By Scoop Malinowski
Jersey Joe Walcott fought Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano twice each. In the 1970s he revealed his insights and experience learned from four fights with the two all time greats…
“At that point until I was knocked down (by Louis) I felt good, I was in good shape. Until I got nailed. Joe Louis was the greatest heavyweight finisher of all time, in my opinion.”
When asked to compare the hitting power of the Brown Bomber and the Rock, Walcott evaluated carefully and came to a conclusion. “Their styles were different. Rocky tended to throw continuous tremendous punches with full force, with no science, like he was throwing a baseball.”
“And Louis was a rhythm puncher. Once he hit you with a left, he hit you with a right, left, right, left. Very few fighters could escape once he got you in trouble. Once he got a fighter hurt, that was it.”
“While Rocky was a one punch artist. And to compare the two as punchers… for one punch… I think Rocky Marciano had a harder punch than Louis but Louis would finish a fighter much easier, much quicker by his devastating, continuous rhythm, left, right, left and right.”
Walcott, 49-20-1 with 31 KOs, fought Louis for the World Heavyweight Championship on December 5, 1947 at Madison Square Garden, losing by split decision, despite flooring Louis twice. In the rematch in 1948 at Yankee Stadium Louis stopped Walcott in the 11th round – it was the first closed-circuit sporting event broadcast and distributed by theater television.
At age 37, Walcott won the World Heavyweight title in a 1951 rematch with Ezzard Charles by KO 7 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, PA. After a successful defense vs Charles in Philadelphia, by 15 round decision, Walcott faced Marciano next on September 23, 1952 at Municipal Field in Philadelphia and lost the title by 13th round knockout. In the rematch in Chicago in May 1953, Walcott was knocked out in the first round and never fought again. He retired at age 39 to work in his hometown of Camden, NJ with the handicapped and mentally retarded.
Walcott later worked for the Camden County corrections department. In 1971 he was elected as Camden County Sheriff. 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. He died at age 80 in 1994.
(Colored pencil drawing by Scoop Malinowski.)