Book Review: By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer
BOOK REVIEW : EZZARD CHARLES ; A BOXING LIFE BY WILLIAM DETTLOFF
When I read a book about a prize fighter I want to know the whole story. I want to know about their early life and what led them into the brutal fight game. What they did after their career ended and what legacy did they leave. In the book “Ezzard Charles ; A Boxing Life”, author William Dettloff does an admirable job of covering all the bases.
Mr. Dettloff is an accomplished scribe who spent fifteen years as the Senior Writer for Ring Magazine. It is obvious throughout this book the research and attention to detail the author painstakingly took. Ezzard Charles fought his way to the top in an era loaded with all star talent. Ezzard met the best of those times. Names like Burley, Bivins,Maxim, Moore, Walcott, Marciano and Louis adorn his record. As well as many others.
Ezzard Charles never received a much deserved shot at the light heavyweight championship even though most acknowledged him as the number one man at the time. Frustrated he went after the heavyweight crown and won it after the great Joe Louis retired. Charles was never fully accepted or appreciated by the fans as a heavyweight. When Louis decided to come back and try to regain his crown his effort was thwarted by Ezzard. This made Charles even more unpopular as he had defeated a beloved icon.
All this and more. Much, much more is explained in the pages of this fine book. Ezzard’s three wins over the Old Mongoose Archie Moore. The aftermath of the bout Charles had with Sam Baroudi that was fatal for Baroudi. The battle Ezzard had with Lou Gerhig’s disease that claimed his life at the age of 51.
The bottom line is that in his prime Ezzard Charles was a great fighter. Very possibly the greatest light heavyweight of all time. A child from Georgia who ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio and went on to have an illustrious boxing career. Hats off to William Dettloff. This was a wonderful book and a sure “keeper” for my boxing library.
The book is available through Amazon.com or www.mcfarlandpub.com