Sonny Liston vs. Cleveland Williams (1st meeting)

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Sonny Liston 213 lbs beat Cleveland Williams 210 lbs by TKO at 2:04 in round 3 of 10


Associated Press, April 16, 1959:

Two tall, hard-hitting heavyweights who had trouble finding opponents met each other in the ring here Wednesday night and Charles (Sonny) Liston of Philadelphia came off the winner by a TKO in 2:04 of the third round. Liston floored his opponent, Cleveland Williams of Houston, Texas, twice before referee Jimmy Peerless stopped it. The fight had been billed for 10 rounds, but odds were 3 to 1 it wouldn't go that far. Liston started slowly and Williams, who had lost only two out of 46 ring appearances, mixed in left jabs with right crosses and left hooks to pile up a lead and bloody the Philadelphian's nose. "We weren't concerned about the blood on Liston's nose." said his manager, Pep Barone. "It would take more than that to beat this fighter." Liston's handlers said they told him to wait Williams out and he did, but only until the second round. Sonny opened up then and peppered his foe with rights and lefts to the head. A barrage to Williams' head late in the round rocked the Texan and paved the way for the fatal third. In that round, Liston poured on more rights and lefts to the head and Williams went down. He took the eight count but when he came up, Liston was waiting with more of the same. Williams went down flat on his back, rolled over and staggered to his feet as Peerless stepped in to stop it.


Post Fight Comment:

"He treated me rudely in the first round." - Sonny Liston