Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote that it was "no phantom punch." A stoic Liston finished the fight, but lost in an eight-round split decision. Liston decked Martin with a left hook in the fourth round and dominated most of the fight, but Martin came back and knocked Liston out cold in the ninth round. The cops even had a name for Sonny and his big checkered shirt: the “Yellow Shirt Bandit.”. Banker said, "Sheriff [Ralph] Lamb told me, 'Tell your pal Sonny to stay away from the West Side because we're going to bust the drug dealers.'" Top contender Zora Folley was stopped in three rounds. He was arrested and given five years in the Missouri State Penitentiary. But Liston found a chilly reception waiting in his adopted He was born in St. Francis in the state of Missouri, USA.  Before his bout with Liston, Muhammad Ali consulted Machen and was advised that the key to survival was to make Liston lose his temper. Geraldine remembered her husband as, "Great with me, great with the kids. James Ellroy portrayed Sonny Liston as a fight loser, a heroin addict, a black racist, and a Mafia jawbreaker in his novel "The Cold Six Thousand.". In The Greatest, the 1977 film about the life of boxer Muhammad Ali in which Ali played himself, Liston was portrayed by Roger E. Mosley. He managed to turn his cruel past to his advantage.  Liston was inducted into the international Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. On September 25, 1962, Liston made history by becoming the heavyweight champion. Larry Merchant, then a writer with the Philadelphia Daily News, wrote: "A celebration for Philadelphia's first heavyweight champ is now in order. "A celebration for Philadelphia's first heavyweight champ is now in order," Philadelphia Daily News sports editor Larry Merchant wrote. | And in round nine, the referee stopped the fight. His heavyweight title-winning victory on September 25, 1962, was indicative of his powerful style: After a mere two minutes, he knocked out Floyd Patterson, which marked the first time in history that a reigning heavyweight champion was counted out in the first round. , Liston married Geraldine Chambers in St. Louis, Missouri on September 3, 1957.  Ironically, Patterson's manager, Cus D'Amato, associated with racketeers and had his manager's license revoked by the New York State Athletic Commission for alleged misconduct in connection with the Floyd Patterson–Ingemar Johansson title fight in June 1959. He went on to win several amateur matches. It was the last great moment of Sonny Liston’s life. But others contend he just wasn't the same Liston. But upon arrival, Liston was met by only a handful of reporters and public-relations staff. His mother separated from his father and went to St. Louis in Missouri. Liston returned to the United States and won seven fights, all by knockout, in 1968. Stuttgarter Amtsblatt No. Tosches, Nick (2000). He quickly destroyed all the leading heavyweight contenders--Roy Harris, Zora Folley, Cleveland Williams--to earn a title shot against Floyd Patterson. Finally, one cold January night in 1950, Sonny walked into a diner with a .32 revolver in his hand and a yellow-and-black checkered shirt on his back and took the place for everything they had: $37. His father was closer to 50. angelsunchained, Other Works The subsequent rematch with Clay on May 25, 1965, included the infamous "phantom punch." To paraphrase George Jung, Sonny Liston went into prison with a bachelor’s in brawling and came out with a doctorate in boxing. He cleaned chickens at the local market, earning $15 a week. (3) The mob promised Liston some money to throw the second Ali fight, but they never paid him. On July 28, 1963, Liston joined a group of 500 African Americans in Denver who marched to a post office to mail letters urging the Colorado congressional delegation to pass the Kennedy administration’s civil rights package.  A month later, Liston was accused of impersonating a police officer by using a flashlight to wave down a female motorist in Fairmount Park, although all charges were later dropped. Liston went down at 1:44, got up at 1:56, and Walcott stopped the fight at 2:12. , Liston was buried at Paradise Memorial Gardens in Las Vegas, Nevada. Later, films of the fight showed the bout ended at the 1:25 mark. He refused to learn the alphabet, but “you’d show him a punch or a technique and by the end of the day he had it down.”, Sonny got his big break when Father Stephens arranged for a local heavyweight fighter, Thurman Wilson, to get into the ring with Sonny in prison. hometown. At one point in this attack, Liston was rocked as he was driven to the ropes. A widely publicized account of Liston resisting arrest—even after nightsticks were allegedly broken over his skull—added to the public perception of him as a nightmarish "monster" impervious to physical punishment. A police sergeant put out the word that Liston should leave town or else. In June of the following year, Liston won the rematch with another knockout.  These include Muhammad Ali who stated in a 1975 interview that he was a great admirer of Liston’s talents. It was the third-fastest knockout in a world heavyweight title fight, and the first time the defending champion had been knocked out in round one.