View Full Version : Hall of Fame Friday: Ezzard Charles

06-20-2010, 02:21 PM

Birthdate: July 7, 1921

Date of death: May 27, 1975

Birthplace: Lawrenceville, Ga.

Nickname: The Cincinnati Cobra

Weight classes: Middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight

Record: 93-15-1 (52 knockouts)

Titles held: World and NBA heavyweight

Best performances: Joe Louis (W 15), Jersey Joe Walcott (W 15, W 15), Archie Moore (W 10, W10, KO 8), Charley Burley (W 10, W 10), Jimmy Bivins (W 10, KO 4, W 10, W 10), Gus Lesnevich (KO 7), Joey Maxim (W 10, W 10, W 15, W 12), Lee Oma (KO 10), Tommy Harrison (KO 9), Lloyd Marshall (KO 6, KO 2), Rex Layne (KO 11), Rocky Marciano (L 15, KO by 8).

Year of IBHOF induction: 1990

Background: Arguably the best light heavyweight of all-time … Was born in Georgia but raised in Cincinnati … Took up boxing as a teenager and went undefeated in 42 amateur bouts … Won Chicago Golden Gloves and the national AAU middleweight championship before turning pro as a middleweight in March 1940, tallying a third-round KO of Melody Johnson in Middletown, Ohio … A terrific boxer with outstanding footwork and a hard punch, he moved up to light heavyweight because he was unable to secure a title shot at 160 pounds … Despite impressive victories over Archie Moore, Charley Burley and Joey Maxim at 175 pounds, he was also unable to get a crack at the light heavyweight title … Although slightly undersized, he began fighting heavyweights in 1946 and continued to score solid victories … In February 1949, he knocked out San Baroudi in Chicago. When Baroudi died of a head injury afterward, Charles was deeply affected and almost gave up boxing ... When Joe Louis retired, Charles, riding a 15-bout winning streak, was matched with Jersey Joe Walcott for the vacant National Boxing Association (NBA) heavyweight title on June 22, 1949 in Chicago. Charles won a 15-round decision and made three successful defense before outpointing comebacking Louis to win universal recognition as world heavyweight champion … Made four additional title defenses, including a rematch with Walcott … Although he fought in Louis’ shadow, astute observers knew how good he was: “Someday, maybe, the public is going to abandon comparisons with Joe Louis and accept Ezzard Charles for what he was – the best fist-fighter of his particular time,” wrote Pulitzer-prize winning sportswriter Red Smith … Lost heavyweight title to Walcott by a seventh-round knockout in their third meeting … Also lost a fourth fight with Walcott, in March 1951 … Continued to campaign with mixed results and garnered a shot at reigning heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano in June 1954. Marciano prevailed by a close decision in a bitterly contested fight that earned the challenger a rematch three months later … Split Marciano’s nose in half in their second war but was stopped in the eighth round … Fought on until September 1959, when he lost a 10-round decision to Alvin Green in his final bout … After quitting the ring, he worked as a safety inspector, nightclub bouncer and a wrestler before falling victim to Lou Gehrig’s Disease and becoming wheelchair bound in the last years of his life, finally dying of the disease in 1975 … In 1976, Cincinnati recognized Charles by changing Lincoln Park Drive to Ezzard Charles Drive … THE RING’s Fighter of the Year in 1949 and 1950.

Source (http://www.ringtv.com/blog/2029/hall_of_fame_friday_ezzard_charles/)

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