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 television series Cain's Hundred, 1962
Statistics
Real nameArnold Raymond Cream
Nickname(s)Jersey Joe
Weight(s)Heavyweight
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Reach74 in (188 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1914-01-31)January 31, 1914
Pennsauken Township, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedFebruary 25, 1994(1994-02-25) (aged 80)
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights70
Wins49
Wins by KO31
Losses20
Draws1
Sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey
In office
1971[2]–1974[2]
Preceded byMartin Segal[2]
Succeeded byJoseph W. Coyle[2]
Personal details
Resting placeSunset Memorial Park Cemetery
Pennsauken Township, New Jersey
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
Residence(s)Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationBoxer

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 NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles 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. Despite holding the world heavyweight title for a relatively short period of time, Walcott was regarded among the best heavyweights in the world during the 1940s and 1950s.

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 Sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey, the first African-American to do so. From 1975 to 1984, he was the chairman of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.

Early life[edit]

Walcott was born in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey.[3] His father was an immigrant from St. Thomas, Danish West Indies. His mother was from Jordantown (Pennsauken Township), 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 he promptly avenged those defeats in 1947.

Walcott vs Louis[edit]

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."[4] 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 third, Louis prevailed by a knockout in round 11. The bout was the first closed-circuit telecast (CCTV) sports broadcast, distributed via theatre television.[5]

Walcott vs Charles[edit]

On 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 third-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 age of 37.[6] 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.

Losing the Title[edit]

Walcott retained the title with a 15-round decision victory against arch-enemy Charles. On September 23, 1952, he put his title on the line for the second time. His opponent was the undefeated Rocky Marciano. In the first round, Walcott floored Marciano with a left hook; the first time in his career that Rocky had ever been down. After twelve intense rounds, Walcott stood well ahead on two of the three official scorecards, leaving Marciano needing a knockout to win. In the thirteenth round, with Marciano pressuring Walcott against the ropes, simultaneously each threw a right hand. Marciano landed first and flush on Walcott's jaw with a devastating right hook and a powerful left followup. The title changed hands in an instant. Walcott collapsed with his left arm hanging over the ropes, slowly sinking to the canvas, where he was counted out. An immediate rematch was set for May 15, 1953 in Chicago. The second time around Walcott was again defeated by Marciano by a knockout, this time in the first round. It would be Walcott's last bout.

Life after boxing[edit]

Walcott 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. Walcott then looked outside of the ring (presumably to the ringside count keeper) as Ali and Liston went at each other, before Walcott instructed them to keep on fighting. Walcott then 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.[7] In 1968, he ran for Sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey, but lost in the Democratic primary to Spencer H. Smith Jr.[1][8] That same year he was named director of community relations for Camden.[7]

In 1971, he ran again for Camden County Sheriff. He defeated Republican William Strang in the general election.[7] He was the first African-American to serve as Sheriff in Camden County.[9]

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.

Honors[edit]

In 2013, Walcott was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[10] He was also mentioned in an episode of Taxi.[11]

Partial filmography[edit]

Professional boxing record[edit]

