How much of an impact did Sonny Liston have on George Foreman's life?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by VeryMoistWalrus, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. VeryMoistWalrus

    VeryMoistWalrus New Member Full Member

    Mar 7, 2021
    I know he was his Sparring Partner, how did this affect Georges life moving forward and did he impact his life in any other way?
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.
  2. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    Without anything concrete to offer, I can only speculate that Liston had quite a bit of influence. Foreman once said that the tough guy image of his FIRST career was inspired by the way Liston acted. Later in his life he said that it was the wrong image for a champion to have and that it certainly wasn’t the way to make friends. As for other ways he may have been effected, I’m guessing that his sparring sessions with Liston helped George to be a better fighter.
  3. catchwtboxing

    catchwtboxing Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    I remember reading the article where George talked about how he liked to beat up his sparring partners, and he'd hit Sonny with some monster shot, and Liston would just say "no, son" and hit him back with a better one.

    Same article also said that George had a barn where he would hit the heavybag. It was a sort of shrine, as the only other thing in it besides the bag was a picture of Sonny on the wall.
  4. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    i can only assume that sparring with Liston must have been torture. He certainly doesn’t strike me as a man who Would take it easy on his partners. And while he was past his prime when Foreman was brought on board, George was only a prospect in his early 20’s. Even then he must have had some painful afternoons.
  5. VeryMoistWalrus

    VeryMoistWalrus New Member Full Member

    Mar 7, 2021
    Wow holy ****, thats crazy. Just the image of Liston in a deep, monotone voice saying that and then ripping a good right is frightening.
  6. Stiches Yarn

    Stiches Yarn Active Member Full Member

    Jan 2, 2021
    Beside the " intimidation " thing, Liston also taught Foreman how to use the jab, especially when it comes to set up hooks and uppercuts, which he would obviously use later in his career.
  7. SolomonDeedes

    SolomonDeedes Active Member Full Member

    Nov 15, 2011
    I wouldn't be surprised if this is totally untrue, but in Ali's autobiography he says Don King told him it was the chance to get revenge for Liston that finally persuaded Foreman to sign for Zaire - "George, you're the young Liston. You can show the world what Liston would have done to Clay in his prime."

    Anyway, here's a nice picture of Liston using his day off to help out with Foreman's training.

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  8. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    And then 20 years later that short right hand training contributed to the demise of Michael Moorer.
  9. Jester

    Jester Active Member Full Member

    Jul 27, 2014
    Liston seems to have exerted quite a bit of influence on Foreman during his younger years. Foreman has stated that he deliberately modeled his image on Liston's and tried to emulate him. It's clear that Foreman had a lot of respect for Liston.
  10. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 30, 2014
    "Sparring with Liston is the most dangerous thing that I ever did in my entire life. As I said earlier, no matter what I tried against him, it was me who had to revert back to boxing. Nobody made me box like Sonny Liston did and that happened every time we worked together. He taught me many things, including the importance of the jab. I just couldn’t get mine straight and every day he had me working on it. There were times when he could have knocked my head off but he didn’t because we were pretty good friends. I saw the way he stared at people and I took on some of that behavior to intimidate opponents. That was where some of that “Bad George” came from, hanging around with Sonny"

    He also took his days off, to go help George out, and they would walk around frequently take walks around the city, and Liston would frequently give the younger man advice.
  11. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    In all honesty, George Foreman represented the United States proudly in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, destroying all competition enroute to a Gold medal. President Lyndon B. Johnson was very proud of George, especially after waiving the American flag after winning Gold. But prior to his amateur career, Foreman ran the tough streets of Houston, Texas, much the way that Charles Sonny Liston wrecked havoc in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. Both were viewed as violent Bullies. George, according to Muhammad Ali, idolized Liston, modeling himself after him. The cold stare during the referee's instructions, meant to intimidate, to strike fear into the opponent. The only difference was that Sonny was backed by the underworld, and had spent time in the prison, assaulting other inmates of all sizes, there are no rules in a street fight. Foreman must have felt empowered because of the sparring sessions with Liston. But both fell prey to the Psychological warfare imposed on them by none other than Muhammad Ali, 10 years apart. Those tactics are meant to cause an opponent to lose his cool, creating frustration. It has been said that a bully fears an individual who is mentally challenged because they do not know what to expect. Ali took the intimidation factor away from George by telling him in the clinches, Is That All You Got George?, in their 1974 title bout. In that fight against those 5 fighters following the title loss to Ali, one of the opponent blew a kiss at Foreman. The aura of invincibility was over, Jimmy Young further exposed George's intimidation factor like Leotis Martin exposed Sonny Liston in Dec 1969. Maybe the newer edition of George Foreman was more disciplined, but the mean nasty Foreman was long gone, he took to shaving his head, selling grills, and converted to his religious beliefs.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
  12. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Bye for now! banned Full Member

    Oct 12, 2020
    What should be noted is Foreman looked up to bad men his entire life. The toughest street fighters up until Liston.

    I would say Saddler and Moore influenced George a lot more then Sonny much as we say he copied his jab from Liston I would think having two sages and camp visited by Louis, SRR ect would be more impactful as we can see in the olympics his jab was fine before Sonny despite what George says. I could of course be mistaken but this is just my theory.

    That guard, the stops and parries he uses the walking hooks and wrestling all remind me of Sandy Saddler.
  13. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    He won it for Sonny!
  14. JackSilver

    JackSilver Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jun 24, 2017
    You smoking crack again, ferguson?
  15. JackSilver

    JackSilver Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jun 24, 2017
    I would take whatever old Foreman says about just about anything with a mountain of sait. That guy clearly knew that he was in the entertainment business and played to the gallery like there was no tomorrow. Not saying he was outright lying all the time but he knew how to sell a good story and make it more colorful and appealing to his fans. It’s like those movies that says it’s based on a true story and people seeing that wording automatically think it is the true story even though it adds bits on and changes things in the story that never happened.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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