Why Joe Frazier Would Have Destroyed Sonny Liston

06.01.06 - By Jim Amato: I just had the pleasure of watching a replay of Liston-Patterson I. Although Sonny crushed Floyd in an impressive fashion, in the words of the great Max Schmeling, "I see something." It was up close on the slow motion replay. I saw how often Floyd's bobbing and weaving style made Liston miss badly. I've always felt that Liston along with George Foreman had the perfect style to thwart Joe Frazier. With Big George, I have no doubt, since he has twice proved his point. However, with Frazier facing Liston, I'm not so sure anymore.

I have Liston ranked high among my all time heavyweights. He's #6 on my list behind Ali, Joe Louis, Larry Holmes, Jack Johnson and Foreman. He had the jab, the strength, the power and the killer instinct. Liston was a big heavyweight in his era. Circa 1971...The Joe Frazier who beat Muhammad Ali in Madison Square Garden on March 8th was one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Frazier was never better before and he was never the same after.

I can not remember a fighter so motivated to win that he put his whole career and future on the line to achieve victory. On that night Joe Frazier was great.

Take that Joe Frazier and match him against Sonny Liston on his best night and what do you get ? One hell of a fight!

When I saw Floyd bobbing and weaving, effectively slipping the Liston jab I thought to myself, how would Frazier react in that situation? If you took away Liston's jab, you won half the battle. Yes, Liston had a good uppercut, which would be effective in deterring an aggressive fighter on coming forward. Still, Liston was not that much bigger than Frazier. Foreman and even Ali, were just bigger and stronger than Frazier and it enabled them to simply out fight the smaller Frazier. Liston in top shape was 210-215. Worst case scenario, he would have ten pounds on a prime Frazier.

I just feel that Frazier could have taken the best Liston had to offer. Liston was a very slow puncher. He did not throw short, sharp and accurate punches like Joe Louis. Liston was a mauler and a brawler. I could see Frazier just sliding under those shots and landing murderous left hook counters. How many of those could Liston have taken? From the way I see it, Joe has one of the best left hooks in the history of boxing. Just ask Ali, Jimmy Ellis and Bob Foster.

If Frazier could survive the crucial first and second round, I see him picking up momentum and just breaking Liston down. I've got to go with Frazier.

Article posted on 06.01.2006

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