Is Ezzard Charles a great heavyweight?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by lufcrazy, Jun 24, 2020.


  1. lufcrazy

    lufcrazy requiescat in pace Full Member

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    This is something I haven't considered for an awful long time now.

    But I've just been revisiting his HW run and I find myself being more impressed than I remember being previously.

    We all know at the start of his career he was a MW with good athleticism but a bit flawed, he had the break for service and came back in 1946.

    In 46 and 47 he was an out standing LHW but was denied a title shot.

    But its his exploits as a HW in interested in today.

    1947 sees him beat highly rated Jimmy Bivins, twice, but lose to Elmer Ray.

    1948 sees him avenge the loss to Ray, beat Bivins again and also beat Joe Baksi.

    So at this stage he now has 4 victories over top tne opposition and has beaten every HW he's fought.

    1949 sees him beat Maxim, Walcott, Lesnevich and Valentino.

    He now has 7 victories over ranked HWs including a victory over the best active HW in the world.

    (he's also beaten many of the best LHW fighters in the world but that's a different topic)

    1950 sees him beat Beshore, Louis and Barone.

    So he now has 9 victories over ranked HW fighters.

    1951 sees him beat Oma, Walcottand Maxim taking his tally, by my reckoning to 12 victories over ranked HWs before losing by ko to a man he's already beaten. He is at this point he's still beaten every HW he's faced.

    From then on he picks up victories over Layne (x2 but should be 3), Maxim, Kahut, Brion, Bivins, Satterfield and Wallace.

    He also loses to Valdes and Johnson in two close fights that could have been argued draws and obviously loses twice to Marciano.

    So it's now 1954. Charles has been on a tear since 1946 beating, by my reckoning 20 ranked HW fighters, arguably drawing with Valdes and Johnson and losing twice to Rocky, one in a fight he was a round away from stopping the champion.

    So my question is this, forget P4P, forget his dominance over the LHW fighters.

    Looking purely from a HW point of view, did Ezzard Charles do enough to establish greatness?

    I'm pretty sure I've talked myself around this matter tbh, but wanted to see what others thought.
     
  2. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Not for me ,but he is unquestionably a top p4p fighter.It really depends on your opinion of the term"great".
     
  3. Gazelle Punch

    Gazelle Punch Well-Known Member Full Member

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    He did better then most and is def top 20 in my book. Not so sure how he would fair against some guys but he def proved himself to be a worthy champion. Kind of the Holyfield of his times. May not have won them all but always came to fight.
     
  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I wouldn't begrudge someone calling him great there. Quite a few defenses but in a relatively short period of time. To be honest i think his heavyweight reign is a touch underrated and some would not even know he made that many defenses.
     
  5. lufcrazy

    lufcrazy requiescat in pace Full Member

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    I'm starting to consider him really under rated as a HW tbh.
     
  6. lufcrazy

    lufcrazy requiescat in pace Full Member

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    It does depend on what makes someone great.

    I mean he's beaten more ranked HW fighters than almost any other HW.

    He's made more defences than almost any other HW.

    He ducked no one, which is something fe other HWs can claim.

    He cleared out his era.

    I can't think of much he didn't do tbh.
     
  7. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft Bit of a Gobshite Full Member

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    I reckon the fair placement for Ezzard Charles is between 12ish and 17ish, he's in that ballpark. So it's probably in the eye of the beholder whether or not he's a 'great HW'. I'm guilty of handing out the title of great willy-nilly, but my normal classification for ATGs is top 10 in their weight or on my P4P list.

    I'd say Ezz falls just slightly short, but there's other ways of looking at it. Let's say he was benefactor of all of the controversial decisions he was in, which means he has like 4 fewer losses, another win over Rex Layne and Elmer Ray, a win over Harold Johnson and the big one is a the final fight with Walcott. Had he got that, he'd have been the first two-time HW champion and has a third win over Walcott. He'd be top 10 if he had these IMO.

    It doesn't factor into his HW greatness, but Archie Moore was an elite HW who was like 65-4-1 at HW. Charles having 3 wins over him is pretty huge.
     
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  8. lufcrazy

    lufcrazy requiescat in pace Full Member

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    I think him getting the benefit of doubt in close decision would actually have zero bearing on how I rated him or not tbh.
     
  9. Gudetama

    Gudetama Active Member Full Member

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    By my reckoning, possibly great (top 20 ~ 25), but not an all time great at HW.
    As a fighter overall, obviously more than great.
     
  10. Berlenbach

    Berlenbach Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Not for me. A lot of those guys he was beating like Bivins, Maxim and Lesnevich were really just light-heavies who had moved up as well. His best heavyweight victim was probably Walcott, who I think was good, but not great (and Charles was 2-2 with Walcott). Terrific fighter and a handful for anyone, but he peaked at light-heavy. I don't see much in his heavyweight career that screams greatness.
     
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  11. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    It also depends on the calibre of the men in those defences.
     
  12. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    No, doesn't qualify as a heavy for me. But this question is all about personal thresholds and not worth getting too concerned about.
     
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  13. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Ii6 Full Member

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    To me he's top 20 heavyweight ever, I have him 14th and I'm not even sure if I don't underrate him. He's a victim of his size (same story with Fitzsimmons), imagine a fighter having the same success he had but instead being 6'3 and 210 lbs - people would have him close to top 10.
     
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  14. lufcrazy

    lufcrazy requiescat in pace Full Member

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    How do you compare his HW resume with Marcianos or Dempseys?
     
  15. lufcrazy

    lufcrazy requiescat in pace Full Member

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    Very few things on this forum are worth getting concerned about imo
     


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