Uncrowned Champion #1

By Ted Sares on August 29, 2013
Uncrowned Champion #1
“A past prime Marshall is better than seeing no Marshall, even if it's just for 35 seconds.”

Quick, what boxer floored Ezzard Charles eight times on way to a TKO victory? Tommy Jackson? No. Rocky Marciano? No again. Hmm, must have been Jersey Joe Walcott? Nope. It was a light heavyweight boxer who was a member of Murderers’ Row and who was inducted posthumously into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2010 by the name of Lloyd Marshall and he did it in Cleveland, Ohio in 1943.

BoxRec had it happening this way: “Charles was knocked down eight times as follows: down for counts of one and two in the first round; dropped once in round three for a one-count; down in round five for a two-count; down for counts of one and eight in round seven; down twice for no-counts in round eight. The referee stopped the fight after the last knockdown. Charles’s handlers said that he had a hip injury going into the fight. Ezzard didn’t win a single round. Attendance was 10,539.”

In addition to Charles, Marshall beat Hall of Famer Charley Burley, Freddie Mills, Ken Overlin Johnny Romero, Nate Bolden, Anton Christoforidis, Joey Maxim, Holman Williams, Jake LaMotta, Lou Brouillard, and Teddy Yarosz. During Marshall’s enigmatic career he defeated nine world champions.

While his career was hampered by racial barriers, Marshall did win the vacant “Duration” World Light Heavyweight Title in 1944 with a victory over Nate Bolden.  However, because he fought at his peak during World War II when titles were frozen, Lloyd Marshall never fought for an officially recognized world title. He retired in 1951 with a mark of 70-25-4, his last good win coming against Tommy Farr in Wales in 1950. As for Charles, he would get his revenge with two KO wins over Marshall in 1946 and 1947.

Ace historian Harry Otty weighs in as follows: “After beating Freddie Mills [in 1947], things were never again as rosy for Marshall as he lost half of his remaining fights – many of them by KO. After finally being persuaded by his wife to hang them up in 1951 Lloyd went into security and correctional work. He was forever amazed by the purses that modern-day fighters were earning – echoing former lightweight champion Ike Williams’ incredulity at a $20 million plus pay day for Mike Tyson – ‘There isn’t that much money in the world. How can you spend that?’ Well Tyson knows (possibly) and I am certain Lloyd would have liked to try.” http://www.charleyburley.com

Marshall was inducted to World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 and is also in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

“A past prime Marshall is better than seeing no Marshall, even if it’s just for 35 seconds.”—Poster named GJC

“While boxing exhibitions with Ken Overlin in the South Pacific Ken told me Lloyd was the greatest fighter he ever fought.”—Blackie Nelson

“The roughest fight I had was Lloyd Marshall. He was a light-heavyweight. I lost a decision to him, and he’s the only one who knocked me off my feet; a straight right hand in the first round.”—Charley Burley

Supposedly, there is a documentary video the BBC made about the Marshall vs. Freddie Mills fight in England (but I could not find it). Given the story behind the story of that fight, it might be worth the hunt for any historian worth his or her salt.

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  1. Jerry Fitch 12:38pm, 11/16/2013

    By the way I never saw your answer in August. Thanks for the compliments, I do appreciate them coming from you, especially.

  2. chuck h. 11:48am, 09/30/2013

    It’s interesting that Lloyd Marshall boxed less than a handful of black fighters until the war was raging in 1942.
    C. H.

  3. Ted 06:27pm, 08/30/2013

    BTW, Jerry Fitch began watching fights in the 1950s and has been writing about boxing since 1970. He has written for The Ring, Boxing Illustrated, Boxing News (London, England), World Champion, Boxing Digest, Boxing World, Boxing World (South Africa) and many other publications. Jerry is the author of four books on boxing including his 2002′Cleveland’s Greatest Fighters of All Time’ and now this book from the heart about his great friend of over forty years, Jimmy Bivins.

    Jerry is an historian!!

  4. Ted 06:05pm, 08/30/2013

    Thanks Jerry and Tex. Yes, many of today’s writers/historians would not know Lloyd from the man in the moon, but then, it seems anyone can call himself or herself an historian these days.

  5. Tex Hassler 04:05pm, 08/30/2013

    Marshall was a great fighter, period, end of statement. Lloyd Marshall fought and beat some top fighters as was mentioned in the fine article by Mr. Sares. Marshall would have coasted into a championship today. The level of competition was much higher in Marshall’s time than it is today so the skill level could excel also.

