.
Although he was released without charges, the newspapers used the
incident to headline his past brushes with the law.

Also plaguing the champ, was testimony by boxer Cortez Stewart, 28, by
a New York legislative Sub-committe, linking Sonny Liston to
Frank 'Blinky' Palermo, who is reputed to have 'underworld connections'.

Added to his woes, is a court suit growing out of a past escapade in the
same Philadelphia Park.
Mrs. Dolores Ellis, who alleges Liston and a companion impersonated police officers,
and halted her auto (Liston who was acquitted) is seeking more $5000 in damages.

'Liston Faces Same Old Problems'
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

November 1962,

No sooner than Sonny Liston won the "Heavyweight Championship of the World',
the problems developed.

Sonny's take from the September bout in Chicago, was a mere $282,015, not
including some overseas broadcast ancillary rights.
Of that money, $150,000 was put in an 'escrow account' with Floyd Patterson
in control, so that a rematch fight was guaranteed.

Also, receipts for the fight, which was promoted by Championship Bouts, Inc. were
seized, due to an investigation by the I.R.S.

Championship Bouts, Inc. unable to pay Sonny Liston and his manager/advisor
Jack Nilon, the full amount, started to pay Liston and Nilon in small incriments.

Liston who was having 'civil and personal' problems in Philadelphia, contemplated a move out of
Pennsylvania, and into Chicago, where some of the 'local controlled element' were based.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Il Duce View Post
November 1962,

No sooner than Sonny Liston won the "Heavyweight Championship of the World',
the problems developed.

Sonny's take from the September bout in Chicago, was a mere $282,015, not
including some overseas broadcast ancillary rights.
Of that money, $150,000 was put in an 'escrow account' with Floyd Patterson
in control, so that a rematch fight was guaranteed.

Also, receipts for the fight, which was promoted by Championship Bouts, Inc. were
seized, due to an investigation by the I.R.S.

Championship Bouts, Inc. unable to pay Sonny Liston and his manager/advisor
Jack Nilon, the full amount, started to pay Liston and Nilon in small incriments.

Liston who was having 'civil and personal' problems in Philadelphia, contemplated a move out of
Pennsylvania, and into Chicago, where some of the 'local controlled element' were based.
Sonny was quoted as saying "I'd rather be a lampost in Denver than the Mayor in Philadelphia"
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Sonny Liston on Cassius Clay,

"The only thing Cassius Clay can lick, is his lips"

When Sonny moved to Denver in early-1963, he and his wife bought their 'first home' in a quiet middle-class neighborhood.

Unfortunately, Sonny bought (gift) a new 1963 white Cadillac Fleetwood.
While attempting to live the quiet suburban life, Sonny's new car
stood out like 'a-magnet-in-a-field-of-metal'.

An easy mark, the car was found late at night, at local gin mills, seedy parts of
downtown Denver and at cheap motels.
As the Denver Police would say, 'it's not hard to figure out who is driving a new
white Cadillac at 3:00 in the morning'.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Numerous hassles started to develop between Sonny Liston and the Denver Police in early 1963.
As a precaution, to keep Sonny out of trouble, the Chicago-connections got involved, and guided Sonny out to Las Vegas, in late January 1963.
There, under the supervision of Irving 'Ash" Resnick, Sonny would be watched and
protected.

The rematch with Floyd Patterson was set, for April 4, 1963 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Sonny Liston would spend February and early-March in Las Vegas, setting up his training camp at the Thunderbird Hotel & Casino.
Ash Resnick, would protect Sonny and keep him out of trouble.

Resnick, the smart businessman, used Sonny's name to bring in Casino players and
east-coast gamblers.
Setting up Liston's Public Relation Headquarters in the Hotel Coffee Shop, and
offering up public viewing of his training sessions.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Ash Resnick was a great service to Liston dont you think?

Didn't the two of them also hook up Joe Louis with the greeting job in Vegas? Liston was always very generous to Louis when Joe was in his worst of days.

I wish the entire public perception of Sonny changed. Its a disservice to a great man. And I also wish I were alive when he flew back from defeating Patterson and becoming champ. I would go to that airport, bring a bunch of people, and go crazy when he stepped off the plane.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Very nicely stated Mr. Rez,

In late 1962, Joe Louis was promoting fights out in Los Angeles, and he was
losing money.
Sonny, who had just won the Heavyweight Title in September, went on a short 2-week appearance tour at the end on October, which included several guest speaker events, as well as a Referee in several fights.
At the end of the month of October, Sonny Liston went out their and helped Joe in one of his promotions, and Joe Louis finally made some money on that one, about $4000.

Sonny went back to Philadelphia after that, but after the 'issues', he moved to Chicago
for about a month or so in December 1962/January 1963, before heading into Denver.

When Sonny went into Las Vegas, in late-January 1963 to start training for the Patterson rematch, he made sure Joe Louis was to be part of the Sonny Liston Management Team.
Sonny told Ash Resnick that they needed to help Joe out, because he was really near broke.
Sonny Liston always respected Joe Louis, and would always go out of his way to help him.

Last edited by Il Duce; 01-12-2011 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

March 1963,

After 6-weeks of training at the Thunderbird Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas,
Sonny Liston and his team moved to the Casablanca Hotel in South Ocean Beach, Florida.
A training camp was set up at the Hotel, to get Sonny prepared for the scheduled
April 4th bout versus Floyd Patterson.

This is where the hangers on and 'goombas' started to really associate with
Sonny Liston.
Liston was not taking training camp seriously, and was 15 lbs. heavier than his fighting weight.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Peach,

During training in Florida, mid-March 1963, Sonny Liston hurt his knee during a
publicity photo shoot.
The fight was pushed back 6-days, from Thursday April 4, to Wednesday April 10.

