Jersey Joe Walcott vs. Ezzard Charles (4th meeting)

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Walcott hits Charles with a right

Ezzard Charles 192 lbs lost to Jersey Joe Walcott 196 lbs by UD in round 15 of 15


  • Referee Zach Clayton became the first African-American to referee a World Heavyweight Championship fight.
  • The Associated Press scorecard had Charles in front, 7-6-2.
  • According to an Associated Press poll of ringside reporters, 21 thought Charles won, 18 favored Walcott and two had it even. [1]

Jersey Joe Wins--Decision Is Unanimous
Associated Press, June 6, 1952

Jersey Walcott, 38-year-old Cinderella man of the ring, clung to his world heavyweight boxing title Thursday night by winning an unanimous decision over ex-champ Ezzard Charles.

Proving once more that old champs never come back, the incredible old father of six kids from Camden, N. J., shook off bombing shots by Charles to grab the votes of all three officials in a fight at Municipal Stadium.

Referee Zach Clayton, who warned Charles for low blows in the third, fifth and 13th rounds, voted Walcott his biggest margin, 9-6. Judge Buck McTiernan, who refereed the Pittsburgh match last July when Walcott knocked out Charles to win the title on the fifth try, had it for Walcott 8-7. Judge Pete Tomasco scored it for Walcott 7-6-2.

There was considerable disagreement at ringside among the working press at the close-cut verdict.

This was a dull fight in contrast to the thriller last July 18 at Forbes Field when underdog Walcott won boxing's richest prize with a clean cut knockout. There were no knockdowns in the closely fought contest although both men were wobbled with right hand shots.

Walcott at 196½ had five pounds on Charles, who at 191½ was the heaviest of his career.

Biding to become the first ex-heavy champ ever to regain his title where such greats as Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Jim Jeffries, Jack Dempsey, Max Schmeling and Joe Louis failed, Charles failed like all the rest.

Ezzard had cuts over both eyes and blood streamed from Jersey Joe's battered nose at the end as both appeared dead tired.

Once again an underdog at odds around 11-5, the slope shouldered old gent from Jersey taught Charles new respect for his zinging left hook.

Still Charles came steaming back past the midway point, jarring Jersey Joe with long right hand leads to the jaw.

Time after time, Walcott backed off in his old familiar retreat trying to lure Ez into the trap for the right hand that knocked Joe Louis down three times but Charles wouldn't take the bait.

Ezzard fought cautiously, apparently biding his time for a fast finish, but never was able to nail old Joe for the crusher.

In the last round, Ezzy was bombing desperately with long right hands that slithered around Walcott's neck. Walcott's ability to spin, to make Ezzy's punches miss, and counter with those damaging hooks, apparently won him the nod on two ballots. Judges McTieman and Tomasco gave that round to Walcott to win their close decision.

Oddly, the referee who gave only six rounds to Charles, voted him the 15th.

The verdict was given a mixed reception by the crowd of 21,599 that paid $210,313 into the box office. Another $175,000 was added to the receipts from the television rights.

From Charles' dressing room came loud denunciation of referee Clayton's tactics by trainer Ray Arcel. Arcel claimed the referee annoyed Charles all night with his warnings about low blows. From ringside most of the blows appeared right along the border line.

Charles did not show too much disappointment after the fight although he thought he had won.

Although the Associated Press card gave Charles a slight edge in rounds, it would have been very close if the point scoring system had been used. Actually it was such a slow exhibition of hugging and shoving that there did not seem to be too many violent dissenters. A quick poll of ringside comment gave Charles the decision by a narrow margin.

"I know Joe won't fight me again," said Charles. "It's impossible. I'm sorry for everybody else."

Charles' cuts barely showed. He was calm and said he never was hurt. He also thought Walcott tired in the late rounds.

This fourth chapter of the Walcott-Charles "series," each of them for the heavyweight title, had only flashes of solid action. Charles cautiously waited his time while Walcott fought in spurts.

Reporters waited outside Walcott's dressing room for 15 minutes while the champ caught his breath. He looked very tired.

"This proves I'm really champion," said Walcott, who lost twice to Louis and twice to Charles before he upset Ezzard.

"This proves it wasn't any lucky punch in Pittsburgh. I had him all the way. This win meant more to me."

Shuffling Jersey Joe was missing with lunging long rights in the fourth as Charles took his corner's advice to "relax and keep the right hand high."

Referee Clayton twice warned Charles in the fifth for a right to the body and border line hooks early in the round. Ezzy ran into another stiff right hand from Walcott as he tried to retreat along the ropes. [2]

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