Unforgotten: Jersey Joe Walcott

Published on 4 April 2023 at 09:00

Jersey Joe Walcott was a legendary professional boxer from the United States. He was born Arnold Raymond Cream on January 31, 1914, in Merchantville, New Jersey. Walcott began his boxing career under the name 'Jersey' Joe Walcott to avoid the stigma of being from the 'Cream' family, which was known in the area as a family of criminals.


Walcott was known for his quick reflexes, slick footwork, and powerful punching ability. He fought in the heavyweight division and was a formidable opponent for any boxer. He turned professional in 1930 at the age of 16, and his career lasted until 1953. During his career, Walcott fought some of the best boxers of his time, including Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, and Rocky Marciano.


Throughout his career, Walcott was known for his resilience, where he often came out victorious despite being viewed as the underdog. He earned his first title shot in 1947 against Joe Louis for the world heavyweight championship. Walcott lost the fight, but he proved to the world that he was a worthy opponent, pushing Louis to the limit and lasting until the eleventh round.


Walcott's biggest triumph came at the age of 38 in 1951, when he defeated Ezzard Charles to become the world heavyweight champion. However, his reign was short-lived, as he lost the championship to Rocky Marciano in his next fight.


After retiring from professional boxing, Walcott became a referee, where he officiated over 200 fights, including several world championship fights. He was known for his fairness and impartiality but would still find ways to make the fighters feel at ease inside the ring.


In 1991, Walcott was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his contribution to the sport. However, Walcott was not just a successful athlete but also a pillar of his community. He served as a police officer in his retirement years and helped to establish programs for youths in New Jersey.


Walcott was a true inspiration to many, as he showed everyone that it was possible to achieve greatness despite the odds. His determination, hard work, and grit made him a boxing legend and a true American icon. Walcott passed away in 1994 at the age of 80, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of boxing and beyond.

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