70 fights 49 wins 20 losses
By knockout 31 6
By decision 17 14
By disqualification 1 0
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round(s), time Date Location Notes
70 Loss 49–20–1 Rocky Marciano KO 1 (15), 2:25 May 15, 1953 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. For NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight title
69 Loss 49–19–1 Rocky Marciano KO 13 (15), 0:43 Sep 23, 1952 Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Lost NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight title
68 Win 49–18–1 Ezzard Charles UD 15 Jun 5, 1952 Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Retained NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight title
67 Win 48–18–1 Ezzard Charles KO 7 (15), 0:55 Jul 18, 1951 Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Won NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
66 Loss 47–18–1 Ezzard Charles UD 15 Mar 7, 1951 Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. For NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
65 Loss 47–17–1 Rex Layne UD 10 Nov 24, 1950 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
64 Win 47–16–1 Hein ten Hoff UD 10 May 28, 1950 Rhein-Neckar-Stadion, Mannheim, West Germany
63 Win 46–16–1 Johnny Shkor KO 1 (10), 1:34 Mar 13, 1950 Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
62 Win 45–16–1 Omelio Agramonte TKO 7 (10), 2:11 Mar 3, 1950 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
61 Win 44–16–1 Harold Johnson KO 3 (10), 1:03 Feb 8, 1950 Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
60 Win 43–16–1 Olle Tandberg TKO 5 (12), 2:30 Aug 14, 1949 Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden
59 Loss 42–16–1 Ezzard Charles UD 15 Jun 22, 1949 Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. For vacant NBA heavyweight title
58 Loss 42–15–1 Joe Louis KO 11 (15) Jun 25, 1948 Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S. For NYSAC, NBA, The Ring heavyweight titles
57 Loss 42–14–1 Joe Louis SD 15 Dec 5, 1947 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. For NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
56 Win 42–13–1 Joey Maxim SD 10 Jun 23, 1947 Gilmore Field, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
55 Win 41–13–1 Elmer Ray MD 10 Mar 4, 1947 Burdine Stadium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
54 Win 40–13–1 Joey Maxim MD 10 Jan 6, 1947 Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
53 Loss 39–13–1 Elmer Ray SD 10 Nov 15, 1946 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
52 Loss 39–12–1 Joey Maxim PTS 10 Aug 28, 1946 Public Service Ballpark, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
51 Win 39–11–1 Tommy Gómez TKO 3 (10), 1:21 Aug 16, 1946 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
50 Win 38–11–1 Lee Oma UD 10 May 24, 1946 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
49 Win 37–11–1 Al Blake TKO 4 (10), 2:17 Mar 20, 1946 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
48 Win 36–11–1 Jimmy Bivins SD 10 Feb 25, 1946 Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
47 Win 35–11–1 Johnny Allen KO 3 (12), 0:30 Jan 30, 1946 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
46 Win 34–11–1 Curtis Sheppard KO 10 (10), 2:12 Dec 10, 1945 Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
45 Win 33–11–1 Lee Q. Murray DQ 9 (10) Nov 12, 1945 Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. Murray DQ'd for "not trying"
44 Win 32–11–1 Steve Dudas TKO 5 (10), 1:50 Oct 24, 1945 Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
43 Win 31–11–1 Johnny Denson KO 2 (10), 1:06 Sep 20, 1945 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
42 Win 30–11–1 Joe Baksi PTS 10 Aug 2, 1945 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
41 Win 29–11–1 Johnny Allen PTS 8 Mar 15, 1945 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
40 Win 28–11–1 Austin Johnson PTS 6 Feb 22, 1945 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
39 Loss 27–11–1 Johnny Allen PTS 8 Jan 25, 1945 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
38 Win 27–10–1 Jackie Saunders TKO 2 (6), 2:42 Jan 11, 1945 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
37 Win 26–10–1 Ellis Singleton KO 3 (8), 0:58 Jun 28, 1944 Batesville AC, Haddonfield, New Jersey, U.S.
36 Win 25–10–1 Felix Del Paoli PTS 8 Jun 7, 1944 Batesville AC, Haddonfield, New Jersey, U.S.
35 Loss 24–10–1 Abe Simon KO 6 (8), 2:32 Feb 12, 1940 Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
34 Win 24–9–1 Tiger 'Red' Lewis TKO 6 (10), 2:28 Jan 19, 1940 Cambria AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
33 Win 23–9–1 Curtis Sheppard PTS 8 Nov 18, 1939 Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
32 Win 22–9–1 Al Boros PTS 8 Aug 14, 1939 Meadowbrook Bowl, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
31 Win 21–9–1 Bob Tow PTS 8 Dec 23, 1938 114th Infantry Regiment Armory, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
30 Loss 20–9–1 Roy Lazer PTS 8 Jun 14, 1938 Fairview Arena, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
