Originally Posted by Stonehands89
Pre-Baroudi, 1948 Ezzard Charles would do better than the 1954 version.
Remember, Charles was, by '55 at the earliest, already stiffening due to ALS. I think it's a safe bet that his body was beginning to betray him by the time he faced Marciano, and how he fought Marciano speaks to that pretty clearly to me. His legs looked better to me against Walcott and Louis.
Ezzard wasn't an attrition fighter -he was perhaps the greatest boxer-puncher who ever lived. But he's in close with Marciano, instead of being a matador or at least drawing him out for counters ... why? I think it was because his hands were much slower due to age, and especially because his legs were stiffening due to age and probably ALS.
And YET, he still wobbles Marciano in the first round.
Does he beat Marciano...? I wouldn't go that far. I have a hard time seeing any light heavyweight in history beating that beast. I don't, for example, believe for a moment that Archie ever would have beaten Marciano... but Ezzard was better than Archie and if there is one exception among the 175 pounders who could beat Marciano, I'd go with Charles.
Charles was a light heavyweight for about 18 months after the war and was already fighting heavyweights. Before the war charles was never older than 21 years old and less than 169lb that is under the LH limit. charles was as much a heavyweight as jack dempsey, gene tunny, max schmeling, floyd patterson, and leon spinks. ezzard was less the "manufactured" heavyweigt than evander holyfeild, micheal moorer and chris byrd all were since he made 190lb training the old fashioned way.
There really isnít any mileage in Charles being a weary burned out old man when he fought marciano. fighters with ALS do not knock out world rated fighters in the manner ezzard dispatched walace and satterfeild. those wins were as worthy of a title chalenge as anything he ever produced at heavyweight. Those wins were a lot better than earlier wins against barone, beshore and lee oma.
what ruined Charles's health was the crazy schedule after the marciano fights.
in 1955 Charles fought 11 times. altogether he fought 3 times in December, 2 times in April and august each. unsurprisingly Charles only won 6 times out of the 11. he fought 8 rated heavyweights that year and did not knock out any of them.... they were back to back bruising fights after 22 tough rounds within 3 months against marciano. this was when he faded.
Remember when ezzard was groomed for greatness charles fought just 12 rated heavyweights spread over the first four years after the war compared to 8 in one year when he didnít have it no more. Its bad match making however you look at it.