View Full Version : Sonny Liston: why didn't he get another title shot?


Toney616
05-28-2011, 08:19 AM
I'm being wondering about this for a while, can anyone fill me in?

Sugarj
05-28-2011, 10:46 AM
Well a one round KO loss in the return with Ali in 1965 hurt his reputation a lot, especially because many felt that he threw that fight. For whatever reason......probably this and his turbulent past, he wasn't included in the elimination tournament which featured the likes of Quarry, Patterson, Martin, Ellis and Frazier when Ali was banned in 1967.

I'd actually favour the late 1960s Liston against Jimmy Ellis and I wouldn't write off the chances of a motivated Liston against Frazier either (both of whom held different versions of the title until Frazier unified).

But Liston did lose to Leotis Martin in 1969, which all but finished any further chance for a title shot. He of course died in 1970.

Toney616
05-28-2011, 11:03 AM
Well a one round KO loss in the return with Ali in 1965 hurt his reputation a lot, especially because many felt that he threw that fight. For whatever reason......probably this and his turbulent past, he wasn't included in the elimination tournament which featured the likes of Quarry, Patterson, Martin, Ellis and Frazier when Ali was banned in 1967.
How did they rank fighters back then? Was it like today were you register with a sanctioning body and gradually work your way up the rankings?


I'd actually favour the late 1960s Liston against Jimmy Ellis and I wouldn't write off the chances of a motivated Liston against Frazier either (both of whom held different versions of the title until Frazier unified).

But Liston did lose to Leotis Martin in 1969, which all but finished any further chance for a title shot. He of course died in 1970.
That would of been a great fight

Scott9945
05-28-2011, 11:35 AM
Liston was actually blackballed after the second Ali fight. He couldn't even get a fight in the US for awhile. During Ali's absence, he might have gotten another big fight if he hadn't lost to Martin. But between the alleged dive and Liston's former mob connections, he was persona non grata. There was a lot of outrage after the Lewiston fiasco.

edgarg
05-28-2011, 11:54 AM
Liston was actually blackballed after the second Ali fight. He couldn't even get a fight in the US for awhile. During Ali's absence, he might have gotten another big fight if he hadn't lost to Martin. But between the alleged dive and Liston's former mob connections, he was persona non grata. There was a lot of outrage after the Lewiston fiasco.
Liston was quite a story. Nobody knew how old he really wa, and it was only pieced together years after he died. He was one of 23 children and the siblings and relatives interviewed show that he was most likely born in 1925, making him about 40 for the second Ali fight. That is about 5 or more years than the "official" date.

When he ran into that Martin punch, he was coming in to finish him off. It was around the 9th rd and he'd punished Martin heavily thoughout the fight. He'd won about 12-14 fights in a row at that time, and was trying to get another title fight.

Liaton, being illiterate, was apawn in the hands of not only the Mob, but also of the boxing Commission. he was regared as a pure thug, and they were always "passing sentence" on him for something or other. They actually threatened to take away his licence, (I think before he became champ, but maybe after) unless he rehabilitated himself by placing himself under the rule of a Catholic priest (can't remember his name) who was supposed to teach him to read and write, and generally "be a mensch".

He NEVER got any respect, and fear was mixed with contempt from almost everyone. His wife (think her name was Geraldine) always said that he was a good man, kind and full of humour. But his PUBLIC persona was what you all know, and what we all saw. He could not be a
mixer' like most heavyweight champs because of his lack of even primary education and "people skills". Long before he won the title, he was the most feared heavyweight in the world. In fact he was regared by the experts as unbeatable, and they nearly all came to a consensus that the only person who could beat him was Harold Johnson.

young_robbed
05-28-2011, 12:00 PM
He certainly deserved it. But it probably had to do with his reputation after the Ali fights.

Had he not died, he would have went on to fight Chuvalo, and then Frazier.

JAB5239
05-28-2011, 07:53 PM
Liston was actually blackballed after the second Ali fight. He couldn't even get a fight in the US for awhile. During Ali's absence, he might have gotten another big fight if he hadn't lost to Martin. But between the alleged dive and Liston's former mob connections, he was persona non grata. There was a lot of outrage after the Lewiston fiasco.

I never realized he fought in Sweden and was promoted by Ingamar Johansonn, a fighter who CLEARLY avoided him.

Toney616
05-30-2011, 05:51 AM
Liston was actually blackballed after the second Ali fight. He couldn't even get a fight in the US for awhile. During Ali's absence, he might have gotten another big fight if he hadn't lost to Martin. But between the alleged dive and Liston's former mob connections, he was persona non grata. There was a lot of outrage after the Lewiston fiasco.
Thanks for this

Ziggy Stardust
05-30-2011, 02:53 PM
Liston was quite a story. Nobody knew how old he really wa, and it was only pieced together years after he died. He was one of 23 children and the siblings and relatives interviewed show that he was most likely born in 1925, making him about 40 for the second Ali fight. That is about 5 or more years than the "official" date.

When he ran into that Martin punch, he was coming in to finish him off. It was around the 9th rd and he'd punished Martin heavily thoughout the fight. He'd won about 12-14 fights in a row at that time, and was trying to get another title fight.

Liaton, being illiterate, was apawn in the hands of not only the Mob, but also of the boxing Commission. he was regared as a pure thug, and they were always "passing sentence" on him for something or other. They actually threatened to take away his licence, (I think before he became champ, but maybe after) unless he rehabilitated himself by placing himself under the rule of a Catholic priest (can't remember his name) who was supposed to teach him to read and write, and generally "be a mensch".

He NEVER got any respect, and fear was mixed with contempt from almost everyone. His wife (think her name was Geraldine) always said that he was a good man, kind and full of humour. But his PUBLIC persona was what you all know, and what we all saw. He could not be a
mixer' like most heavyweight champs because of his lack of even primary education and "people skills". Long before he won the title, he was the most feared heavyweight in the world. In fact he was regared by the experts as unbeatable, and they nearly all came to a consensus that the only person who could beat him was Harold Johnson.

Thanks for this. It sums up Sonny perfectly. You're correct btw, his wife's name was Geraldine. And btw, if you got Sonny around kids the "Big Bad Bear" was became the "Big Lovable Teddy Bear".....there was a huge difference between the public persona and the real man.

Poet

Sugarj
05-30-2011, 04:20 PM
How did they rank fighters back then? Was it like today were you register with a sanctioning body and gradually work your way up the rankings?


That would of been a great fight


Well you only had the two world governing bodies back then, the WBC and WBA. Liston may well have received a title shot based on his ranking in the Ring magazine if he had kept winning. Its funny but I'm sure the Ring magazine had Floyd Patterson ranked ahead of him in the late 60s.......even though there would be little doubt as to the outcome of a third match.

If he had remained in the top 5, a title shot probably would have happened eventually. But hell, Leotis Martin got to him regardless.