Ezzard Charles was born in Lawrenceville in 1921 and moved to Cincinnati when he was young. He fought in boxing’s golden age, when the sport was second only to baseball in popularity.
Charles is among the pantheon of great boxers and he fought them all - Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Considered a natural born fighter, Charles didn’t capture the public’s imagination the way Joe Louis did, but his resume is just as impressive. He defeated Walcott in 1949 to win the National Boxing Association title before besting his idol Joe Louis the next year to claim the undisputed heavyweight title. Charles fought the legendary Marciano twice and was the only fighter ever to last 15 full rounds against "The Rock."
A member of boxing’s hall of fame, Georgia native Ezzard Charles retained the heavyweight boxing title when he beat Jersey Joe in their third fight on March 7, 1951, Today in Georgia History.
Ezzard Charles was also a noted double bass player who performed with many jazz greats in the 1940s and 50s.