New Champ Oldest One to Hold Title

Jersey Joe Walcott, an amazing old man of the ring who wouldn't be licked, today is the new champ -- the world's oldest heavyweight championship -- in an astounding climax to an almost unbelievable saga of the ring.

Marion Star, Marion, OH – July 19, 1951

By Murray Rose

Jersey Joe Kayos Charles to Win Crown After Five Tries

PITTSBURGH, July 19—(AP)—Jersey Joe Walcott, an amazing old man of the ring who wouldn’t be licked, today held the world’s heavyweight championship in an astounding climax to an almost unbelievable saga of the ring.

Today plans were in motion for a September return meeting between the brown Cinderella man and the beaten champion, Ezzard Charles, either in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, or New York. Pittsburgh, with a city record turnout fo 28,272 for its first heavyweight title show at Forbes Field, looked the likely winner of the fistic plum.

At 37 Jersey Joe Walcott last night became the oldest man ever to win boxing’s most prized bauble when he flattened the superbly conditioned Charles in 55 seconds of the seventh round of their 15 round bout. A left hook to the jaw sent Charles to the canvas.

It was the ancient Camden battler’s fifth crack at the championship—two more chances than any other challenger ever got at the heavyweight crown—and the devout father of six said, “I thank God for the chance and for helping me to win.

“I’m thankful to everyone,” said Walcott who had twice seen the crown slip out of his eager fingers. “I’m going to be a fighting champion—and Charles will get his chance.

“I got him with a left hook to the jaw,” said Joe with a big grin on his face. Only moments before tears coursed down his cheeks as he realized his glorious moment of triumph.

Just Got Hit

“I just got hit,” said the crestfallen Charles in the stillness of a loser’s dressing room.

“Did I hear the count? I heard five—I guess,” said Charles, who had a lump under his right eye and a cut on his lower lip that required two stitches.

“I don’t know what it was tonight but he seemed more aggressive than ever. He was taking chances with haymaker punches and leaving himself wide open but I couldn’t seem to do anything about it. I guess I was waiting for later when he would tire out.”

“I could have gone on and on,” said Walcott. “I kept banging him to the body early in the fight to bring his guard down. We had planned that all along. Then I was to throw my right to make him throw his right in return and then he would open for a left counter. I got in some good left hooks earlier in the fight. After our Detroit fight I knew he was a target for a left hook. The moment came in the seventh when I got him with that hook.

“I sort of knew I was going to win from the moment Jake Mintz, (Charles’ manager) started that commotion before the fight about the judge,” Joe said. “I knew this was going to be my night.”

Few besides Walcott and his manager, slim, dapper Felix Bocchiccio, gave the slope-shouldered shuffling old-timer a chance in his third bout with Charles, a very able but cautious champion who was defending his brown for the ninth time. Charles, who had whipped Walcott twice before, was a nominal 5 to 1 favorite but there was hardly any betting.

Perfect Punch

A perfect left hook dropped Charles on his face. The champ tried to pull himself up at the count of nine. He partially raised himself and then toppled on his back—out.

Walcott was ahead at the time of the knockdown. The referee had him in front, 5-1; Judge Charley Daggert—subject of a violent Mintz protest that held up the fight 10 minutes and brought a suspension to Jake—had Walcott ahead 4-1 1, while Judge Stewart (Red) Robinson had it even 3-3. The AP scorecard had Walcott in the lead, 4-2.

Up until the end, it had been a tame fight with each contestant waiting for the other to lead.

Mintz, meanwhile, found himself under suspension, pending an Aug. 7 hearing in Philadelphia for his vociferous objections to Daggert, “an eastern official.”

“We were supposed to use only local officials,” said Jake.

Charles weighted 182 to Walcott’s 194.


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