McFarland, 2012 – BIOGRAPHY – 239 pages
Born into extreme poverty in 1914, Jersey Joe Walcott began boxing at the age of 16 to help feed his hungry family. After ten years, without proper training and with little to show for his efforts beyond some frightful beatings, Walcott quit the ring. A chance meeting with a fight promoter who recognized the potential in his iron chin and hard punch turned Walcott’s fortunes around, launching one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history. This biography details Walcott’s youth, his dismal early career, and his legendary climb to become the heavyweight champion of the world at age 37, at the time the oldest man ever to win the coveted title. Along the way, he battled some of the most feared champions of his day, including Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, and Rocky Marciano. With numerous period photographs and a foreword from Walcott’s grandson, this work provides an intimate look at one of the grittiest, most determined boxers of the 20th century.