Jersey Joe Walcott

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Jersey Joe Walcott
Jersey Joe Walcott Robert Culp Cain's Hundred 1962.jpg
Walcott (left) with Robert Culp in Cain's Hundred, 1962
Statistics
Real name Arnold Raymond Cream
Nickname(s) Jersey Joe
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Reach 74 in (188 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1914-01-31)January 31, 1914
Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
Died February 25, 1994(1994-02-25) (aged 80)
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 71
Wins 51
Wins by KO 32
Losses 18
Draws 2

Arnold Raymond Cream (January 31, 1914 – February 25, 1994), best known as Jersey Joe Walcott, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1930 to 1953. He held the world heavyweight title from 1951 to 1952, and broke the record for the oldest man to win the title, at the age of 37. That record would eventually be broken in 1994 by 45-year-old George Foreman.

After retiring from boxing, Walcott did some acting, playing small parts in a few movies and television shows. He also refereed several boxing matches, but after the controversial ending to the second fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, Walcott was not asked to referee again. From 1971 to 1974, Walcott held the elected position of Camden County, New Jersey, sheriff, the first African-American to do so. From 1975 to 1984, he was the chairman of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.

Background[edit]

Walcott was born in Pennsauken, New Jersey. His father was an immigrant from St. Thomas, Danish West Indies. His mother was from Jordantown, New Jersey. Walcott was only 15 years old when his father died. He quit school and worked in a soup factory to support his mother and 11 younger brothers and sisters. He also began training as a boxer. He took the name of his boxing idol, Joe Walcott, a welterweight champion from Barbados. He added "Jersey" to distinguish himself and show where he was from.

Boxing career[edit]

He debuted as a professional boxer on September 9, 1930, fighting Cowboy Wallace and winning by a knockout in round one. After five straight knockout wins, in 1933, he lost for the first time, beaten on points by Henry Wilson in Philadelphia.

He built a record of 45 wins, 11 losses and 1 draw before challenging for the world title for the first time. Walcott lost early bouts against world-class competition. He lost a pair of fights to Tiger Jack Fox and was knocked out by contender Abe Simon. But that would change in 1945 when Walcott beat top heavyweights such as Joe Baksi, Lee Q. Murray, Curtis Sheppard and Jimmy Bivins. He closed out 1946 with a pair of losses to former light heavyweight champ Joey Maxim and heavyweight contender Elmer Ray, but promptly avenged those defeats in 1947.

On December 5, 1947, he fought Joe Louis, at thirty three years of age breaking the record as the oldest man to fight for the world heavyweight title. Despite dropping Louis in round one, and again in round four, he lost a 15-round split decision. Most ringside observers and boxing writers felt Walcott deserved the win; a debate ensued, and sportswriters carried the topic throughout America. The lone official to vote for Walcott, referee Ruby Goldstein, was cast as a hero. Letters and telegrams poured in to the Goldstein household, praising his judgment. There was talk of an investigation being assembled for rule revisions in judging. Louis went into seclusion for a couple of days, then quieted dissent with the following: "I know Ruby. He calls them as he sees them and that should be good enough for anybody."[1] What controversy remained, was the kind that builds the gate, and Jersey Joe was rightfully granted a rematch on June 25, 1948. Though dropped again, this time in the 3rd, Louis prevailed by a knockout in round 11.

June 22 of 1949, Walcott got another chance to become world heavyweight champion, when he and Ezzard Charles met for the title left vacant by Louis. However, Charles prevailed, winning by decision in 15 rounds. Walcott, disappointed but eager to see his dream of being a champion come true, went on, and in 1950, he won four of his five bouts, including a three-round knockout of future world light heavyweight champion Harold Johnson.

On March 7, 1951, he and Charles fought for a second time and again Charles won a 15-round decision to retain his world title. But on July 18, he joined a handful of boxers who claimed the world title in their fifth try, when he knocked out Charles in seven rounds in Pittsburgh, to finally become world heavyweight champion, at the relatively old age of 37.[2] This made him the oldest man ever to win the world heavyweight crown (a distinction he would hold until George Foreman won the title at age 45 in 1994).

