Wepner said getting hit by Sonny was like getting hit with a baseball bat, literally. Chuck wasn’t exaggerating, as he walked out of that fight with a broken nose, a broken cheek bone and 72 stitches! Knocked down in the 5th, Wepner quipped afterwards he should have stayed down. Wepner said “Sonny made George [Foreman] look like Mr. Friendly!” That was Sonny Liston’s last fight, and he won 15 of 16, 14 by stoppages, after he fought Ali five years earlier. But he never got a title shot, and was dead a short time later.
For Sonny, a man denied the right to learn to read and write, a man who had his wife teach him in secret how to sign his name so he could give kids autographs – his wife would say after his death “one thing in life used to make Sonny happy, those kids cpming up and asking for his autograph” – for a man like that to be denied a chance to compete and fight for the title again is despicable. For a man like that to be born with no little, come so far, and be denied any chance to go further, is more than a tragedy, it is criminal. Shame on the people who did that, shame on them!
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