Sonny Liston vs. Eddie Machen

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Sonny Liston 211 lbs beat Eddie Machen 196 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

  • Unofficial AP scorecard: 118-115 Liston
  • Unofficial UPI scorecard: 115-113 Liston

In 12-Rounder Liston Is Decision Victor Over Machen
United Press International, September 8, 1960

SEATTLE (UPl) — Sonny Liston, who scored a unanimous decision over Eddie Machen in a 12-round nationally televised match here Wednesday night, today continued his cry for a title match with heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. Machen, who weighed 196, was interested only in a re-match with Liston. "Liston is a good fighter," Machen said, "but he won't knock down any walls. I don't like to alibi, but I hurt my shoulder six days ago in training and couldn't use my right too well. I want very much to fight him again when I have two hands." Liston, the number one contender for the crown, was equally unimpressed with second-rated Eddie. "All Machen wanted to do was go 12 rounds," he said. "He didn't want to fight. I had a bad night." Liston, who at 211 had a 15-pound weight advantage over Machen, went on to say that Patterson "wouldn't last that long with me. He would get in there and fight and I'd get him out." The bout itself was a dandy, with Liston, the plodding aggressor and Machen playing the part of the darting thief, stealing the show occasionally with sizzling left hooks and jabs. There was no doubt about the decision, however. Judges Ely Caston and Sam Haller favored Liston 118-114 and 118-116, respectively. Referee Whitey Domstad scored it 119-112 for the winner and UPI agreed 115-113. The victory for Liston, who was penalized twice for low blows was his 31st in 32 professional fights. For Machen, the loss was his third in 38 trips to the post.

  • The UPI report stated Liston was penalized twice for low blows, but the AP report stated he was penalized only once (in the 11th).


  • Liston was the top-ranked heavyweight contender, and Machen was ranked second.
  • Liston and Machen were guaranteed $25,000 each.
  • A crowd of 7,682 produced a gate of $63,660. The television take pushed this above $100,000.
  • After the fight, Machen said he strained the ligaments in his arm while sparring with Willie Besmanoff six days before the bout. "Only my manager and trainer knew about it," he said. "Maybe I could have gotten a postponement, but everything was set for the fight."
  • Machen later said he believed that Liston's handlers made deliberate use of illegal medication in an attempt to temporarily blind him during the fight. He theorized that Liston's handlers rubbed medication on their fighter's shoulders, which was transferred to Machen's forehead during clinches and dripped into his eyes. "I thought my eyes would burn out of my head, and Liston seemed to know it would happen," Machen said. When Liston fought Muhammad Ali—then Cassius Clay—in 1964, Ali returned to his corner after the fourth round and complained that there was something burning in his eyes and he could not see. "The same thing happened to me when I fought Liston in 1960," Machen said two days after Ali upset Liston. "Clay did the worst thing when he started screaming and let Liston know it had worked," Machen added. "Clay panicked. I didn't do that. I'm more of a seasoned pro, and I hid it from Liston."