Liston strained his knee ligament, while swinging a golf club for a photo shoot.
He was told by the doctors, to suspend training for a few days.

The fight, promoted again by Championship Bouts, Inc., was again slowed by poor
promotion and the lack of public demand.

But it was determined that the tear in Sonny Liston's knee was worse than thought, and doctors
told Sonny to take 17-days off, to recuperate.

The April 10 date would also be cancelled, as Sonny Liston flew from Miami Beach to Chicago, to be checked by a
specialist. The doctor their confirmed the injury, and a new bout was set for a tentative date, mid May 1963.

Last edited by Il Duce; 01-13-2011 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:38 AM   #10
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

With Sonny Liston out of action, until at least mid-May,
the promoters for the Miami Beach fight (Championship Bouts, Inc.) would have to reschedule the bout to a new location.

Since the Miami tourism crowd would be headed out in April, the Miami Beach area would
be a 'ghost-town' in mid-May.

Jack Nilon, Sonny Liston's manager/advisor then recommended Baltimore as a new fight location, and the bout could revolve around the Preakness Horse Racing Event, held on Saturday, May 18th.

But when that attempt also fell through, the new champ and Jack Nilon returned back to
to their respective homes to regroup.

When it was apparent that Sonny Liston had no desire to fight Floyd Patterson
again, or at least in Miami Beach, Floyd Patterson tried to sue Sonny Liston for
'breach of contract'.
One claiming that, Sonny Liston as physically fit to enter a boxing ring and fight, in April 1963.
And another, claiming that Sonny Liston did not fulfill his obligation, after an extension was allowed, and did not go through with a contracted fight for a rescheduled date in May.

Sonny Liston provided counter-documentation, proving that he was not fit to enter a boxing ring, until
June 1963.

At this time, The New York Times leaked an article, by way of Floyd Patterson's team, revealing
that Sonny Liston was born in 1917, not 1932 as he claimed.
Meaning, Sonny Liston was actually 15 years older than he claimed.
Sonny Listons age claim of 30, was now being stated as a possible 45, in 1963.

Last edited by Il Duce; 01-13-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

With the lawsuits dismissed im May 1963,
Sonny Liston went back to Denver.
Contracts were then signed, and a June 27, 1963 bout was scheduled for
Las Vegas.

Floyd Patterson went back to Highland Mills, New York to continue training.

Sonny, after getting things in order, went back to the Thunderbird Hotel, Las Vegas, and under the watchful eye of Ash Resnick, set up training again.
Jack Nilon, though Sonny's manager, was back East setting up later 1963 plans.

Sonny Liston while training (May 1963) in Las Vegas, went down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to appear as a celebrity
Referee in a May 30 match between, veteran Welterweight Curtis Cokes and local star Flory Alguin, in a bout for the
American Southwestern Welterweight Title.

Liston was also, there to talk to the Civic Auditorium Promoters about a possibility of holding a Title fight their
with Sonny facing Light Heavyweight Champion, Harold Johnson.

Last edited by Il Duce; 01-13-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Doc,

Floyd Patterson was at his Hudson River Training Gym in Highland Mills, New York,
thru May 1963.
June 1, he headed out to Las Vegas.
The Title Fight was originally scheduled for June 27.

But again delays followed, and it was pushed back to July.

Sonny Liston was training at the Thunderbird Hotel, May and June.

Jack Nilon was hoping for bouts with Light Heavyweight Champion Harold Johnson,
and possible ex-Champion #4 Ingemar Johansson.

#1 Eddie Machen was hospitalized, after suffering a nervous breakdown, and
the boxing public was skeptical over another #5 Cleveland Williams III Title Fight.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Doc,

Prior to the Floyd Patterson fight in Las Vegas, there were skeptics on the
Nevada State Boxing Commisssion, that didn't want the fight there, because of the expected results.
They contatced the doctor who examined Floyd Patterson in Chicago, just before
the earlier Title fight with Sonny Liston.
The doctor said, Floyd Patterson 'froze in the dressing room'.

Jack Nilon was trying to get Las Vegas to pre-sign a Harold Johnson fight at the time, but the commision decied to pass on that proposed fight.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Doc,

The reason the Ingemar Johansson fight never got made, because of the 'Tax Man'.
Though they wanted to get that fight going in later-1963, the U.S. Government
would have taken 90% of Johansson's fight purse.
He was offered $2,000,000 to come to the United States, but Ingo was making good
money with his commercial fishing business in Sweden.
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: 'The Sonny Liston Train Wreck'

Doc,

After the Floyd Patterson fight (7//22/63) in Las Vegas, Sonny Liston went on
a boxing exhibition tour of Europe (England and Copenhagen, Denmark).

It was contracted by Associated Booking, Corp. A 6-week tour for $50,000 plus
expenses.
It was supposed to be an August and September Tour.
The Liston Team was also trying to stir up interest in European Challengers.

The regular group of Henry Cooper, Brian London, Joe Erskine and Dick Richardson didn't strike up a fancy, and
German Karl Mildenberger was still developing, and wasn't ready.

Ingemar Johansson was still contemplating a fight, despite his unimpressive performance over Brain London earlier.

'Playboy' Johnny Prescott who was hot at 20-0-2 in early 1963, lost 2 bouts by early-Round Knock-outs, and
was eliminated.

But Billy 'Golden Boy' Walker at 9-1-1 (7 KO's), looked like he might be a possible mid-1964 opponent, if he could pad his record with 5 or 6 wins.

Last edited by Il Duce; 01-15-2011 at 10:22 AM.
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