Boxing KO of the Day: Sonny Liston vs. Chuck Wepner

Deion McNairCorrespondent IJune 30, 2011

On June 29, 1970, Sonny Liston squared off against Chuck Wepner in a heavyweight fight. Liston came into the fight with a 49-4 record but was coming off of a loss in his last bout.

Before Wepner became a boxer, he was a member of the United States Marine Corps, where he honed his boxing skills. Wepner was nicknamed the "Bayonne Bleeder" because he was from Bayonne, New Jersey and is known for one of the bloodiest faces in boxing history.

In the fight against Liston, Wepner actually started out pretty well. In the opening round, he landed a hard right hand which made Liston's knees buckle. Liston didn't drop though.

In round three, Liston had managed to open a cut just above Wepner's right eye. It was the first of six cuts Wepner would endure during the fight.

Round five is where the first knockdown of the fight came. Liston put Wepner down with a straight right hand to the body as Wepner was backing away.

The punch didn't hurt Wepner too much, and it appeared that their feet may have even gotten tangled up. Nonetheless, it counted as a knockdown for Liston.

As the fight went on, Wepner's left eye was nearly shut by round seven. Even with blood gushing down his face, Wepner persevered.

It wasn't until after the ninth round in the corner that the ringside doctor stopped the fight because of all the blood. Liston didn't technically win by a knockout, but the fight went into the record books as a 10th round TKO. Wepner received over 100 stitches to his face after the bout.

This would prove to be Liston's last professional night, as he was found dead in his home six months later. Liston, one of the best fighters of all-time, ended his career with a 50-4 record.

Later in his career, Wepner fought Muhammad Ali. Sylvester Stallone was watching the fight at home and said Wepner's performance, even in a loss, inspired him to write Rocky.


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