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Did Sonny Liston throw his 1965 fight against Muhammad Ali?

  • Liston's lack of protest says a lot

    Sonny Liston was declared knocked out without a count. Ali shouted " No one will believe this". Clearly both knew how the fight was to end but Liston decided to do it his way and not play the game envisaged. He had by this stage little regard for the boxing establishment. If it had been a genuine knockout he would have had real grounds for protest at Walcott's ineptitude and the flouting of the rules. He didn't and that tells its own story.

  • Liston probably had no option.

    During the period 1958-64, Sonny Liston was almost certainly the greatest heavyweight of all time. A boxer-puncher, it has been written that an opponent had a choice, fight him and get knocked out like Cleveland Williams or box him from a distance like Eddie Machen and lose big on points. We will never know the true story of the Ali fights. He went into the first one carrying an injury to his left arm and clearly took a dive in the second - it is quite possible that he threw both fights. He was hugely disliked and not a big box-office draw. It seems likely that Ali knew the second fight was fixed in advance as he shouted " No one will believe this". There was real panic after the fight as boxing appeared to die that evening - promoters saw their financial prospects drain away, the boxing establishment feared for their future and reporters saw the end of their careers looming. There was a great panic to legitimise the 'punch' but no serious observer was fooled. Liston who was already hated was now despised but none of this should obliterate his greatness. Who was behind it all - the mafia? The muslims? Liston/Ali? Take your pick.

  • The photograph says it all.

    No boxer who has been knocked out puts out both gloves to save himself as he goes to the canvas. Liston was despised by the boxing establishment, the media and the US government. The fact that only 2,300 people attended the fight and mostly with complimentary tickets testifies to this. They couldn't allow him to win. He retaliated by a very poorly acted dive.

  • Obvious dive by Liston

    Unless they are blind, anyone can clearly see it was a fix.
    Ali was never a power puncher and he wouldn't have been able to KO Liston in a million years.
    The only question that remains, was why did Liston took a dive ?
    Was it because he bet against himself ? Was it because he was ordered to do so ? Was he threatened by the mob or maybe by the black muslims ?

  • The photograph tells the story

    Fighters who are knocked out do not put both gloves on the canvas to save themselves as they go down. Liston was very unpopular with the public, the boxing establishment and the media.. No one including him had anything to gain by him winning. He took the dive but did so in a way to do damage to boxing.

  • A definite dive

    It is impossible to believe that the only one punch or early knock-out scored by Ali was against someone as formidable as Liston. Ali was a light puncher which unfortunately led to his later problems. We will never know why Liston took a dive - possibly in both fights - but he was not afraid of Ali and said later to George Foreman that he should have and could have beaten him. Moreover Ali, not short of modesty, never took credit for the knock-out. If he wasn't convinced we shouldn't be.

  • Liston took a dive.

    Took two, as a matter of fact. Nothing about the first fight was reason for Liston to quit, unless he felt like being alive was better than the alternative. The second fight-no doubt about it. I love the so called "experts" that talk about that perfect punch that "KO'ed" Liston. Sure, a punch landed, but just enough for Liston to figure he could lay down without a lot of controversy. Ali had never before or since landed a "phantom punch" that ever put anyone down, not to mention someone as tough as Liston. I don't think he ever scored a one punch knockout, except for this dive.

  • Of course Liston took a dive.

    The dive was obvious, in fact too obvious for anyone with even a passing knowledge of boxing. It threw the world of boxing into disarray and threatened its future, which is why so many boxing journalists tried desperately, out of self-protection, to validate the 'knockout'. Liston kept his part of the bargain, namely to lose. He felt no obligation to make it look real and must have enjoyed the post-fight disarray.

  • A Shameful Episode

    Liston was clearly ordered to take the dive. Ali knew this but expected that Liston wouldn't do so for three or four rounds. Liston made it look as bad as possible by going down from a very mild punch in the first round but didn't expect Walcott, the referee, to be so out of his depth to not control the situation including Ali's annoyance at not being able to claim a proper but fixed victory.

  • Sonny goin' down

    Mark Knopfler's song is all the evidence needed, "Sonny Liston's ballad" from his magnificent 2004 solo effort, Shangrila. It's obvious from Sonny's reaction to the so-called "anchor"punch that he was not hurt & the looked he gave Clay pays testament to the fix as well. Sonny clearly was a man of his word.

