On this day...Ezzard Charles was born

On this day, Ezzard Charles, who is considered one of the greatest fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves, was born. Given the name the ‘Cincinnati Cobra’, Charles was one of the best fighters of his era holding the heavyweight world title four times.

Charles began his career as a middleweight but served in the war, and returned to the sport of boxing as a light heavyweight eventually moving up to heavyweight - winning titles in each division he competed at.

Sadly, Charles was inducted into the Hall of Fame after his death in 1990.

Notable Wins

Charles holds multiple wins over Joey Maxim as well as defeated Archie Moore, Jimmy Bivins, Jersey Joe Walcott, and Joe Louis. Charles lost to Rocky Marciano twice, but Marciano always sang the praises of Charles. Charles was best known for being a master of defense, something that wasn’t nearly as common as it is now in the modern era.

Muhammad Ali once said the following about Charles.

‘Ezzard Charles was a truly great fighter and champion. He was the only heavyweight champion, other than a young Sonny Liston, who I think would have really troubled me at my best’

In 2022, a statue was made in his honor in Laurel Park Cincinnati, Ohio.

Charles was essentially a middleweight or light heavyweight fighting at heavyweight. So think of him as James Toney before James Toney. 


Charles was sadly diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1968. Former fighters such as Rocky Marciano spoke his praises during fundraisers to help the prizefighter who was battling. Charles sadly ALS greatly impacted Charles' life as he died on May 28th, 1975 in Chicago.