Name: Ezzard Charles
Alias: The Cincinnati Cobra
Birth Name: Ezzard Mack Charles
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Birthplace: Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
Died: 1975-05-28 (Age:53)
Pro Boxer: Record
Managers: Bert Williams, Charles Dyer, Gene Elkus, George Rhein, Jake Mintz, Tom Tannas
Trainers: Jimmy Brown, Ray Arcel, Jimmy Brown, Chickie Ferrera, Bill Gore
Ezzard Charles Gallery
- Reportedly had an amateur record of 42-0.
- 1937 Diamond Belt Welterweight Champion.
- 1937 Ohio AAU Welterweight Champion.
- 1938 Diamond Belt Welterweight Champion.
- 1938 Ohio AAU Welterweight Champion.
- 1939 Diamond Belt Middleweight Champion.
- 1939 Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions Middleweight Champion, defeating Pete Hantz in the final.
- 1939 National AAU Middleweight Champion, defeating Leroy Bolden in the final.
| Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions
| National AAU Middleweight Champion
The previously published 1940 record for Charles is inaccurate, evidently because his first manager, Bert Williams of Cincinnati, padded it with fights that did not occur. Checks of two newspapers (The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Ohio State Journal of Columbus, Ohio) by historian Herbert Goldman, using the facilities of the Library of Congress and a Cincinnati newspaper by Jack Kincaid, found the following fights untraceable:
- Eddie Fowler, Portsmouth, Ohio, May 10, 1940.
- Pat Wright, Middletown, Ohio, May 17, 1940.
Other untraceable professional fights:
- Al Woodridge, Portsmouth, Ohio, February 26, 1940. This was reported as an upcoming amateur bout in the February 24, 1940, edition of The Portsmouth Times, and the bout is listed as an amateur contest by The Cyber Boxing Zone.
- Jimmy Brown, Reading, Pennsylvania, March 20, 1940. This bout was not reported in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (search by Luckett Davis). Charles knocked out James Brown in the third round on March 28, 1939, at Cincinnati, winning State AAU middleweight title.
- Bradley Lewis, San Francisco, California, June 24, 1940. This was actually an amateur bout that occurred on April 12, 1939.
Even in 1940 and 1941, Charles' record still listed these untraceable fights, although the details given were varied and conflicted from one telling to another. It seems best to omit all of these fights from Charles' record, at least until they can be verified.
- Defeated Joe Louis, Teddy Yarosz, Anton Christoforidis, Gus Lesnevich, Charley Burley twice, Lloyd Marshall twice, Oakland Billy Smith twice, Jersey Joe Walcott twice, Archie Moore three times, Jimmy Bivins four times, and Joey Maxim five times.
- Put his boxing career on hold while serving in the U.S. Army in 1944 and 1945.
- Was ranked as the No. 1 light heavyweight contender by The Ring in 1947.
- Knocked out Sam Baroudi on February 20, 1948. Baroudi died from injuries sustained in the fight.
- Defeated Jersey Joe Walcott by a fifteen-round unanimous decision on June 22, 1949, to win the vacant National Boxing Association World Heavyweight Championship.
- Defeated Joe Louis by a fifteen-round unanimous decision on September 27, 1950, to gain universal recognition as World Heavyweight Champion.
- Made eight successful title defenses.
- Lost the title to Jersey Joe Walcott by a seventh-round knockout on July 18, 1951.
- Attempted to regain the World Heavyweight Championship three times, losing once to Walcott in 1952 and twice to Rocky Marciano in 1954.
- From 1955 until his retirement in 1959, Charles fought twenty-three times and only won ten of those bouts.
- Charles died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, on May 28, 1975. Charles said he first noticed the ailment in 1955. "After a guy hit me, I didn't seem to be able to get away," he recalled. "I didn't have the same coordination."
Awards & Recognition
- Named The Ring Fighter of the Year for 1949 and 1950.
- Inducted into The Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1970.
- Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1983
- Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
- Named the greatest light heavyweight of all-time by The Ring in 1994 and 2002.
- Named the 11th greatest heavyweight of all-time by The Ring in 1998.
- Named the 13th best fighter of the last 80 years by The Ring in 2002.
| World Heavyweight Champion
NBA World Heavyweight Champion
1949 Jun 22 – 1951 Jul 18
Jersey Joe Walcott
| NYSAC World Heavyweight Champion
1950 Sep 27 – 1951 Jul 18
Jersey Joe Walcott