Originally Posted by he grant
... Charles may have been in terrific shape for a 33 year old blow up light heavyweight with over 100 fights under his belt but he was not in his physical prime for the Marciano bouts ... ...
The begining of a decline is a fighter who drops a class level since he can no longer knock out fighters at his previous level. a fadded fighter past his prime is one step further. this is a guy who can barley "hold his own" on the fringes of his previous level and is humiliated if he steps up. ezzard charles was neither of these guys between losing the title and chalenging marciano.
to begin with initialy ezzard boxed for only three years then took two years out in the war. since he was out for almost as long as hed been active when he returned it was basicly a new career.
In a new
four year career against albeit excelent oposition charles notched up a new 40-2 record by which time he had lost the title to walcott a guy hed previously beat twice, the other loss was also avenged. Charles was no shop worn fighter, he had only been back four years.
Between losing the title and facing Marciano charles was not more inconsistant than he had always been. against rated heavyweights he was only 12-2 by the time he lost his title. in the 36 months after he was 7-4 against rated contenders the guys he lost to were split to johnson (no disgrace), walcott (close), layne (close) who he later beat and valdes (close).
charles 2nd career was only 8 years long until his 1955 decline. he was knocking out world class guys throughout each of the 8 years, it wasnt until his 9th year after the hammering from marciano that he tipped over the top. The ludicrous tough matching and schedule in 1955 utterly ruined his health.
I cannot accept he was "past it" untill that 1955 point since many of the guys he beat in the 36 months after losing his title were as strong if not better than many of the heavyweights he fought earlier. no way was barone and beshore better than layne and satterfield for example. he only lost to johnson on a split yet harold was beter than erv sarlin and joe matisi who lasted the distance with charles prior to winning the title. fadded fighters dont beat beter contenders easier than weaker ones they struggled with earlier.
When charles fought Marciano he wasnt winning fights with flashes of greatness. he was knocking rated guys out till 54’ and had only been active for 8 years till that point. hardly a shop worn former champ on the downward slope..