History | Jul 07 2019

On This Day: Ezzard Charles, one of the greatest fighters of all-time, was born

Historian Bob Mee looks back on the glorious career the legendary Ezzard Charles who was born on July 7, 1921
ezzard charles

IN his prime Ezzard Charles was a slick, smooth, precise boxer.  Long before he won the world heavyweight crown under the shadow of Joe Louis, Charles was one of the best middleweight prospects in the world. After World War Two he could have boxed for the light-heavyweight title, but was kept well away from it, and eventually financial problems forced him to consider taking on heavyweights. Even when he finally fought for the heavyweight championship after Louis had retired, he was only 12st 13 3/4lbs. He was a remarkable talent.

He won partial recognition as world heavyweight champion by outpointing Jersey Joe Walcott in Chicago in June 1949, erased any doubts that he deserved the title by trouncing Louis in a painfully one-sided 15-rounder in September 1950, and turned back eight challenges before Walcott dethroned him in an astonishing upset with as good a left hook as you could wish to see, a one-punch knockout in July 1951.

At the beginning of his reign he was under-appreciated because of how good Louis had been in his prime, and then when he beat a washed-up Joe, he was lauded as a new Gene Tunney.