Is Sonny Liston A Top Ten HW ATG?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by ThatOne, Aug 30, 2023.



Is he?

  1. Yes

    66.7%
  2. No

    33.3%
  1. Cojimar 1946

    Cojimar 1946 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Liston missed out on a lot of top contenders. I think we need to have a higher baseline in terms of ranked contenders beaten before we call someone an ATG. Such a resume would look bad if we were talking about a division other than heavyweight but for some reason people are willing to forgive heavyweights for not fighting other top contenders.
     
  2. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Which top contenders during Liston's reign, or even in the couple of years leading up to it, do you consider Liston missed?

    No one ever truly cleans out the division, but I think Liston did as close to that as just about any HW in history, during a run up to getting a title shot.

    Once Liston won the title, I suspect as the dethroned champion, Patterson would have been his no.1 contender, and then he defended against the guy most people deem to be the GOAT at HW.

    Have I missed something?
     
  3. Cojimar 1946

    Cojimar 1946 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Harold Johnson
    George Chuvalo
    Nino Valdes (prime version not faded guy Liston fought)
    Doug Jones
    Bob Cleroux
    Ingemar Johansson
    Ernie Terrell
    among others

    Liston was the best heavyweight in the world for possibly as long as 7/8 years (1955/1956 to 1963). It seems given the long time span he should have done more.
     
  4. ivancho

    ivancho Member Full Member

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    No, but for me is on the edge of the top ten list...sadly his title shot came a bit late
     
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  5. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo VIP Member Full Member

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    At one point in time the answer was an easy “ yes.” But since the careers of a lot of guys who have come and gone over the past 50 years I don’t know if there’s room for him there anymore
     
  6. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo VIP Member Full Member

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    I see your point and I don’t personally have Liston in the top ten. But he actually beat a lot of contenders before winning the title.
     
  7. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Going by the year end NBA rankings, in each year from 1957 to 1961 (the year before Liston won the title), Liston fought and beat at least half of the boxers that comprised the champion & top 10 contenders, aside from himself, in every single one of those 5-years, at some stage before & up to winning the title.

    In 1962's end of year rankings he fought half of the other 10, but only beat 4 (the 5th being Ali).

    Can you name another HW in all of boxing history, who had victories, at some point up to & including them winning the title, over at least half of the champion & top 10 ranked contenders (excluding themselves), in each of the 5-years preceding them winning the title?

    If not, it can be reasonably argued that Liston came as close to any HW in history to "cleaning out the division" before getting, and winning, his title shot.
     
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  8. fists of fury

    fists of fury Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Back then. Look at the quality of heavyweights since Liston. A definite no for me.
     
  9. fists of fury

    fists of fury Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Lol, just noticed Liston joined this forum on Wednesday and voted yes for himself.
    Poll is rigged.
     
  10. newurban99

    newurban99 Active Member Full Member

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    Wladimir Klitschko was, for me, unwatchable. He had all the aesthetic appeal of a Soviet apartment block. I hate seeing his name on these lists. I know he held a title for a long time. That only had the effect on me of estrangement from boxing during that time. I'd almost prefer viewing old Chuck Davey fight films than watch one of Wladimir's.
     
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  11. Dynamicpuncher

    Dynamicpuncher Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I don't like Wladimir either but I think he deserves a top 10 spot for his achievements, winning 23 world title fights is nothing to be sniffed at.

    But yes I agree his style wasn't pleasing on the eye.
     
  12. robert ungurean

    robert ungurean Богдан Philadelphia Full Member

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  13. catchwtboxing

    catchwtboxing Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    No for me, but I get it.

    -He didn't have a long title reign, but he was the unofficial champ for a long time when Patterson was scraping the barrel.

    -The guys he beat are not great fighters, but they were prime, quality, well-respected guys.

    - Head to head he was a beast in his own day, and is talked about highly by guys like Ali, Foreman, and Tyson.

    At the end of the day, not quite enough there, there, for me...but I get it.
     
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  14. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Excellent argument! I think I'm gonna move up Liston even more in my top ten (believe me I have zero problem doing so) :lol:. An outrageously stupid post that you easily debunked.
     
  15. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Thanks Swag.

    As I said earlier in this thread, no fighter in history literally cleaned out their division before becoming champion. None beat every top 10 contender in each of the few years prior to them winning the title, at some point up to & including winning the title.

    Therefore, anyone can name missed contenders in the run up to a title, for literally every champion in history. The key factors are quality & quantity of contenders fought & missed. In this case, I don't consider any the fighters Cojimar 1946 mentioned as better than Patterson, Machen or Folley. As for quantity, below is the NBA end of year rankings for 1957 - 61, Liston fought the fighters highlighted in bold, at some point up to & including his title winning run:

    1957:

    C Patterson
    1 Machen
    2 Folley
    3 Harris

    4 Pastrano
    5 Valdes
    6 McMurty
    7 Johnasson
    8 DeJohn
    9 Miteff
    10 Williams

    Total = 7;
    including each of the top 4 and 5 of the top 6

    1958:

    C Patterson
    1 Johnasson
    2 London
    3 Valdes
    4 Folley

    5 Pastrano
    6 Machen
    7 Cooper
    8 Harris
    9 DeJohn

    10 Liston

    Total = 6

    1959:

    C Johnansson
    1 Patterson
    2 Folley

    3 Liston
    4 Machen
    5 Cooper
    6 Harris
    7 Hunter

    8 Miteff
    9 DeJohn
    10 Williams

    Total = 7

    1960:

    C Patterson
    1 Liston
    2 Machen
    3 Johansson
    4 Folley
    5 Cooper
    6 DeJohn
    7 Miteff
    8 Moore
    9 Chuvalo
    10 Hunter

    Total = 5

    1961:

    C Patterson
    1 Liston
    2 Machen
    3 Lavorante
    4 Folley
    5 Johansson
    6 Williams
    7 Cleroux
    8 Cooper
    9 Erskine
    10 Rischer

    Total = 5

    Obviously, to provide balance, he only had 1 x successful title defence, which is why he's in the lower half of my HW top 10 all time, rather than top 5. As I said, whilst I remain open minded & stand to be corrected, I suspect his run up to the title is as close to cleaning out the division as any HW in history.
     
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