Walcott retained the title with a 15-round decision victory against arch-enemy Charles. On September 23, 1952, he defended his title for the second time. His opponent was the undefeated Rocky Marciano. In the first round Marciano was knocked down for the first time in his career, with a left hook from Walcott. Walcott was clearly ahead in the scoring and Marciano needed a knockout to win, according to two of the three official scorecards. In the thirteenth round with Marciano pressuring Walcott against the ropes, both threw simultaneous right hands. Marciano landed his punch first on Walcott´s jaw in what is considered one of the hardest punches thrown in boxing history. Walcott collapsed with his arm hanging over the ropes then fell to the canvas where he was counted out. There was a rematch in Chicago, on May 15, 1953, and the second time around, Walcott was again defeated by Marciano by a knockout in the first round.

Post-boxing[edit]

Arnold "Jersey Joe Walcott" Cream[3][4]
Sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey
In office
1971[4] – 1974[4]
Preceded by Martin Segal[4]
Succeeded by Joseph W. Coyle[4]
Personal details
Born (1914-01-31)January 31, 1914
Merchantvillle, New Jersey
Died February 25, 1994(1994-02-25) (aged 80)
Camden, New Jersey
Resting place Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery
Pennsauken, New Jersey
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence Camden, New Jersey
Occupation Boxer

He did not go away from the celebrity scene after boxing. In 1956, he co-starred with Humphrey Bogart and Max Baer in the boxing drama The Harder They Fall. In 1963, he tried professional wrestling, losing to Lou Thesz. Thesz pinned Walcott in the fifth round, but has stated that Walcott knocked him (Thesz) down and most likely out in that fifth round. As he fell to the floor, he relied on instinct, grabbing Walcott's knees, taking him down with him and stretching him out for the pin.

In 1965, Walcott refereed the controversial world heavyweight championship rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston. Walcott lost the count as Ali circled around a floored Liston and Walcott tried to get him back to a neutral corner. Then Walcott looked outside the ring (presumably to the ringside count keeper) as Ali and Liston went at each other before Walcott instructed them to keep on fighting, then Walcott approached the fighters and abruptly stopped the fight. Walcott was never again appointed as a referee after this bout.

Political career[edit]

After retiring, Walcott worked for the Camden County corrections department.[5] In 1968, he ran for Sheriff of Camden County, but lost in the Democratic primary to Spencer H. Smith, Jr.[3][6] That same year he was named director of community relations for Camden.[5]

In 1971, he ran again for Camden County Sheriff. He defeated Republican William Strang in the general election.[5] He was the first African-American to serve as Sheriff in Camden County.[7]

