Ezzard Charles

From BoxRec
Class of 1990
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Ezzard Charles
Alias: The Cincinnati Cobra
Birth Name: Ezzard Mack Charles
Born: 1921-07-07
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Birthplace: Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
Died: 1975-05-28 (Age:53)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 183cm
Reach: 185cm
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

Amateur Achievements

  • 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.

Preceded by:
Cornelius Young
Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions
Middleweight Champion

Succeeded by:
Joey Maxim
Preceded by:
Bradley Lewis
National AAU Middleweight Champion
Succeeded by:
Joey Maxim

Record Issues

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.

Professional Career

  • 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

Preceded by:
Joe Louis
World Heavyweight Champion
NBA World Heavyweight Champion

1949 Jun 22 – 1951 Jul 18
Succeeded by:
Jersey Joe Walcott
Preceded by:
Joe Louis
NYSAC World Heavyweight Champion
1950 Sep 27 – 1951 Jul 18
Succeeded by:
Jersey Joe Walcott