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The Night Train
Profile of Apex Puncher Sonny Liston

Sonny Liston, nicknamed “The Big Ugly Bear” trained to only one song, Night Train effecting a trance that permitted one of the more demanding training regimens in boxing history. Sonny began boxing late in life and was a mobbed up fighter who actually broke a cop’s leg when a squad tried to arrest him. He was a Rodney King on steroids. He was actually quite a ladies man, with women seeking him out on his merits rather than being provided for like Don King delivering whores to Ali and Tyson.

Liston had a jab that was second in power only to George Foreman’s and was superior for his size. The modern fighter who most resembled him in size and stature was Ray Mercer, making him a type of fighter that is a nightmare for pressure fighters like Tyson, Norton, Frazier and Floyd Patterson seen being crushed in this highlight reel. Conversely, tall masters of the jab like Ali, Douglas and Holmes have the ability to shut this mid-range power fighter type down. The most interesting fights for a man like Liston would be with the high activity adaptable fighters like Holyfield, Morrison and Ruddick.

Liston’s sickest fight was his butchering of Chuck Wepner in the early 1970s soon before his death by a mob-inflicted overdose. In that bout, the normally merciless puncher asked the referee to stop the bout as he continued to slice Wepner to ribbons, at one point knocking facial matter into the crowd. Liston was probably the notable heavyweight boxer who would have been best as an MMA fighter or bareknuckle man.

The Punishing Art

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