5.6/10
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Phantom Punch (2008)

The fascinating life story of Sonny Liston, the controversial heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Geraldine Liston
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Ceasar Novak
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Farah
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Savino
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Father Alios
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Nico Orso
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Bobby Zazo
Andrew Hinkson ...
Troy Amos-Ross ...
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Police Chief Greensburg
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Bill Macky
Phillip Jarrett ...
Bishop Knight
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Officer Mellow
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St. Louis Cop
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Storyline

The story of World heavyweight champion boxer Charles L. "Sonny" Liston, who was knocked down 2 minutes into a championship fight by a seemingly harmless right hook from Muhammad Ali. It would forever be known as the "Phantom Punch". Liston later died under mysterious circumstances. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"Before Tyson, there was Liston".

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, sexual content and some violence involving a sexual assault | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gancho fantasma  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was first titled 'Finding Sonny' and full production of the entire movie was to take place in Canton, Ohio. See more »

Soundtracks

The Man That I Love
Music by Stacey Hersh
Lyrics by Robert Townsend
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User Reviews

 
The mystery has been solved
23 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Robert Townsend said in reports that he wanted to show the true Sonny Liston and he said, "History hasn't been kind to Sonny Liston." He goes and he makes Liston's death look like a suicide instead of a murder? He shows Liston just plain quitting on the stool in his first fight with Ali? He shows Liston trying to blind Ali in the first fight? He shows Liston throwing the Ali rematch for no apparent reason? Townsend is an idiot. This movie is so bad it makes Meteor Man look like a masterpiece.

I was unfortunate enough to see this movie and now I know why it was never released. It is a piece of garbage. This is one of the worst movies I've ever scene. Not only is it a terrible boxing movie, but it's an awful biopic. I was really shocked at how bad this movie was. I couldn't wait for a movie about Sonny Liston and this is what I got? This movie hasn't been released to theaters and it never will be. If Townsend is lucky, maybe the movie will get released straight to DVD or maybe they will put it on TV. But I don't see this doing well wherever it goes.

Meteor Man failed to mention in his movie that Liston was the favorite in his fights with Ali. In the first fight, Liston was a 7-1 favorite. It would make all the sense in the world for him to take a dive for the mob. I read accounts that Liston said he was "only following orders" when he quit on the stool. Another stupid part of the scene that had me shaking my head was the part when Townsend shows them putting a foreign substance on his glove to blind Ali. First of all, Liston did not need to cheat. Liston was a great fighter. He was one of the toughest fighters in history and he wasn't afraid of anyone. This is a man that knocked out the great Floyd Patterson in 2 minutes. Then it only took him 5 seconds more in the rematch. He slugged it out in 2 wars with Cleveland Williams. He fought a whole fight with a broken jaw and only lost a split decision to Marty Marshall. Second of all, why would Liston try to cheat in a fight that he was going to throw? There's no doubt something got in Ali's eyes during the fight, but to say Liston put it there is ridiculous and there is no proof. In the end of the fight Townsend tries to make you believe Liston just quit like a spineless bum. I know some people would love to believe Ali was this mighty man that overcame Sonny Liston, but let's get real. That's not the way it was.

The movie gets to the big moment, the infamous "phantom punch." The scene is so uneventfully done in the movie it's pathetic. Townsend never even tells you why Liston took a dive in the rematch. He just goes down for no apparent reason. Townsend had the nerve to keep the mob out of that fight too. That fight was fixed. It looked like even more of a sham than the first fight.

This movie failed to show Sonny Liston's hard upbringing. It also failed to show that he really wasn't a bad guy and that he loved children and even tried to help people that were less fortunate. One of the biggest slaps in the face to Liston is how they handle his death in the movie. Instead of showing Liston getting murdered they make it look like a suicide. I was completely outraged. I didn't think Townsend could be that dumb. In the movie they make it look like Liston was depressed over his girlfriend on the side leaving him, so he does heroine one night. The guy was deathly afraid of needles. He never did drugs in his life. Sonny Liston was M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D.

You want the real scoop on Liston, get the book The Devil and Sonny Liston by Nick Tosches. Nick Tosches did what Townsend lied about saying he was going to do. Townsend made Liston look like a no good bum, but that wasn't the real Liston. Townsend should be ashamed of himself. Check out the Tosches book. Avoid this horribly written and directed movie at all costs. I do not recommend buying it or renting it. It's not even worth watching on TV. I don't think Townsend was taking his job seriously when he made this movie. By the looks of it, it's like he was just fooling around. If you were wondering why this movie was never released, you have your answer. The mystery has been solved.


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