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Published on Oct 24, 2010

I do not own the right to this footage, and I don't own the rights to the soundtrack. This is the 5th highlight in the FW series. Hope you all enjoy. I'm sorry for the bad quality at times, it's really hard to find good footage of him.

He was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, but is commonly thought of as a Cincinnatian.[1] Charles graduated from Woodward High School in Cincinnati where he was already becoming a well-known fighter.[2] Known as "The Cincinnati Cobra," Charles is best remembered for his wins as a heavyweight, but most experts feel[weasel words] he was in his prime as a light heavyweight. Although he never won the championship at that weight, Ring magazine has rated him as the greatest light heavyweight of all time.[3]

Ezzard Charles started his career as a featherweight in the amateurs, where he had a record of 42-0. In 1938, he won the Diamond Belt Middleweight Champion. He followed this up in 1939 by winning the Chicago Golden Gloves tournament of champions. He won the national AAU Middleweight Championship in 1939. He turned pro in 1940, knocking out Melody Johnson in the 4th round. Charles won all of his first 15 fights before being defeated by veteran Ken Overlin. Victories over future Hall of Famers Teddy Yarosz and the much avoided Charley Burley had started to solidify Charles as a top contender in the Middleweight division. However, he served in the U.S. military during World War II and was unable to fight professionally in 1945.

He returned to boxing after the war as a light heavyweight, picking up many notable wins over leading light heavyweight as well as heavyweight contenders Archie Moore, Jimmy Bivins, Lloyd Marshall, and Elmer Ray. Shortly after his knock-out of Moore in their third and final meeting, tragedy struck. Charles fought a young contender named Sam Baroudi, knocking him out in Round 10. Baroudi died of the injuries he sustained in this bout. Charles was so devastated he almost gave up fighting. Charles was unable to secure a title shot at light heavyweight, and moved up to heavyweight. After knocking out Joe Baksi and Johnny Haynes, Charles won the vacant National Boxing Association world heavyweight title when he outpointed Jersey Joe Walcott over 15 rounds on June 22, 1949. The following year, he outpointed his idol and former world heavyweight champion Joe Louis to become the recognized lineal champion. Successful defenses against Walcott, Lee Oma and Joey Maxim would follow.

In 1951, Charles fought Walcott a third time and lost the title by knockout in the seventh round. Charles lost a controversial decision in the fourth and final bout. If Charles had won this fight he would have become the first man in history to regain the heavyweight championship. Remaining a top contender with wins over Rex Layne, Tommy Harrison, and Coley Wallace, Charles knocked out Bob Satterfield in an eliminator bout for the right to challenge Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano. His two stirring battles with Marciano are regarded as ring classics. In the first bout, held in June 1954, he valiantly took Rocky the distance, going down on points in a vintage heavyweight bout. Charles is the only man ever to last the full 15-round distance against Marciano.[4] In their September rematch, a severely cut Marciano rallied to KO Charles in the 8th round, in a bout that was named Ring Magazine's "Fight of the Year." Financial problems forced Charles to continue fighting, losing 12 of his final 23 fights. He retired with a record of 96-25-1 (58 KOs).

Charles was also a respected double bass player who played with some of the jazz greats in the 40s and 50s at such notable places as Birdland. He was very close with Rocky Marciano and a neighbor and friend of Muhammed Ali when they both lived on 85th street in Chicago.[5] Charles also starred in one motion picture: "Mau Mau Drums", an independent (and unreleased) jungle-adventure film shot in and around Cincinnati in 1960 by filmmaker Earl Schwieterman.

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