History | Jan 31 2020

On This Day: The relentless heavyweight legend Jersey Joe Walcott was born

Remembering Jersey Joe Walcott, who became the oldest man in history to win the heavyweight championship
Jersey Joe Walcott
Jersey Joe Walcott


IN our July 11, 1951 edition, we previewed the third meeting between heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles and veteran challenger Jersey Joe Walcott: “If Jersey Joe Walcott never gets any further than having made five attempts to win the world’s heavyweight title, he will have established a record on that fact alone. Twice he has fought Joe Louis for the championship; twice he has gone in against Charles. Next Wednesday, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, he meets the ‘Cincinnati Flash’ for the third time over 15 rounds. This is Old Joe’s last fling – it must be. He will be 38 next January, whereas Charles is 29. The closest Walcott has come to winning the title was that first time when he met Louis.”

On that night, in December 1947, Walcott lost by split decision and “for the first time in his career, Louis left the ring amid boos.” We believed that “had Walcott stood in and traded punches in the final round he might have clinched the verdict. But he retreated throughout the session with Louis in hot pursuit and all he achieved was the distinction of making Joe miss more than he had ever done before.”