In addition, Sonny was simply not ready for a lightning fast fighter like Ali. Such was his power, Sonny had fought only 13 minutes and seven seconds in the previous 4 years, and 4 minutes and 15 seconds in the past 19 months, and he expected Ali to wither like the others. He did not train properly, sparred intermittently and consumed hot dogs, popcorn and beer. He had badly underestimated Ali and his speed, and the injury added to age and lack of conditioning doomed the Big Bear. The boxing establishment tried to bury the truth about what really happened in Liston vs. Ali to besmirch the reputation of a man they hated, Sonny Liston Let me make this clear, the boxing and political establishment HATED Sonny Liston, HATED him.
To the point that when he won the heavyweight title he became the only heavyweight champion in history to receive no recognition at all when he arrived back home, or thereafter. Cus D’Amato had succeeded in keeping Sonny from fighting for the title for over three years, because no one wanted Sonny as champion. The establishment feared Sonny as the ultimate “terrifying negro” as James Baldwin sadly wrote. When Floyd Patterson overruled Cus, and fought Sonny to prove he was not a coward, the vitriol really began.
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