Sonny Liston v Lennox Lewis in a street fight?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Scott Cork, Apr 26, 2022.

  1. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Footage means so much doesn't it, and if it's clear..........

    I need to re-run through some of Sonny's fights soon. It's about that time. Totally agree some of the skills showed clearly as he got older. He was a beautifully schooled heavyweight, truth be told. Skill is perhaps what separated him most in some ways.
     
  2. Pugguy

    Pugguy Well-Known Member Full Member

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    I better stop, I’m really getting my Liston on here. You guys have prob seen this You Tube package highlighting Liston’s jab feints. IMO, this is great stuff, some extremely keen eyed and talented uploaders out there:-



    Alrighty, one more and that’s it! Poor old Scrap Iron but gee, is Liston thumping him or what, in very crisp colour? Apparently, despite all the punishment over a career, including against renowned punchers like Liston, good ol’ Scrap lived to his late 70s with all his marbles apparently still intact.

     
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  3. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    For some reason Liston looked a lot better against Scrap Iron than he did against Martin despite it only being a few months later, and showed the ability to bomb away at a distance.

    Incidentally Scrap Iron said Liston hit harder than Foreman or Frazier.

    Foreman also said Scrap Iron had the best chin out of anyone he faced.
     
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  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Liston is great to watch. Old school skills.......at heavyweight.

    Scrap Iron did well considering. Quarry x 3, Frazier, Liston, Lyle, Foreman and other lesser punching top 10 contenders as well. Look at that lineup and take into account his abilities and obvious toughness and it's a heart warming story that he lived a good sound life.
     
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  5. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Martin was sooooo much better than Iron tho and taller with more reach as well. a much harder proposition.

    Liston was winning on all three cards tho.
     
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  6. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Don't want to make excuses but Foreman did say Liston had the flu at the time he faced Martin.
    George Foreman Discusses Friendship With Sonny Liston
    BY
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    Published Wed Dec 14, 2011, 10:43 AM EST
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    By James Blears



    So few really knew heavyweight boxing legend Charles "Sonny" Liston inside out of the ring, and the pattern of his life, which ressembled a knocked down book of horoscopes. One person who did spend time with him was George Foreman, who was a teenage sparring partner prior to his own Olympic Triumph in Mexico, and afterwards. George who's attending the WBC's Convention in Las Vegas has been sharing his memories with *******'s James Blears, who started by asking him, how it had all come about?



    GF: At the end of 1967, I was invited into Sonny Liston's training camp. His manager Dick Saddler needed a big guy for him to have atmosphere, so they asked me to come in and spar with him. And my trainer at the time asked me whether I would mind. I took him up on it. So I had that relationship before the Olympics. I sparred a couple of rounds with him, and boy what it did for my confidence. So after the Olympics, I met Dick Saddler who was the manager for Sonny Liston. I told him I'd like to go into boxing, but start slow with exhibitions, and would he be able to help me? That brought me to Saddler, and he brought me to Liston and we became stablemates.


    *******.com: What was Sonny like, and what was it like sparring against him? His left jab and left hook were monstrous.

    GF: His right hand was also a killer! There wasn't anything missing from Sonny Liston. He had the whole package. Of course, Muhammad Ali was more nimble, but there was no better accurate right hand punching, after that left jab. Saddler wanted me to learn, so he'd admonish Liston not to be too tough on me. But I didn't know any other way. No one had given me any information on how to spar, so every time the bell would ring, I'd try to fight. And a few times he knocked me off him, so I felt his power, and I knew he was a great boxer. But more than everything, he had coordination which meant that if he got you going with his left jab, he would keep you going until the bell rang. Liston had it going for him.

    *******.com: He wasn't as tall as you, but he had one of the longest reaches.

    GF: If you got into the ring with him, and try and catch him with jabs, you'd lose, because although he wasn't my height, when you looked across the ring he seemed to be ten feet tall. And he had extra long arms, which reached all the way down to his knees. He could do some wonderful things with them. And he had the widest fingers you've ever seen in your life. He was truely a big gifted heavyweight.

    *******.com: Do you think he was left handed. It's difficult to know, because he couldn't read or write.

    GF: I saw him sign autographs. Evidently he'd met a priest somewhere down the line, who'd shown him how to draw his autograph. Sometimes we'd both sign them, and I'd be done and he was still signing two or three, and it would always be done with his right hand.

