How old was Sonny Liston?

Been reading a bio of Sonny Liston and they mention the age controversy. I think it's universally accepted that he was older than he claimed (probably closer to 40 than 30 when he fought Ali).

Anyway they mention in the book that there's a reference in a 1934 St Louis newspaper to a 17 year old named Charles "sailor" Liston who was a boxer. Supposedly the kid in the picture strongly resembled Liston. If he was 17 in 1934 he would have been 47 when he first fought Ali (which seems unbelievable).

Foreman won it at 45. punchers can fight in to old age much better than boxers

fearOfABlackPlanet - Foreman won it at 45. punchers can fight in to old age much better than boxers

Wasn't the success of Foreman's comeback (as impressive as it was) mostly down to the state of the division?

he was listed in the 1940 census as being 10 years old. his brother is listed as 11 and his brother claimed a date of birth in 1929 so that puts sonny's date of birth sometime in 1930, not 1932 as listed on his boxing license. there are arrest records which list his date of birth as 1927 and 1928. but in the 1930 census his brother curtis is listed as the youngest and there is no listing for a charles. but in the 1940 census curtis is listed as 11 and sonny is listed as well aged 10. since curtis age is listed consistently, 1930 and 1940 and sonny is not listed in 1930 but listed in 1940 it can be said that the 1930 date of birth is accurate. the 1932 date of birth is wrong as is either of 1927 and 1928 dates of birth.

pharochuck - 


he was listed in the 1940 census as being 10 years old. his brother is listed as 11 and his brother claimed a date of birth in 1929 so that puts sonny's date of birth sometime in 1930, not 1932 as listed on his boxing license. there are arrest records which list his date of birth as 1927 and 1928. but in the 1930 census his brother curtis is listed as the youngest and there is no listing for a charles. but in the 1940 census curtis is listed as 11 and sonny is listed as well aged 10. since curtis age is listed consistently, 1930 and 1940 and sonny is not listed in 1930 but listed in 1940 it can be said that the 1930 date of birth is accurate. the 1932 date of birth is wrong as is either of 1927 and 1928 dates of birth.


Thanks. I've tried to find a copy of the 1934 St Louis newspaper online but no luck. I suspect it might be a myth.

his mother supposedly told reporters he was born in 1928. but literally he was his dad's 24th kid and his moms 7th so it would be easy to get  the kids mixed up. so in most estimates he was likely 34 and could have been as old as 36 when he fought ali the first time

Joe Louis had come out of retirement to fight Rocky Marciano the minute he was 76 years old. Joe Louis was always lying about his age. He lied about his age all the time. One time Frank Sinatra came in here and sat in this chair. I said Frank 'you hang out with Joe Louis, just between me and you, how old is Joe Louis?' You know what Frank told me, he said "Hey, Joe Louis is 137 years old."

MMA Playwright - Joe Louis had come out of retirement to fight Rocky Marciano the minute he was 76 years old. Joe Louis was always lying about his age. He lied about his age all the time. One time Frank Sinatra came in here and sat in this chair. I said Frank 'you hang out with Joe Louis, just between me and you, how old is Joe Louis?' You know what Frank told me, he said "Hey, Joe Louis is 137 years old."
I was just about to type bullshit about Louis lying about his age. I'm dense today Phone Post 3.0

MMA Playwright - Joe Louis had come out of retirement to fight Rocky Marciano the minute he was 76 years old. Joe Louis was always lying about his age. He lied about his age all the time. One time Frank Sinatra came in here and sat in this chair. I said Frank 'you hang out with Joe Louis, just between me and you, how old is Joe Louis?' You know what Frank told me, he said "Hey, Joe Louis is 137 years old."
Classic. I love it! Phone Post 3.0