  6. Jerry Fitch 01:48pm, 08/30/2013

    Ted,  I couldn’t have said it better, Lloyd is one of those fighters who many so called “historians” don’t have a clue about. He was an amazing fighter and I can only imagine what he looked like when he was young. Watching the Mills fight you can get the feel for his bobbing and weaving and his shifting of the shoulders. He rolled his shoulders and had his hands down, long before Ali was born. Underrated?  For sure.  Nice article!

  7. Ted 10:08am, 08/30/2013

    Thanks Mike and Peter. I am going to start doing some historical stuff from time to time and this is the leadoff. I enjoy doing the research.


  8. Mike Casey 08:06am, 08/30/2013

    Excellent, Ted. Marshall was past his best when he made a mess of Freddie Mills. In the late sixties, his son Lloyd Marshall Jr came over to the UK and knocked out British champion Maurice Cullen. Maurice then lost his title to Ken Buchanan. But Marshall Sr really was something special.

  9. peter silkov 07:11am, 08/30/2013

    Very interesting article, Marshall doesn’t seem to get much written about him considering his record.  Id say his win over Charles was no fluke, just that Charles probably learned to keep his chin a bit further away from Lloyds fists in their subsequent fights.  The way he destroyed Mills was impressive as Freddie was one of the toughest fighters of his era and even the heavyweights he mixed with never did such a job on him.

  10. Ted 06:08am, 08/30/2013

    Well, the Cobra was as tough as nails. He just could not get through the pain of 8 deckings. But he avenged the defeat twice.

    Ezzard was never popular back then because he beat Joe Louis and made many cry.

  11. Djata Bumpus 06:00am, 08/30/2013

    How he survived, when he carried his right hand on his hip is baffling to me….smh

  12. Ted 04:51am, 08/30/2013


  13. dollarbond 04:49am, 08/30/2013

    Nice concise writing, my man.  Very Hemmingwayesque.  Keep ‘em coming.

  14. Ted 06:06pm, 08/29/2013

    I do it all the time my man. Now that I will be doing a bit more of historical stuff, I’ll be doing it even more by definition.

  15. djata 05:51pm, 08/29/2013

    Thanks, Ted…I can’t believe that you showcased a Black fighter. :) Keep up the great work!...Cheers!

  16. Ted 05:47pm, 08/29/2013

    Thanks Herr Schmidt

  17. Ted 05:46pm, 08/29/2013

    Irish, I am not disagreeing with you, but hip injury or not, he got beat up.

  18. Ted 05:45pm, 08/29/2013

    Don, he went 10-9-1 after the Mills fight, but lost a lot by stoppage.

  19. Don from Prov 03:25pm, 08/29/2013

    So was Marshall pretty much just done as a fighter by/after the Mills bout?

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:23pm, 08/29/2013

    Ted Sares-This article makes all of this come alive for me…..I’m not discounting Marshall’s Hall of Fame career…...just referencing the first fight with Ezzard with all the 1 count and no count knockdowns which clearly indicated Charles was having balance issues related to some type of leg injury or in this case a hip injury.

  21. Meinhard Schmidt 03:20pm, 08/29/2013

    Articles like this are the reason i visit boxing.com every day. Thanks Herr Sares!

  22. jofre 01:34pm, 08/29/2013

    Marshall was an outstanding fighter cursed by fighting in a tough era. But, as Ted states, the level of his opposition is outstanding and the quality of his wins says it all. In addition to Charles, Marshall beat Hall of Famer Charley Burley, Freddie Mills, Ken Overlin Johnny Romero, Nate Bolden, Anton Christoforidis, Joey Maxim, Holman Williams, Jake LaMotta, Lou Brouillard, and Teddy Yarosz. During Marshall’s enigmatic career he defeated nine world champions.

  23. Ted 01:16pm, 08/29/2013

    Probably so, but a KO is a KO and as Al Braverman once said, there is no such thing as a bad win.

  24. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:57pm, 08/29/2013

    Ted Sares-I’m not a historian….but let me assert a radical notion regarding Marshall’s first fight with Ezzard Charles….Marshall wasn’t that good and Charles certainly wasn’t that bad…considering their two subsequent go rounds…Charles’ reported hip injury rings true.

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