He served as chairman of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission from 1975 until 1984, when he stepped down at the mandatory retirement age of 70. Walcott was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
71 fights 51 wins 18 losses
By knockout 32 6
By decision 18 12
By disqualification 1 0
Draws 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
71 Loss 51–18–2 United States Rocky Marciano KO 1 (15), 2:25 May 15, 1953 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. For The Ring and world heavyweight titles
70 Loss 51–17–2 United States Rocky Marciano KO 13 (15), 0:43 Sep 23, 1952 United States Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Lost The Ring and world heavyweight titles
69 Win 51–16–2 United States Ezzard Charles UD 15 Jun 5, 1952 United States Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Retained The Ring and world heavyweight titles
68 Win 50–16–2 United States Ezzard Charles KO 7 (15), 0:55 Jul 18, 1951 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Won NBA, The Ring and world heavyweight titles
67 Loss 49–16–2 United States Ezzard Charles UD 15 Mar 7, 1951 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. For NBA, The Ring and world heavyweight titles
66 Loss 49–15–2 United States Rex Layne UD 10 Nov 24, 1950 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
65 Win 49–14–2 West Germany Hein ten Hoff UD 10 May 28, 1950 West Germany Rhein-Neckar-Stadion, Mannheim, West Germany
64 Win 48–14–2 United States Johnny Shkor KO 1 (10), 1:34 Mar 13, 1950 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
63 Win 47–14–2 Cuba Omelio Agramonte TKO 7 (10), 2:11 Mar 3, 1950 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
62 Win 46–14–2 United States Harold Johnson KO 3 (10), 1:03 Feb 8, 1950 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
61 Win 45–14–2 Sweden Olle Tandberg TKO 5 (12), 2:30 Aug 14, 1949 Sweden Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden
60 Loss 44–14–2 United States Ezzard Charles UD 15 Jun 22, 1949 United States Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. For vacant NBA, The Ring, and world heavyweight titles
59 Loss 44–13–2 United States Joe Louis KO 11 (15) Jun 25, 1948 United States Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S. For The Ring and world heavyweight titles
58 Loss 44–12–2 United States Joe Louis SD 15 Dec 5, 1947 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. For The Ring and world heavyweight titles
57 Win 44–11–2 United States Joey Maxim SD 10 Jun 23, 1947 United States Gilmore Field, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
56 Win 43–11–2 United States Elmer Ray MD 10 Mar 4, 1947 United States Burdine Stadium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
55 Win 42–11–2 United States Joey Maxim MD 10 Jan 6, 1947 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
54 Loss 41–11–2 United States Elmer Ray SD 10 Nov 15, 1946 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
53 Loss 41–10–2 United States Joey Maxim PTS 10 Aug 28, 1946 United States Public Service Ballpark, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
52 Win 41–9–2 United States Tommy Gómez TKO 3 (10) Aug 16, 1946 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
51 Win 40–9–2 United States Lee Oma UD 10 May 24, 1946 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
50 Win 39–9–2 United States Al Blake TKO 4 (10) Mar 20, 1946 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
49 Win 38–9–2 United States Jimmy Bivins SD 10 Feb 25, 1946 United States Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
48 Win 37–9–2 United States Johnny Allen KO 3 (10) Jan 30, 1946 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
47 Win 36–9–2 United States Curtis Sheppard KO 10 (10) Dec 10, 1945 United States Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
46 Win 35–9–2 United States Lee Q. Murray DQ 9 (10) Nov 12, 1945 United States Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. Murray disqualified for inactivity
45 Win 34–9–2 United States Steve Dudas TKO 5 (10), 1:50 Oct 23, 1945 United States Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
44 Win 33–9–2 United States Johnny Denson KO 2 (10), 1:06 Sep 20, 1945 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
43 Win 32–9–2 United States Joe Baksi PTS 10 Aug 2, 1945 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
42 Win 31–9–2 United States Johnny Allen PTS 8 Mar 15, 1945 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
41 Win 30–9–2 United States Austin Johnson PTS 6 Feb 22, 1945 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
40 Loss 29–9–2 United States Johnny Allen PTS 8 Jan 25, 1945 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
39 Win 29–8–2 United States Jackie Saunders TKO 2 (8) Jan 11, 1945 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
38 Win 28–8–2 United States Ellis Singleton KO 3 (8) Jun 28, 1944 United States Batesville AC, Haddonfield, New Jersey, U.S.
37 Win 27–8–2 United States Felix Del Paoli PTS 8 Jun 7, 1944 United States Batesville AC, Haddonfield, New Jersey, U.S.
36 Loss 26–8–2 United States Abe Simon KO 6 (8), 2:32 Feb 12, 1940 United States Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
35 Win 26–7–2 United States Tiger Red Lewis TKO 6 (8) Jan 19, 1940 United States Cambria AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
34 Win 25–7–2 United States Curtis Sheppard PTS 8 Nov 18, 1939 United States Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
