When Liston sparred Joe Bugner

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Glass City Cobra, Jan 24, 2023.

  1. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    'Sonny was still one of the most feared boxers on the planet, and was said to have underworld connections. He could still pack a punch, but was not a big mover around the ring. In fact, I don't think he moved at all.

    I went to see him train in a huge auditorium, with the boxing ring in the middle. My manager said to me, 'Why don't you put a pair of gloves on? Get in the ring and we'll force Liston to spar with you.' Sonny wouldn't pass the chance to smash up a kid, he said. Sonny's management told him I'd come all the way from England to spar with him. At first, Liston refused, but when his management persisted, he said, 'Tell that white boy to get in the ring and I'll show him a thing or two.'

    When I actually faced him, I felt my sphincter muscle contract. Sonny was still an imposing figure and he did not acknowledge me. When the bell went, I moved backwards and forwards, ducking, weaving, trying not to get too close to him. We went a couple of rounds and I could see he was getting frustrated. In the third round, he stopped the spar and said, 'Stand still, you white motherf*****.'

    He was a slugger though - what idiot would stand toe to toe with him? There was no way in hell I was going to stand there and get hit! So I continued to run rings around him. He would set himself up for a jab and I would move. I remember hitting him with some great combinations.

    Sonny stopped the session short, turned to his manager and said, 'Get this f***** out of here.' I left straight away.'

    - Joe Bugner
     
  2. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    George Foreman gave an account of what it was like to spar with an OLD Liston and he basically said it was painful
     
  3. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Yup he admitted he had to actually box and use his brain despite being the younger bigger guy because Liston was still so damn strong and heavy handed.

    It's amazing how many boxers gave Liston props. It's a shame people tend to only focus on the controversial 2nd fight with Ali as if that sums up his whole career. He gets so underrated.
     
  4. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    It’s a strange phenomenon who gets a pass for quitting (as Liston did in Ali I) or throwing a fight (as some feel he did in the rematch) and who doesn’t.

    Duran quits against Leonard and he’s got thousands lining up to say it’s no fair because he got fat and they give him a pass.

    LaMotta claims he threw a fight and he’s hailed as a hero for it, lol.
     
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  5. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I’m sure dealing with Liston’s Piston-like jab with that 84” inch reach was a nightmare for young George. Especially given that defense wasn’t Foreman’s strong point at that early stage.
     
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  6. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    Great story.
    Now if Bugner had been in against Liston instead of wepner?
     
  7. Pugguy

    Pugguy Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Never heard/read this one before Glass. Thanks. Force Liston to spar with you? Lol, I would think the reverse would be truer for most people. Lol. Did this come from a book/article?
     
  8. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Oooh that would be an interesting fight. Liston had completely mastered his bludgeoning jab at that point and rearranged poor Wepner's face. Of course, the difference between Bugner and Wepner's defense is like night and day. Then again, Liston was more skilled and well rounded than Shavers who managed to finish Bugner. It's a tricky matchup.

    Based on the sparring session, I think Bugner would need to at his absolute best just to survive, let alone win. He can't run all 12 rounds and simply running won't allow him to win or it would be a repeat of Liston's fight with Machen. I think this would be a nail biting affair and it would depend on the taste of the judges. Liston should never stop throwing the jab and backing Bugner up even if he doesn't connect, then go to the body and not bother with heavy bombs to the head unless there's an opening. Bugner should try and counter Liston with constant side to side movement as opposed to simply stepping backwards, tie Liston up when he gets close and reset.
     
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  9. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Saw the story shared on fbook.
     
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  10. ThatOne

    ThatOne Well-Known Member Full Member

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    The Bugner that went 53 rounds with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier without being stopped would lump up the faded version of Liston that whupped the Bayonne Bleeder.
     
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  11. lone star

    lone star Member Full Member

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    39 rounds to be exact. But who’s counting?
     
  12. ThatOne

    ThatOne Well-Known Member Full Member

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    LOL. I don't know where I got my extra 14 rounds from . I'm a big Bugner guy because he's a good guy. There are some alphabet champs he could have whupped.
     
  13. ThatOne

    ThatOne Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Because they are agenda driven posters who have to denigrate Ali's and Leonard's wins over Liston and Duran and I would add Hagler by saying they were ill prepared, hurt, or deeply faded.
     
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  14. lone star

    lone star Member Full Member

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    True. I think he is too underrated nowadays.
     
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  15. Flash24

    Flash24 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Amen...