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Sonny Liston Denied License to Fight in New York

Apr. 27, 1962 - Sonny Liston (pictured) of Philadelphia, whose challenge for Floyd Patterson’s world heavyweight boxing championships has been accepted, was denied a license today to fight in New York State. The State Athletic Commission, in refusing to grant the license, cited Liston’s criminal record and his association with persons of unsavory background. Through 1961, Liston had been arrested 9 times. Twice, he was convicted and served time in prison — for first-degree robbery in 1950 and for assault with intent to kill in 1956. Liston today brushed off the rejection and said he would fight Patterson somewhere else. “I will continue to train as if nothing had happened,” he declared. Patterson was shocked by the news and denounced the Commission. “He has already served his time,” Patterson said. “What if they did that to me? You know how many times I went to the police station when I was nine years old? About a dozen. I feel sorry for him. People keep pointing to Liston and saying, ‘There goes the ex-con, the criminal.’ I wouldn’t be surprised tomorrow if he’d go and hold up a bank for spite.”

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