33 Win 24–7–2 Hungary Al Boros PTS 8 Aug 14, 1939 United States Meadowbrook Bowl, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
32 Win 23–7–2 United States Bob Tow PTS 8 Dec 23, 1938 United States 114th Infantry Regiment Armory, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
31 Loss 22–7–2 United States Roy Lazer PTS 8 Jun 14, 1938 United States Fairview Arena, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
30 Loss 22–6–2 United States Tiger Jack Fox PTS 10 May 10, 1938 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
29 Win 22–5–2 United States Lorenzo Pack KO 4 (8) Apr 12, 1938 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
28 Win 21–5–2 United States Art Sykes KO 4 (8) Mar 25, 1938 United States Cambria AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
27 Win 20–5–2 United States Jim Whitest PTS 8 Jan 20, 1938 United States Olympia AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
26 Win 19–5–2 United States Freddie Fiducia PTS 8 Jan 10, 1938 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
25 Loss 18–5–2 United States George Brothers PTS 8 Oct 9, 1937 United States Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
24 Win 18–4–2 United States Elmer Ray KO 3 (6), 0:43 Sep 25, 1937 United States Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
23 Win 17–4–2 United States Joe Lipps KO 2 (8) Sep 3, 1937 United States Garden Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
22 Loss 16–4–2 United States Tiger Jack Fox KO 8 (10), 2:24 May 22, 1937 United States Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
21 Loss 16–3–2 United States Billy Ketchell PTS 10 Sep 1, 1936 United States Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey
20 Win 16–2–2 United States Carmen Passarella PTS 8 Aug 1, 1936 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
19 Draw 15–2–2 United States Billy Ketchell PTS 10 Jul 14, 1936 United States Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
18 Win 15–2–1 United States Phil Johnson TKO 3 (6), 1:12 Jun 22, 1936 United States Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
17 Win 14–2–1 Canada Louis LePage KO 3 (6), 1:06 Jun 16, 1936 United States Coney Island Velodrome, New York City, New York, U.S.
16 Draw 13–2–1 United States Billy Ketchell PTS 10 Jun 4, 1936 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
15 Win 13–2 United States Joe Colucci KO 4 (10) Apr 28, 1936 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
14 Win 12–2 United States Willie Reddish PTS 8 Mar 16, 1936 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
13 Loss 11–2 United States Al Ettore KO 8 (10), 1:18 Jan 21, 1936 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
12 Win 11–1 United States Roxie Allen KO 8 (8), 1:06 Nov 26, 1935 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
11 Win 10–1 United States Al King KO 1 (8), 1:29 Oct 29, 1935 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
10 Win 9–1 United States Pat Roland KO 4 (8) Oct 1, 1935 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
9 Win 8–1 United States Lew Alva KO 1 (8) Aug 27, 1935 United States Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
8 Win 7–1 United States Al Lang KO 1 (6) May 21, 1935 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S. Exact date unknown
7 Loss 6–1 United States Henry Taylor PTS 6 Nov 16, 1933 United States New Broadway AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Henry Taylor TKO 1 (6), 1:16 Jul 28, 1933 United States Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Bob Norris KO 1 (6) May 5, 1933 United States Camden, New Jersey, U.S. Exact date unknown
4 Win 4–0 United States Carl Mays KO 2 (6) Apr 20, 1931 United States Waltz Dream Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Frank Mitchell TKO 4 (6) Oct 24, 1930 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Jimmy O'Toole TKO 4 (6) Oct 10, 1930 United States Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Eddie Wallace KO 1 (6) Sep 9, 1930 United States Ice Arena, Vineland, New Jersey, U.S. Professional debut

Titles in boxing[edit]

World titles
Preceded by
Ezzard Charles
The Ring heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – September 23, 1952
Succeeded by
Rocky Marciano
World heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – September 23, 1952

Honors[edit]

In 2013, Walcott was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstein, Ruby (1959). Third Man In The Ring (pre-ISBN First Edition ed.). New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls. pp. 159–160. 
  2. ^ Left Hook Stops Charles in 7th, Makes Walcott Oldest Champ, 1951, The Milwaukee Journal
  3. ^ a b "Joe Walcott in Primary for Sheriff". AP. June 28, 1968. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "A List Of Camden County's Past Sheriffs". Office of the Sheriff Camden County, New Jersey. Camden County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Former Champ Wins Election". UPI. November 4, 1971. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Jersey Joe Walcott In Sheriff's Race". AP. April 28, 1971. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "It's Sheriff Jersey Joe". The Age. November 11, 1971. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  8. ^ The Star Ledger. section four. page 4. August 24, 2014

External links[edit]

Records
Previous:
Jess Willard
Oldest heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – November 5, 1994
Next:
George Foreman