S.I.M Rating: 6.76 out of 10 (15 Votes)
Cast: Ving Rhames, Stacey Dash and Nicholas Turturro
The 2009 boxing biography/drama, Phantom Punch, tells the turbulent life story of former heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston. The film is directed by Robert Townsend and stars Ving Rhames in the title role.
Born to sharecroppers, Liston suffered physical abuse from his father, and wound up serving a 5-year prison sentence for robbery. Introduced to boxing while incarcerated, Liston quickly took to the sport and after release, turned professional and rose through the ranks rapidly, culminating in a 1st-round knockout of reigning champ Floyd Patterson. This led to a title bout with a brash young challenger named Cassius Clay, who despite being a 7-1 underdog, defeated Liston.
It was the rematch that provides the basis for Phantom Punch. Less than 2 minutes into the bout, Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali) floored Liston with a punch that didn't appear to be that damaging, but Liston remained on the canvas, leading to rumors that he'd taken a "dive" in order to satisfy his management team, which allegedly had mob ties.