He is the biggest mystery in the history of the heavyweight division. He may be the most feared fighter in history. Unfortunately, he suffered one of the most tragic and premature endings of any pugilist and we were left with a plethora of questions. How old was he “actually”? How did he die? Were the Clay/Ali fights rigged? Was his jab really the equivalent of a straight right? Most importantly, what if he survived his early expiration date and continued waging war in the 1970s against the rising Golden Age?
That is the subject of today’s video. I posed this question, originally, in the 1970s heavyweight timeline documentary; today we will examine the potential impact Sonny Liston may have had among the giants of the 70s heavyweights. I’ve taken into account his age, granted some “second prime” leeway (ala Foreman or Holyfield), axed the outside forces (like the mob), reshaped the historical schedule by inserting him into the picture with the rock/paper/scissors (Ali, Frazier, Foreman) of the decade, and considered the historical impact he would have on his contemporaries and successors. The careers of those around Sonny are also considered; the paths of others as they approach encountering Liston are seen through bonus fantasy matchups we never got in reality.
Also featured are other dream matches against the likes of Ken Norton, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers. The more things change, the more they stay the same; I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised and content with the results of the simulation. The fantasy “booking” picks up directly from the conclusion of Sonny’s bashing of Chuck Wepner on June 29, 1970 in Jersey City.
What if, instead of going after Bob Foster, reigning WBC and WBA champion Joe Frazier chose to defend his title and his honor against the Big Bear? Remember that Sonny spoke of how a fight with Joe would be like “shooting fish in a barrel” (in other words, he would “Floyd Patterson” Smokin’ Joe). From here on, the heavyweight division sees a grand alternate timeline of which I hope you enjoy. This one’s for you Mr. GEZZA.
From my heart to yours, boxing fans, TheCharlesJackson presents: What If Sonny Liston Fought in the 1970s?
Written, narrated, and produced by TheCharlesJackson for my new channel BoxingPedia.