All great boxers have fans, but then there are the “super fans,” guys who go above and beyond the call of duty to proclaim far and wide their admiration for a particular athlete. Hammad Yusuf is clearly a super fan of all-time great pugilist Ezzard Charles and we now present the third in his trilogy of videos on the ring craft of “The Cincinnati Cobra.” This video takes a close look at a great victory which, ironically, is one of the reasons Charles has not always received his just due from fight fans.
On September 27, 1950, Ezzard defended the world heavyweight title against a living legend. Joe Louis had retired from the ring immediately after his rematch victory over Jersey Joe Walcott in 1948, but financial troubles forced him to return. In the meantime, Charles had defeated Walcott for the vacant title and notched three successful defenses. After a string of exhibition matches, Louis challenged “The Cincinnati Cobra” for his old belt in a rare instance of the defending champion being the underdog. The fans at Yankee Stadium on that September night couldn’t wait to see “The Brown Bomber” become the first in ring history to regain the world heavyweight title; instead they saw Ezzard Charles completely outbox and dominate the former long-time heavyweight king.
But instead of this victory elevating the stature of Charles, it has too often been dismissed as a typical case of a scenario we’ve seen many times before and since, that being of an old, worn-out former champ foolishly leaving his rocking chair and thinking he can defy the passage of time. But as Yusuf makes clear, this view is an injustice to both Ezzard Charles and to what actually transpired in the ring on that fateful night in New York City. Watch and learn how everything you’ve heard about a washed-up Louis coming up empty against Charles just isn’t true. This wasn’t a tag-team duel of Charles and Father Time beating up old Joe, but instead a masterclass of elite-level fisticuffs by the great Ezzard Charles, the legendary “Cincinnati Cobra.” Check it out:
“Louis, whose face was swollen and bloody, refused to come to the microphone after the bout and was clearly heartbroken by the outcome. Charles, on the other hand, was jubilant. His comments however, showed his humble side and he was quick to praise Louis, who he had idolized all those years ago: ‘I’d like to give thanks to God for giving me the strength and courage to win the fight, and since I won the championship I feel very proud about it. I’ll try and do my very best to keep it as clean as the previous fellow who just stepped down.'” From “Sept. 27, 1950: Charles vs Louis” by Daniel Attias