Liston vs. Foreman

Two monsters who were predicted to decapitate Ali when they fought him, yet Ali prevailed both times.

If these two were to square off against one another in their prime, who would win and why? Martin Burke, I'd love to hear your take on this.

I see a Foreman/Liston fight going much the same way as Foreman/Lyle did.

Liston threw the better, sharper punches but Foreman had size, strength, and heart on his side. I think Big George would eventually prevail like he did against Lyle, though Liston was surely a much better fighter than Ron. Hard to say really, Liston's reputation has became so tarnished post 1964. In his prime, he was supposedly an extremely dangerous man in the ring. I wouldn't bet on this one.

Now THAT'S what I wanted!


I saw a black and white film of the two of them
sparring many years ago. Foreman was only a kid
and was on the defensive. Not a fair comparison.
Dick Saddler was one of Liston's last managers of
records and he also managed George when he
came out of the Olympics. Liston was a sligtly
better boxer, Foreman a harder in hitter in their
primes. I would have to go with Foreman. Liston
was past his prime by the time he won the
championship. On his way to the title he was

"And then Foreman walks into his first Liston jab.

That's when the fight changes.Foreman stops coming in so fast,which Liston likes:it lets Sonny work behind the jab even more."

Did anything like this happen in a Foreman fight? Im
sure you have seen more Foreman fight's than I have
but I dont remember him being rocked by a punch and
becoming hesitant to go forward. I think you can make
a case for anybody beating Foreman , by saying he
was stiff and had no stamina . It can be made to sound
very convincing. However , the reality is , that when
he was fighting he was destroying everybody until he
met Ali. He underestimated Ali and paid the price.

MartinBurke: they also showed a few seconds of
Bugner sparring with Liston. Bugner looked

"antonio,even a guy who wasn't a big puncher,but used movement to set traps(Gregorio Peralta), made Foreman hesitant and go into that palms-forward mode that he would lapse into when he was looking for an answer.If Peralta hadn't been a over-the-hill blown-up LH with middleweight power,that would have been a much different fight."

Honestly , listening to you describe Foreman I wonder
how he won any fight's.

"I think that had Liston and Foreman met in reality,Foreman might have been a little intimidated by Liston;after all,he looked at Liston as a role model. "

Foreman does'nt have any history of being outwardly
affected by intimidation during his carreer that I am
aware of. He was scared to death of , and looked up
to Joe Frazier and look what happened there. Liston
on the other hand is known as a bully. If George was
knocked down and could get up he would get up. The way
I see it, there is no precedent to suggest Foreman
would be intimidated or cave mentally against Liston.
Foreman had alot of heart.

I may be wrong,but I'm guessing Foreman is one of your favorite fighters,right?"

Yes. So lay the hell off him!

"I'm aware that saying it and doing it are two different things.But I still think that had Peralta been able to punch just a little better,that first fight may have turned out much differently."

But he did'nt and if he did , maybe George would have
fought differently. There is nothing wrong with his
chin or heart. He never showed fear of anybody in the
ring, so I dont feel you can fairly apply how "most"
people act towards someone they look/looked up to.

"If you could stop his forward momentum,he was an entirely different fighter."

I remember this being Holyfield's game plan against Foreman as well. Everything he did was designed to arrest Foreman's momentum.

I personally rate the George the #2 heavyweight
champ of all time -- right behind Ali.
If you ever see the second Frazier fight he had it all
-- power, a great left jab, movement, etc. Clancy
worked hard to give him boxing skills. George
didn;t like that style and reverted back to wide
punches after that.

I agree Dino.

I believe they both sparred when GF was in his prime and he said "He (Liston) was the only guy who could consistantly back me up with a single punch."

I think Liston would probably get the better of him early ina shoot-out.

I don't know a lot about Liston. The only fights I have seen are one of the Patterson fights and both vs Ali. I never saw anything too special in those fights so i just checked his record and don't see anyone good on his record other than Patterson and Ali (who he lost to twice).

I see a few guys like Cleveland Williams, Zora Folley and Roy Harris that seem to have good records but they are the only ones. What were these guys like as fighters? Were they legit contenders or padded records...

Other than that...what was so special about Liston?(other than the fact that he lost to Ali when Ali was still a kid very early in his career....) It seems like his competition is not that hot.

Given the few fights I've seen, I can't see this guy coming close to beating Fooreman, but I don't know enough about him to make a fair assessment....


I think it's more the way he swept aside those guys and the fact he had his jaw broken early in a fight yet carried on until the end etc... he was a scary dude. Chuck Wepner said "everytime he hit me, he broke something."

BTW to that list of quality opponents, you can add the legendry Albert Westphall.

6'3" Cleveland Williams was a HARD puncher who had the misfortune of being shot (at point blank I might add)at one point and was never the same fighter. I may be wrong, but Liston fought him before the accident, when he was still a very good fighter. Even at the time when he fought Ali, after the accident, he was still thought to be a big test for Muhammad because of his exceptional punching power.

Zora Folley was a very good defensive fighter who didn't have much of a punch. I don't know too much about Folley but Martin might be able to fill us in.

Roy Harris I don't know much about except that he fought Patterson in Los Angelas and they made a big thing about it in the buildup for the Lewis/Klitchsko fight (being the last time a HW championship was held in Los Angelas).

Is all his legacy cuz he was a scary dude? I know they always talk about it...

Thx SB...looking at the records of the 3 dudes , it does look like their records were padded...

SB: What's your thoughts on the caliber of Listons' comp?

The fight would probably resemble Foreman-Lyle,
but I don't think Liston had Lyle's heart. His first Ali
performance left much to be desired from Charlie.

Yeah, their records were padded early on, but who's record wasn't padded? When you look at any top heavyweight, out of their 50 or how ever many fights they have at the end of their career, its really only 8 or maybe even less fights that are against top opposition.

I think Liston's competition was certainly less than great but he did beat a few guys of note: Williams, Folley, Valdez, Harris, Machen, were all comparable (at least) to guys like Rahman, Oquendo, Maskaev etc. The thing about Liston's rise to the championship (much like Dempsey and Louis before him and Tyson after him) was the violent manner in which he dispatched these opponents.