Who was the better fighter, Sonny Liston or Evander Holyfield?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Rakesh, Jan 8, 2022.

  1. Rakesh

    Rakesh Active Member Full Member

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    In this thread we are gonna compare every aspect of the fighters Sonny Liston and Evander Holyfield

    Number one: Resume

    Number two: h2h compatibility

    Number three: who did better in their era?

    Number four: whos style was more versatile/useful?

    Number five: who had a better career?

    and finally, number six: ranking higher in top 10 heavy list

    You may add your own comparison if you wish.
     
  2. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Put it this way, if you could put Holyfield's head on Liston's shoulders, you would have an almost invincible fighter!

    Holyfield beat a lot more elite fighters, over a much longer period.

    Head to head, Liston didn't seem to have any obvious weaknesses, from the neck down.

    Liston was an underachiever, and Holyfield was an overachiever.

    Holyfield's career had the happier ending of the two, and perhaps that needs to be taken into consideration.
     
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  3. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

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    Resume? Holyfield because starting with Qawi he fought an uncommon list of dangerous opponents. Looking at Liston you can't be rigid and only consider Liston's championship reign. You have to look at his non title bouts before he was finally granted a shot. Also consider he did lose his crown to probably the best heavyweight any of us has ever seen. The way he lost is the elephant in the room.

    H2H- I think Liston would do better in a heavyweight round robin if he was in top form for all of them.

    Who did better in their era? Holyfield. He took some Ls but he did regain the title a couple of times.

    More Versatile? Evander Holyfield he adapted his style change as he got older.

    Career?- Holyfield because of his success over a longer period but especially his success in the lower divisions.

    Ranking at Heavyweight- close, not to be full of .... I'd probably have one rated over the other and vice versa on a later list. Borderline top 10s
     
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  4. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Number one: Resume

    Holyfield's losses were far worse, but he has more quality wins over a very long stretch of time. 4x champ who fought damn near everyone with in the division.

    Number two: h2h compatibility

    If we're looking at just their primes, I would have to say Liston. He was possibly the best boxer puncher at HW and had so many tools with many great intangibles. Prime Holy's lack of power and tendency to willingly get into brawls with larger/harder hitting opponents often led to disastrous moments. Older Holyfield was a much smarter tactician but could still drop decisions or get beat up. Liston was highly dominant at his best and really only Ali managed to make him look bad.

    Number three: who did better in their era?

    Holyfield really fought in 3 different eras across two divisions and stayed active way longer than he should have. Liston can be put into 2 categories: pre and post Ali. Liston cleared out the division before winning the title and then destroyed the champion twice. After losing the title he only had a handful of decent wins and mostly fought no hopers and journeymen. Hoylfield consistently tried to fight the best contenders and champions and did have a few decent wins even when he was far past his prime. I'd say Hoylfield did better overall.

    Number four: whos style was more versatile/useful?

    Holyfield was more versatile. Could box, counter, pressure, or slug. Liston got a lot of mileage out of his heavy jab oriented, seek and destroy style and had few weaknesses unless you were very fast and mobile. I'd say tie.

    Number five: who had a better career?

    I'd say Liston. He didn't get beat up by guys like Ruiz, Toney, and Byrd, his only embarrassing loss was to his sparring partner Martin.

    and finally, number six: ranking higher in top 10 heavy list

    Hoylfield.
     
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  5. Rakesh

    Rakesh Active Member Full Member

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    Great replies!
     
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  6. Barrf

    Barrf Member Full Member

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    that applies to more than a few. take any fighter with huge wasted potential, and this change corrects that issue. that could be its own fun thread. i'm imagining an iron mike or a big daddy with the focus and dedication of holy. yikes.
     
  7. dinovelvet

    dinovelvet Antifanboi Full Member

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    Holyfield would be near unstoppable if he had the power of Liston.

    Id go with Holy on resume and overall skillset
     
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  8. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Addict Full Member

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  9. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    That was painful and revolting for me as well.

    However, whatever Holyfield has now, it is better than being dead!
     
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  10. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Well everyone dies eventually, and Liston's demise wasn't due to getting beat up by a nobody in the ring. It was criminal ties most likely.
     
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  11. GoldenHulk

    GoldenHulk Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Probably Holyfield in his prime, but Holyfield has lost to a lot of fighters he should have beaten since his skills have greatly eroded. The guy has 2 divorces and numerous kids out of wedlock, and despite earning huge paydays went through his money like a hot knife through butter.
     
  12. Ali Holmes

    Ali Holmes Member banned Full Member

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    If Vitore can beat Holyfield then he would have never beat Galento...
     
  13. Jason Gordon

    Jason Gordon Member Full Member

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    Holyfield is one of the most complete fighters of all time
     
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  14. Ali Holmes

    Ali Holmes Member banned Full Member

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    Holyfield has the better resume. He beat ATG Light heavyweight Dwight Qawi, Bowe, a post prime but very dangerous version of Mike Tyson, he beat an old but durable and hard punching George Foreman, an old but still wily Holmes and lineal champion Michael Moorer. He also holds wins over Mercer, Bert Cooper and Rahman. All modern sized HW top contenders.

    H2H, I can see Holyfield beating Liston because of his mobility and fast hands, iron chin and expert counter punching.

    In his prime, Liston cleaned out the best of his division with the exception of Ingo, whom he would have wiped out but didn't get around to fighting. Holyfield wasn't as dominant but had a better career over a longer period of time.
     
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  15. Claw4075

    Claw4075 Ezzard Charles GOAT Full Member

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    Holyfield is the better fighter. Plain and simple.

    Holyfield fought exclusively the best of his era, and didn't have a 20-40lbs size advantage over them.

    H2H, Holyfield is one of the greatest boxers of all time. Possessing the best footwork in the heavyweights after Ali, an excellent sense of timing and an ability to adapt, Holyfield basically had it all.

    Although Liston did do better in his era, he had a significant size advantage over his opponents. His best wins are quite questionable.

    Holyfield had a way more versatile style as he fought a large span of opponents with varying styles and skillsets.

    Liston most likely had a better career than Holyfield due to carefully picked opponents, but Holyfield only started losing when he was extremely old, and not to some tomato cans but to the rising top contenders of the next era. Still, the only 4x HW Champ.

    Personally I rank Evander #4 in my own Top 10 HWs. I never thought of ranking Liston and if I did, it would be outside the Top 10.
     
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