Former heavyweight king Jersey Joe Walcott was one of the smartest, cleverest and trickiest fighters of his time. Also a great puncher (see his terrific one-punch icing of the also-great Ezzard Charles), Walcott gave the sport a number of memorable, even unforgettable fights.
Walcott, real name Arnold Cream, also fought as an old man; winning the crown in 1951 at the age of 37 – this record of being the oldest ever heavyweight champ standing until George Foreman came back and regained the title at age 45. Now, in Camden, plans are underway for a statue to be erected in Walcott’s honour.
As per a report from Philly.com, the larger-than-life bronze statue will allow younger fans to attract to Jersey Joe’s legacy.
“It will be a symbol of a city that’s fighting back,” Vincent Cream said, he being the eldest grandson of the former champ. “My grandfather fought for 21 years. He fought through the depression, while he was working other jobs, and he was older and he had more losses on his record than any other heavyweight champ when he won the belt. He’s an example of faith and determination and perseverance, and the statue will be magnet for students and will connect people to his legacy.”
Walcott did indeed fight during what was a wholly different time. Imagine the world heavyweight champion having to do a day job, or jobs, as well as fight today! Walcott honed his craft over his long career and at his best he was able to push the legendary Joe Louis hard – even being robbed of the decision he deserved in the first fight. Walcott also had that savage four-fight rivalry with Charles, and who can forget the titanic rumble Jersey Joe had with the unbeatable Rocky Marciano in their first clash?
Walcott, who also appeared in a few movies (including the superb “The Harder They Fall” with Humphrey Bogart) passed away in 1994 at the advanced age of 80. His final record reads an astonishing 51-18-2(32).
As it says in the Philly.com piece, the statue is long overdue.