Rocky Marciano vs. Ezzard Charles II

By Boxing News on September 16, 2020
Rocky Marciano vs. Ezzard Charles II
The champ was 46-0. Charles was 83-11-1. The Ring called it Fight of the Year for 1954.

On September 17th, 1954 at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, aka The Brockton Blockbuster, defended his title against The Cincinnati Cobra, Ezzard Charles. The two men had fought three months earlier and Rocky retained his belt with a unanimous decision over 15 rounds. The rematch, like their first fight, was at Yankee Stadium. Unlike their first fight, this one was filled with thrills (Marciano goes down twice) and chills (a Charles punch sliced Marciano’s nose in half). The champ was undefeated at 46-0. The challenger was 83-11-1. Ring Magazine crowned Marciano-Charles II Fight of the Year for 1954…

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Rocky Marciano vs Ezzard Charles II - Sept. 17, 1954 - Rounds 1 - 8

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  1. Your Name 12:58am, 09/17/2017

    as can be seen from the B & W footage, the strip on Marcianop’s trunks were actually white at the start of the fight and in the early rounds. The red seen in the colour pic at the top of the above article is caused by blood from Marciano’s nose after the horrific cut. BTW the description (“Marciano goes down twice”) is clearly incorrect.

  2. Bobby Bearden 09:24pm, 09/19/2016

    The second fight with Ezzard Charles wasn’t expected to be as good as the first. It was discussed a lot in the newspapers and in Ring that Charles could not possibly do more than he did in the first fight and that hadn’t been enough. The odds reflected the lowered expectations.

    Marciano took a lot out of a fighter. LaStarza did very well the first time and thought he’d do even better, but didn’t.

    Walcott’s manager stated that in the dressing room, Jersey Joe was depressed before the second fight, as if awaiting execution. He said that on the way to the ring he was guiding Joe by the elbow and could feel him trembling. He said he thought Walcott was terrified of Marciano.  In an interview later he said, “I knew that if Joe went down, he wasn’t going to get back up.”

    There is some controversy on whether the ref would have stopped the second Charles fight because of the cut nose. It wasn’t affecting his vision and wasn’t life threatening. Rocky was told he was going to bleed to death if he didn’t get Charles and also that the fight might be stopped. But this may have been motivational talk by his corner. The referee later said he didn’t warn them he was going to stop the fight. They assumed he might stop it, but he didn’t say so. Of course, a few more rounds of pounding on it might have been sufficient to call a halt anyway.

    There’s no doubt Ezzard would have worked on it. In the first fight, he abandoned a good fight plan to go after the cut above Marciano’s eye. He said, “I went crazy for that eye and forgot everything else.”

  3. Lucas McCain 03:43pm, 09/19/2016

    By the way, the rematch took place only 3 months after the first bout.  An aging Charles, who already had lots of miles on him, was still pretty battered in that first go and may not have been recovered sufficiently to train fully for the second.  He does seem to fade rather quickly under the Rock’s pressure.  But he was an extraordinary fighter.

  4. Lucas McCain 03:36pm, 09/19/2016

    You’re right Bobby, only the two old guys, Jersey Joe and Archie, put Marciano down as a pro.  I assume it was a rushed intro.  I had forgotten Charles was down three times in all.  Marciano was a small heavyweight but incredibly strong and relentless.  Common sense says guys like Klitschko and Fury would have been too big for him, but I dunno.  They could never have kept up with the pace he set.  Watching him batter Archie Moore in his last fight is exhausting even for the viewer!

  5. Bobby Bearden 04:38pm, 09/25/2015

    Marciano didn’t go down twice. He didn’t go down at all. He only went down twice in his career, in his first fight with Jersey Joe Walcott and in his final career fight with Archie Moore.

    This was actually not as good a fight as the first. Ezzard didn’t put his heart into it like he had in the first bout and it was a rout by Marciano until the split nose opened the possibility of a stoppage.

    Also, the split nose was almost certainly from an elbow and not a punch.

  6. Ed Starker 09:52am, 09/20/2014

    Both Marciano/Charles bouts were brutal affairs, especially the 2nd fight. The referee did Rocky a huge favor when he decided to give the badly cut fighter another round, rather than stopping the contest between rounds. Many years ago, I can remember an interview where Marciano was asked who was the toughest opponent he’d faced during his career. Rocky didn’t hesitate a lick when he stated; “Ezzard Charles”. When the sportswriter asked which of the 2 fights was the toughest, Rocky answered; “any fight with Charles.”

  7. john coiley 03:23am, 09/18/2014