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Sonny Liston


1932 Born May 8 in Forrest City, Arkansas (birth date according to one official document signed by Liston; other dates and birthplaces given variously by Liston, his mother, and other sources)
1946 Leaves his father to go live with his mother in St. Louis
1950 Sentenced to Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson City, for armed robbery and larceny; begins boxing in prison under tutelage of athletic director Father Edward Schlattmann
1952 Paroled from prison
1953 Enters professional boxing, knocking out Don Smith in first round
1957 Sentenced to nine months in St. Louis workhouse for assaulting a police officer; released August 1957
1957 Marries Geraldine Clark
1958 Signs contract with Joseph "Pep" Barone, associate of alleged mobsters Frankie Carbo and "Blinky" Palermo
1962 Defeats Floyd Patterson to win heavyweight title
1964 Loses heavyweight title to Cassius Clay
1965 Loses rematch to Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) after so-called "Phantom Punch"
1966 Defeats Gerhard Zach in Stockholm, Sweden, as start of comeback
1967 With Geraldine, adopts three-year-old son, Daniel
1970 Wins technical knockout in his last fight, against Chuck Wepner
1971 Discovered dead on January 5 by Geraldine and Daniel in their Las Vegas home. Official date of death put as December 30. Lung congestion and heart failure ruled as official cause of death

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBoxingSonny Liston Biography - Birth Of A Prison Boxer, From The Big House To The Big Time, Chronology, The Champ Nobody Wanted