  • Complicated, But No

    What was the incentive for Sonny to throw this fight? Who paid him to do so? The theory makes no sense. It seems far more likely that, in the grand tradition of mob-controlled fighters, Liston was forced to take this fight when he did not have much desire to do so. Liston was pretty old (nobody really knows how old he was) and the training period was extended artificially when Ali had a severe hernia that required surgery.

    Old fighters have a very hard time staying in top shape and Liston obviously was not up to it. He came into the second fight in poor shape, got caught with a clean punch before he got warmed up and went down. Was the fight on the up-and-up? Not really - Liston didn't want to be there. But the mob doesn't pay its own fighters to take dives against fighters it doesn't control. That's just not how it works.

  • Just think it was as tasty as a barbeque chicken

    The barbque chicken is tasty but i also like it with a nice glass of rew wine not cider as its disgusting i prefer sex on sunday morning after chicken and wine the night before my wife usually sucks me off real nice on a sunday morning,we are both into our late 80s but still enjoy it ...Thanks

  • Silly Myth Destroyed.

    Watch the slow motion replay. Liston walks into a short but powerful right hand by Ali. Ask any fighter how much fun it is to walk into a punch. Liston's head is clearly jarred. If slow motion replay and multiple camera angles had existed at the time this silly myth would never have been born. By the way, it is IMPOSSIBLE for there NOT to have been a conspiracy in JFK's assissination.

  • Silly Myth Destroyed

    Watch the slow motion replay. Ali catches Liston with a short but powerful right hand as Liston walks into it. Ask any fighter how much fun it is to walk into a punch. Liston's head visibly is jarred. If replay and multiple camera angles had been available at the time this silly myth would never have been born. By the way, it was impossible for there NOT to have been a conspiracy in the JFK assassination.

  • Look at the ripple

    Sonny Liston's whole body ripples when Ali hits him. That's pretty difficult to fake. It looks like Liston walks into it and was simply caught way off guard. It can happy to any fighter and this time one of the most talented heavy weights of all time had it happen to him.

  • No, he didn't

    It would have been much more lucrative for Sonny to recapture the World Heavyweight crown. Besides, he wasn't someone who could be threatened to taking a dive. He was afraid of no one. He had more reason to win this rematch as he quit in the 8th round of their title fight due to a shoulder injury.

  • Liston dumbfounded by perfect right

    I believe Liston got caught with a perfect right that was unguarded. Ali hit him with the perfect short punch and Liston was brought down by the shock of the unexpected event. Whether he could have gotten up without the big flop onto his back is another question. Ali had him psyched out before the bell even rang and it was Ali's fight. The timing situation was a bit of a joke but Liston was beat.

  • No! He was never counted out!

    I have watched the fight countless times. 1) Sonny beat the count! Wrong you say, however I am correct. The ref never even began to count. Sonny said later he waited for the ref to start counting, but was able to get up before the ref started. If Sonny took a dive he would have STAYED DOWN. He got up and began fighting with Ali. 2) Think.. Was there a conspiracy with the time keeper and the ref and Liston to throw the fight? Of course there wasnt! Walcott the ref, was told by a sports writer and the time keeper to stop the fight after a
    Ali and Liston began fighting again. 3) Liston took a heavy right hand punch to the from Ali about 30 seconds prior to the "anchor" punch. If he was going to take a dive, that would have been a great time to fall. 4) If you watch the punch carefully you can see that it lifted up Liston's right leg. You can also see his head snap back and a ripple through his whole upper body from the force of the punch. 5) If you still have any doubts, watch the MMA fight with Anderson Silva knocking out his opp with a short right while back peddling. Same punch Ali threw!

  • No, Muhammad Ali was insurmountable.

    No, Sonny Liston did not throw his 1965 fight against Muhammad Ali, because Ali was the greatest fighter of all time. Ali fairly defeated Liston. Because Liston lost, some of his fans will want to find a way to explain it. However, there is no evidence that he threw his fight. He simply lost.

  • He got caught

    M. Ali had a wicked short left jab. He got caught by it plain and simple! I had a friend who trained with him and had learned the technique . I saw him k.O. A guy the same way. (Guy picked a fight, was over in a couple of seconds).


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