“WHAT IF” Liston had been trained as a child...

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Oddone, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. Oddone

    Oddone Bermane Stiverne’s life coach. Full Member

    Aug 18, 2019
    Sonny Liston had an early life that was not conducive to becoming a champion. He was beaten as a young child and worked fourteen hour days on a farm. He often worked odd construction jobs, mob enforcement jobs... he was beaten by the police often etc etc.

    All these things, combined with poverty that meant he didn’t get the nutrition or medical attention his body needed, plus the fact that he started boxing at Twenty years of age, all worked against him.

    Imagine now a skilled trainer finds an eight year old or ten year old Liston and teaches him... how different would his career have been?

    World champion for five or ten years? Does he still lose to skilled movers do his his physical build?

  2. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Ironically, it was his harsh life that likely contributed to his success. The disdain he had for authority figures obviously stemmed from his poor relationship with his father and police and likely kindled a rebelliousness and drive to achieve some form of success so that he could live independently.

    But regardless of how you view the tragedies and how much they are responsible for making him a great fighter, he was undeniably a physical specimen and would have been a good boxer in any era. With a stable living environment and a strong amateur background from an early age, I dare say Liston may have been the potential h2h goat or close to it. Despite his set backs, starting boxing late, and frequently having layoffs due to drugs/alcohol/prison/etc, he still ended up a champion who had cleared out the division prior to his title shot.

    He had a top 5 jab in the division's history, bludgeoning power with either hand, a solid chin, tremendous body puncher, a bloodthirsty finisher who didn't let you off the hook, underrated defense, good combination puncher, and could box as well as slug up close. If he had someone like an Eddie Futch or Emmanuel Steward in his corner with a solid amateur background to hone his skills, the sky would be the limit. And if you add modern day sports science/medicine, weight training, a healthy diet, and a therapist to deal with his inner demons, Liston would be nearly invincible. He'd still probably struggle with guys who had very fast legs or who were very cagey defensive types, but with all those factors he might be able to work on or even overcome those flaws.
  3. ron davis

    ron davis Active Member Full Member

    Sep 2, 2013
    At eight to ten he should have ( taken lessons) learned to be a violinist, building up speed (in both hands and arms) reflexes ,muscles, and good defense, with a tucked - in chin. If you want to be a Champion. .
  4. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Be real• Full Member

    Oct 12, 2020
    He was said to have tried boxing as young as 13? He said so himself in an interview he was hit did not fancy being hit again and left.
    In his earliest boxing years as a Golden gloves boxer he was nothing special at all- I without trying to insult Charles have seen young boys with more perceived talent then he had. They grew into journeymen Sonny grew into a legend his change seemed to be really dramatic after he returned to the ring after his forced retirement.
  5. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    Sonny Liston was beaten as a child by his father, he had scars on his back as the result of his father. He left to join his mother, then the young life of crime began. His life was miles apart than Mike Tyson, who had Cus D Amato. Sonny had underworld figures like Frankie Carbo and Blinky Palermo as his mentors. Tyson appeared more sheltered than Liston, who collected debts for the mob. The other person who took an interest in Sonny was Father Murphey at the correctional facility.
  6. SolomonDeedes

    SolomonDeedes Active Member Full Member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Liston was obviously something special from the start, the way he seemed to appear out of nowhere in 1953 and start scoring world-class amateur wins - most famously against Olympic champion Ed Sanders. Optimistic comparisons with Joe Louis started right away.

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  7. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Nov 24, 2005
    I think he would have got to Carnegie Hall at least, Philharmonic level easily.
    Richard M Murrieta and ron davis like this.
  8. Reinhardt

    Reinhardt Boxing Addict Full Member

    Oct 4, 2016
    Hard times make hard men, if Roberto Duran grew up in a middle class household and started boxing you think he'd have been as good?
  9. ron davis

    ron davis Active Member Full Member

    Sep 2, 2013
    The hardest times were the 1930's, you had to be awful tough to survive, as there were thousands of fighters across the Country, who got their brains knocked out for $5.00 a round or less to feed their family. You had to be very lucky or very good to become a headliner.
  10. Oddone

    Oddone Bermane Stiverne’s life coach. Full Member

    Aug 18, 2019

    At no point was anyone suggesting that in any way for Liston.

    Being trained by a professional during a difficult childhood does not equal moving to the suburbs and getting soft. Liston wasn’t ever going to be in a middle class household, he was too anti-social at a young age.

    Also Roberto Duran is a bad example to use here since he was trained by the great Ray Arcel for eight years.. Liston was trained at twenty in a prison by a catholic priest who didn’t have half the knowledge Arcel did. His later trainers in Reddish and Sadler were also not at the level of Arcel or say Futch.

    Basically what I asked was what if Liston had someone like Arcel in his corner and life instead of the mob.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  11. NoNeck

    NoNeck Pugilist Specialist Full Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Getting iced out of a title shot, the shoulder in the first Ali fight, and the fiasco in the second one had little to do with his upbringing.
  12. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    I think that he would have grown up to be a rich spoiled yuppie snob, He would have behaved in an entitled manner He would have never learned when the going gets tough , the tough get going. The mean streets of Panama prepared him for his future in the ring like so many greats who grew up impoverished in the tough streets.
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  13. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    Agreed, the era of The Great Depression.
  14. HolDat

    HolDat Active Member Full Member

    Sep 25, 2020
    People were having a hard time before then...
    Depends where they lived (in the world) anyway.
    Oddone likes this.