Boxing History

Sonny Liston – Mysterious Life and Death Feature

Sonny Liston – Mysterious Life and Death Feature

 

 

Charles L. “Sonny” Liston (unknown – December 30, 1970) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1953 to 1970. A dominant contender of his era, he became world heavyweight champion in 1962 after knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round, repeating the knockout the following year in defense of the title; in the latter fight he also became the inaugural WBC heavyweight champion. Liston was particularly known for his toughness, formidable punching power, and intimidating appearance.

Although widely regarded as unbeatable, he lost the title in 1964 to Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), who entered as a 7–1 underdog. Controversy followed with claims that Liston had been drinking heavily the night before the fight. In their 1965 rematch, Liston suffered a shocking first-round knockout which led to unresolved suspicions of a fix. He was still a world-ranked boxer when he died under mysterious circumstances. Underworld connections, along with his unrecorded date of birth, added to the enigma.

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