1949-10-14 Ezzard Charles w co 8 (15) Pat Valentino, Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, USA - NBA
1949-10-14 Ezzard Charles w co 8 (15) Pat Valentino, Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, USA - NBA. Referee: Jack Downey. The sixth-rated Valentino (188½) was the next one up for Charles (182) in front of almost 20,000 fans and although he had not been in the ring for close on ten months he was the Californian champion, having drawn with Joey Maxim and beaten Freddie Beshore, Tony Bosnich and Turkey Thompson in his previous four contests.
What he lacked in class Valentino more than made up with aggression and he made his mind up to fight on the inside to work the body over, which he did to real effect in the second and third rounds. However, by the fifth, Charles had found the range and was bouncing lefts and rights off every available target that Valentino had on offer and although the latter came back strongly in the sixth it proved to be his last big effort. Mixing up jabs, hooks, uppercuts and crunching rights in the seventh, Charles almost finished Valentino off, but in the eighth he lost no time and after a few moments he ripped in a cracking right to the jaw that sent the Californian crashing to the floor to be counted out with just 35 seconds on the clock.
Following a series of exhibition bouts in October and an absence away from the ring for a further three months, Charles signed up to defend the NBA title against Beshore in New York on 28 February. Put back until 29 March after Charles was injured in training just four days before the fight was due to take place, when a further examination was made it was discovered that the champion had sustained a severe blow to the left anterior chest in the region of the eighth rib at which point the apex of the heart was located. Charles was then told that he could not train for at least two months to allow the injury to repair itself and that the fight would have to be rescheduled. According to the specialist, Charles would be better than ever after taking time out and that there would be no recurring problems.