Walcott vs. Charles 4 fights

13.04.07 - By Sam Gregory: Many boxing historians including myself consider Joe Louis, “The Brown Bomber” to be the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. Louis’ record was 69-3 with 55 of the wins coming by way of knockout. Joe Louis held the heavyweight title for eleven straight years defending the title a record twenty-five times until announcing his retirement on March 1, 1949.

When Louis announced his (1st) retirement he requested that Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott fight for the right to succeed him. Louis considered them, Charles and Walcott, to be two of the most outstanding heavyweight contenders of the era.

The first of the four fights took place in Chicago on June 22, 1949. Ezzard Charles won the vacated NBA Heavyweight Title in a unanimous decision over Jersey Joe Walcott in fifteen rounds.

That first fight, which Ezzard Charles won, was only recognized by the NBA (National Boxing Association). The other governing bodies, the New York State Athletic Commission and the European Federation didn’t consider the fight a sanctioned title bout.

In order to show his right to the title, Ezzard Charles fought and stopped former light heavyweight Gus Lesnevich in seven rounds and Pat Valentino in eight rounds. Both fights were in defense of the NBA heavyweight title. Charles also defended the title against Freddie Beshore in Buffalo, N.Y. by stopping him in fourteen rounds. Because the fight was in New York State, Charles became recognized by the NYSAC as the heavyweight title holder.

That was in August of 1950, one month later on September 27, 1950 Joe Louis came out of retirement to fight Ezzard Charles for the heavyweight title. The fight was fought at Yankee Stadium in New York City and was sanctioned by both the NBA and NYSAC. Ezzard Charles won a 15 round unanimous decision leaving no doubt that he was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Following that fight, Ezzard Charles won an 11th round knockout over Nick Barrone on December 5, 1950. A month later in early January of 1951 Charles stopped Lee Oma in ten rounds; both fights were successful title defenses for the heavyweight belt.

Those two fights lead to the second title defense between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott. The fight was held March 7, 1951 in Detroit. Walcott fought six fights before the rematch with Ezzard Charles for the heavyweight title. One of the fights Walcott fought was a 3rd round knockout against light heavyweight Hall of Fame great Harold Johnson. In the title fight Ezzard Charles again out pointed Jersey Joe in a fifteen round decision to defend the heavyweight championship.

On July 18, 1951 the city of Pittsburg played host to the first heavyweight title fight ever fought in the Steel City. Jersey Joe Walcott kayoed Ezzard Charles with a left hook in the seventh round to become the new Heavyweight Champion of the World. Joe Walcott was 37 years old when he won the title.

The following summer Philadelphia was the scene for the forth and final title fight between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott. It was June 5, 1952. At the age of 38 Walcott once again out-pointed Ezzard Charles in 15 rounds to retain the Heavyweight Championship.

Having turned pro in 1930 and fighting a pro career that spanned over two decades, it was well noted that “Walcott literally outlived the color bar that keep many black boxers of the 1930’s and 40’s from meeting their full potential.”

Walcott’s title defense against Ezzard Charles in Philadelphia would be his last fight as a heavyweight champion. Three months later on September 23rd in Philadelphia Jersey Joe would be stopped in 13 rounds by the next great Heavyweight Champion of the World Rocky Marciano.

On May 15, 1953 in a 15 round rematch for the Heavyweight Championship of the World Rocky Marciano kayoed Jersey Joe Walcott in the 1st round

This was the start of a new heavyweight era with a new style of heavyweight fighter. Rocky Marciano fought both Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles two times each. Marciano won all four fights; three of the fights were won by way of knockout.

Article posted on 13.04.2007

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