There was a whole lot going on in the world fifty years ago. In the real world, hugely popular President, John. F Kennedy was embroiled in both civil rights issues and the ever-growing tension that was building in South East Asia. In England, the shock of the Profumo Affair was huge news, and in the same country members of pop music group The Beatles were closing in on taking the entire planet by storm.
In the boxing world, a young Cassius Clay was making noise, claiming the world heavyweight title was his destiny. For the moment, though, a hugely strong and terrifyingly intimidating former jail bird by the name of Charles Liston, Sonny to those who knew him, was looking like sitting on the heavyweight throne for, well, as long as he liked! Continue reading
by James Slater – Though the late, great Charles “Sonny” Liston is arguably best remembered (certainly by younger fans) for his two fights with the one man he could never intimidate, in Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, it is beyond debate that the former heavyweight king was one of the most adept boxers in heavyweight history when it comes to frightening an opponent.
Is Liston in fact, THE single most successful heavyweight in all of boxing when it comes to being able to win fights through little other than scaring his man stiff – therefore making his adversary an easy, ready-for-the-taking, deer caught in the headlights, “victim?” Of course, Liston had other ring skills, a punishing jab and awesome punching power, to name just two. But without his ability at terrifying an opponent even before the first bell, Sonny was certainly a lot less effective a fighter. This was also very much the case with another legendary heavyweight – the former champ who lists Liston as one of his ring idols. Continue reading
“No athlete was ever vilified more viciously and unfairly than Sonny Liston. Among other things, Liston was called an inferior Negro, less than human, slow-thinking, a primitive in a primitive profession, a latter-day caveman, a savage, glaring eyed gorilla, a rogue elephant, a congenital thug, a cop hater and stronger than a yoke of oxen and just as dumb.” Continue reading