This Day in Black Sports History: When Liston Was The Dealer

July 22, 1963 – Fifty years ago, in a rematch of their previous fight 10 months earlier, Sonny Liston once again knocked out Floyd Patterson in the first round to retain the heavyweight championship.  The fight was stopped 2 minutes and 9 seconds into the first round as Patterson was floored by a barrage of punches from Liston who sent him to the canvas three times.  The performance was so awe-dropping that it formed a perception amongst fans that Liston was invincible.  This comes as a result combined with the previous bout that only lasted four seconds longer.


Liston, hugely unpopular, was a black ex-convict with organized crime associations, who seemingly had an unbreakable grip on the most prestigious individual title in sports.  Joe Louis called Liston "the greatest heavyweight champion in history," while Archie Moore described him as "something extraordinary with a pair of Everlast gloves."


However, it would all be short-lived as Liston's days of being the dealer of punishment would take a 360 turn.  The Patterson fight would turn out to be his last successful title defense as in February of the following year he would lose to an upcoming boxer by the name of Cassius Clay.  And we all know how that story ends.