Re: How would a prime Charles have fared against Marciano?
marciano did beat a prime charles. Here is a post by another poster I found:
Charles wasn't all that much more dominant in the late forties than he was in the 1951 to 1954 post-title, pre-Marciano period. In both he had three close decisions. The 1947 fights with Moore and Ray, and the 1949 fight with Maxim were disputed. So were the 1952 fights with Walcott and Layne, and the 1953 fight with Johnson. The big difference is that Charles won 2 of 3 of his late 1940's disputed decisions, getting the nods over Moore and Maxim. He lost all three of his early 1950's disputed decisions, even though the press thought he deserved the fights with Walcott and Layne, and the film shows an extremely close fight with Johnson. One can certainly argue that Walcott, Layne, and Johnson were the equals of, or more than the equals of, Moore, Ray, and Maxim.