29 Loss 20–8–1 Tiger Jack Fox PTS 10 May 10, 1938 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
28 Win 20–7–1 Lorenzo Pack KO 4 (8), 2:44 Apr 12, 1938 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
27 Win 19–7–1 Art Sykes KO 4 (8), 2:07 Mar 25, 1938 Cambria A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
26 Win 18–7–1 Jim Whitest PTS 8 Jan 20, 1938 Olympia A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
25 Win 17–7–1 Freddie Fiducia PTS 8 Jan 10, 1938 Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
24 Loss 16–7–1 George Brothers PTS 8 Oct 9, 1937 Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
23 Win 16–6–1 Elmer Ray KO 3 (6), 0:43 Sep 25, 1937 Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
22 Win 15–6–1 Joe Lipps KO 2 (8) Sep 3, 1937 Garden Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
21 Loss 14–6–1 Tiger Jack Fox KO 8 (10), 2:24 May 22, 1937 Rockland Palace, New York City, New York, U.S.
20 Loss 14–5–1 Billy Ketchell PTS 10 Sep 1, 1936 Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey
19 Draw 14–4–1 Billy Ketchell PTS 10 Jul 14, 1936 Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
18 Win 14–4 Phil Johnson TKO 3 (6), 1:12 Jun 22, 1936 Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
17 Win 13–4 Louis LePage KO 3 (6), 1:06 Jun 16, 1936 Coney Island Velodrome, New York City, New York, U.S.
16 Win 12–4 Joe Colucci KO 4 (10), 0:45 Apr 28, 1936 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
15 Win 11–4 Willie Reddish PTS 8 Mar 16, 1936 Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
14 Loss 10–4 Al Ettore KO 8 (10), 1:18 Jan 21, 1936 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
13 Win 10–3 Roxie Allen KO 8 (8), 1:06 Nov 26, 1935 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
12 Win 9–3 Al King KO 1 (8), 1:21 Oct 29, 1935 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
11 Win 8–3 Pat Roland TKO 4 (8), 2:31 Oct 1, 1935 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
10 Win 7–3 Lew Alva KO 1 (8), 1:01 Aug 26, 1935 Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
9 Loss 6–3 Henry Taylor PTS 6 Nov 16, 1933 New Broadway AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
8 Win 6–2 Henry Taylor KO 1 (6), 1:16 Jul 28, 1933 Arena, Pennsauken, New Jersey, U.S.
7 Win 5–2 Bob Norris KO 1 (6) May 5, 1933 Camden, New Jersey, U.S. Exact date unknown
6 Win 4–2 Carl Mays KO 2 (6) Apr 20, 1931 Waltz Dream Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
5 Loss 3–2 Carl Mays PTS 6 Mar 19, 1931 Egg Harbor, New Jersey, U.S.
4 Win 3–1 Frank Mitchell TKO 4 (6) Oct 24, 1930 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
3 Win 2–1 Jimmy O'Toole TKO 4 (6) Oct 10, 1930 Convention Hall, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
2 Loss 1–1 K.O. Palmer DQ 3 (6) Sep 16, 1930 Ice Arena, Vineland, New Jersey, U.S. Walcott dominated the fight but fouled Palmer when draped over the ropes
1 Win 1–0 Eddie Wallace KO 1 (6) Sep 9, 1930 Ice Arena, Vineland, New Jersey, U.S.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Joe Walcott in Primary for Sheriff". AP. June 28, 1968. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  2. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  3. ^ Mitchell, John N. "Jersey Joe Walcott to be immortalized on Camden Waterfront", The Philadelphia Tribune, September 28, 2019. Accessed June 7, 2020. "Walcott was born in Pennsauken on Jan. 31, 1914."
  4. ^ Goldstein, Ruby (1959). Third Man In The Ring (pre-ISBN First ed.). New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls. pp. 159–160.
  5. ^ Television. Frederick A. Kugel Company. 1965. p. 78.
  6. ^ Left Hook Stops Charles in 7th, Makes Walcott Oldest Champ, 1951, The Milwaukee Journal
  7. ^ a b c "Former Champ Wins Election". UPI. November 4, 1971. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Jersey Joe Walcott In Sheriff's Race". AP. April 28, 1971. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  9. ^ "It's Sheriff Jersey Joe". The Age. November 11, 1971. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  10. ^ The Star Ledger. section four. page 4. August 24, 2014
  11. ^ Taxi, season two, episode 19, Shut it Down: Part 1, written by James L. Brooks, et al., and directed by James Burrows. It was produced by Brooks, Glen and Les Charles, et al. for John-Charles-Walters Productions and Paramount Television for first broadcast on ABC, Tuesday the 29th of January, 1980.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Preceded by NYSAC heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – September 23, 1952
Succeeded by
NBA heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – September 23, 1952
The Ring heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – September 23, 1952
Undisputed heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – September 23, 1952
Records
Previous:
Jess Willard
Oldest world heavyweight champion
July 18, 1951 – November 5, 1994
Next:
George Foreman