    *******.com: What was Sonny like up in the ring, and outside the ring?

    GF: He was a good boxer because he'd learned to box early on. He'd been taught well, so he knew how to follow instructions in the ring. He wasn't wild. he followed the instructions of his trainer to a tee. And outside the ring, he was gentle and really kind to me. One time, I guess he didn't know that I didn't know that he was illiterate. I tried to show him a horrorscope book. I said read this, and I handed the book to him and he knocked the book out of my hand....get that 'Blankety blank....out of my face!" And it made me feel bad, but later on, Saddler made me understand that the Big Man didn't mean any harm. He was a nice guy, but he had this defensive mechanism that would make people stand so far away, and not to cross the line and find out too many of his secrets.

    *******.com: How old do you think he was when you met him? When he fought Muhammad Ali, he looked old already.

    GF: I had no idea of his age. As a matter of fact, it never crossed my mind because Liston was doing all the things the young heavyweight couldn't do. So physically there wasn't anything wrong as far as I could see, that was a challenge for him at his age. I saw him fight Henry Clark and Scrap Iron Johnson, and he was the one who had the stamina in the last rounds. The only time I saw a chink was when he fought Leontes Martin. But then Liston was sick prior to that. He got a cold he just couldn't recover from. And he would go out after a boxing match and start drinking and it would sometimes last a month. Then he'd come back and get into training. I think he finally went to the well, and there just wasn't any water.

    I spent a lot of time with Sonny Liston, and the last time I truely met with him, he asked me to read a contract. I read it to him, and he responded: 'That's what it says? That's what I thought." I wish I'd known earlier that he had a problem reading. I'd have stayed a little closer to him.

    Source:bscene.com (can't post the link for obvious reasons).

    I know Foreman's not exactly the most reliable of sources, but in this interview he states Liston was taught by a priest to write his autograph which oddly enough I was able to confirm.

    "His wife, Geraldine, whisked him off to Denver, Colorado, and put him under the care of Father Edward Murphy. He began learning to read and write, and to straighten himself out generally." Source:
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  7. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Perhaps but it might have been his time too as Foreman alluded to. Being so old and things finally catching up with you. He'd been fighting 17 years so it no biggie to lose to a contender at that stage.
     
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  8. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Don't tell that to Chok :lol: He'll tell you it was a career defining moment, Liston wasn't "much past it", and it's the reason he loses to Frazier, Dempsey, and Marciano. :lol: :lol:
     
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  9. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    :lol:
     
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  10. Journeyman92

    Journeyman92 Resident Gadfly Full Member

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    Well, to be fair he was fighting Scrap Iron Johnson... What might add to the formula is Liston was apparently sick or withdrawing from drugs at the time of the Leotis Martin fight. I forget which one though.
     
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  11. Pugguy

    Pugguy Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Great article, thanks. Full context is so important.

    Elsewhere, you can read Foreman being quoted as saying Liston wasn’t as old as people think - WITHOUT the all important qualification that Foreman based his opinion ONLY on how well Liston could still perform - not that George had any other specific reason to believe that Sonny wasn’t as old as many people guessed.

    I would say also that Martin was that much more stern comp than Scrap - though Martin still ate plenty of shots - imo, Martin’s particularly stiff jab was an outstanding and defining feature.

    Also, if Liston was as old as the 1950 census indicates, the Martin fight might’ve signalled the classic ageing over night and/or during the course of the fight. Until he was injured and experienced later round fatigue, exasperated by breathing issues, it seemed Sonny was beating Martin going away. I like the testimonies of Scrap and Foreman also, great stuff.
     
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  12. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Martin was also sparring partners and friends with Liston back in the day, and they shared hookers in hotel rooms.

    Also Martin was able to get away with a surprising number of low blows against Liston if memory recalls. It was very seldom discussed for some reason.
     
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  13. Pugguy

    Pugguy Well-Known Member Full Member

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    That’s right, he was Liston’s sparring partner - great point. That can advantage sparring partners a lot, particularly if their former employers have lost more than a step or two.

    Okay, I want to bite the bullet on a Liston biography, just one - so which one would either your good self or @JohnThomas1 recommend if you’ve read any yourselves? Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2022
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  14. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Excellent question. The devil and Sonny Liston was an excellent book. I liked it a lot. Gallender's book was... different to say the least but I liked it a lot despite some far-fetched claims.
     
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  15. Guru88

    Guru88 Active Member Full Member

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    Who gives a f?