Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rocky Marciano Vs. Ezzard Charles: World Heavyweight Championship


By Peter Silkov

60 years ago today, Rocky Marciano defended his World heavyweight championship against the former champion Ezzard Charles. It was a fight which pitted the smooth boxing skills of Charles versus, the brute strength and endurance, of 'The Rock'. Charles was also trying to beat the almost legendary jinx on former heavyweight champions trying to regain their old title. Marciano was the favourite with the bookies and most of the fans. Charles was a respected, rather than loved, fighter, whereas Rocky had the blood and guts style that excites most boxing fans. Charles was a technician, despite possessing a formidable punch of his own, often chose to stick to his boxing skills in order to win his fights. This quirk of Ezzard’s was partly due to the tragic death of one his opponents some years previously.

On this night, Ezzard was still stung by the loss of his world crown 3 years before to Jersey Joe Walcott, and by the fact that he felt he had never received the recognition and affection due to him while he was champion. Charles entered the Yankee Stadium ring that night, against Marciano, wanting to prove himself all over again. He wanted redemption. The fight was one of the most grueling and brutal ever waged for the World heavyweight title in modern times. After out-boxing Rocky early on, Charles tired by the middle rounds, and unable to keep the champion at arms length any more. Charles elected to stand toe to toe with Rocky. The exchange in this fight were brutal in the extreme, as Rocky pulled out all the stops to subdue his challenger. Ezzard took more punches than he ever had before in any fight during his career, and at times it seemed he must waver, but every time he looked as if he was about to be overwhelmed, he would storm back with an attack of his own at the champion. At the end of 15 bloody rounds, both men were cut and bruised facially, and on the point of exhaustion, but Rocky's edge in strength and power saw him win a close decision. Charles had failed to become the first man to regain the World heavyweight title, but he had succeeded in winning the affection and respect of the public in a way in which he never had before. Fans marveled at Ezzard’s courage and spirit against Marciano and the boxer often condemned as 'dull' or 'boring' had shown himself to be a warrior. Just three months later, the two would meet again, and this time Ezzard, (who was still not fully recovered from their first fight) was stopped in the 8th round, but it didn't matter, Ezzard Charles had already proved himself three months before in their first fight; on the night when he would not go down.



Copyright © 2014 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

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