JERSEY JOE WALCOTT, Camden's own..... a million words have been written, by those far more talented than I, so on this page I'm going to post some of the best I've found, along with some newspaper articles rarely seen.
For those not familiar with the story of Jersey Joe Walcott, here is the too-quick version.
He was born Arnold Raymond Cream on January 31, 1914, outside of Camden NJ. Most texts say he was born in Merchantville, but as Merchantville was a very white town then as now, I would not be surprised if he had been born a stones throw away in Pennsauken or Delaware Townships, both of whom in those days used the Merchantville office. The historically black Matchtown neighborhood is situated along the border of the two townships, just outside of the Borough of Merchantville. His father died when he was 14 years old, at which time he went to work at the Campbell Soup factory in Camden. He turned to professional boxing in 1930 as a lightweight.
Sources state that he compiled a record of 53-18-1 with 33 knockouts, others state his record was 50-17-1. I would be in no way surprised if he fought many more times than the record shows.
Jersey Joe struggled for years, and had all but quit the fight game, when a Camden "character" named Felix Bocchicchio took an interest in him. He got Walcott better fights, and a shot at the world title. It took Jersey Joe Walcott four attempts before he finally won the belt, at the age of 37. which he held for only a short time before being knocked out by Rocky Marciano. After a 1953 rematch against Marciano, he hung up his gloves.
After retiring, Walcott remained active in boxing as a referee. He took a stab at professional wrestling in the early 1960s. He also had an acting part in the 1956 film The Harder They Fall.
Jersey Joe Walcott later turned to politics, and was elected to the office of Sheriff of Camden County in 1971, serving for three years. He also served as the chairman of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.
Jersey Joe Walcott passed away as a result of diabetes on February 25, 1994 in Camden, NJ.
Jersey Joe Walcott
Pro Record: 53-18-1 with 33 wins by knockouts
1930 Sep 9 Cowboy Wallace Vineland, NJ KO 1 Oct 10 Jimmy O'Toole Camden, NJ KO 4 Oct 24 Frankie Matthews Camden, NJ KO 4 1931 Apr 20 Carl Mays Atlantic City KO 2 1932 Inactive 1933 May 5 Bob Norris Camden, NJ KO 1 Jul 28 Henry Taylor Camden, NJ KO 1 Nov 16 Henry Taylor Philadelphia L 6 1934 Inactive 1935 Jan 1 Al Lang Camden, NJ KO 1 Feb 2 Lew Alva Camden, NJ KO 3 Oct 1 Pat Roland Camden, NJ KO 4 Oct 29 Joe King Camden, NJ KO 1 Nov 26 Roxie Allen Camden, NJ KO 7 1936 Jan 21 Al Ettore Camden, NJ KO by 8 Mar 16 Willie Reddish Philadelphia W 10 Apr 28 Joe Colucci Camden, NJ KO 4 Jun 16 Lou LaPage Coney Island, NY KO 6 Jun 22 Phil Johnson Philadelphia KO 3 Jul 14 Billy Ketchell Camden, NJ D 10 Aug 1 Young Carmen Passarella Camden, NJ W 8 Aug 15 Billy Ketchell Camden, NJ W 10 Sep 1 Billy Ketchell Camden, NJ L 10 1937 May 22 Tiger Jack Fox New York KO by 8 Sep 3 Joe Lipps Atlantic City KO 2 Sep 25 Elmer Ray New York KO 3 Oct 9 George Brothers New York L 8 1938 Jan 10 Freddie Fiducia Philadelphia W 8 Jan 20 Jim Whitest Philadelphia W 8 Mar 25 Art Sykes Philadelphia KO 4 Apr 12 Lorenzo Pack Camden, NJ KO 4 May 10 Tiger Jack Fox Camden, NJ L 10 Jun 14 Roy Lazer Fairview*, NJ L 10 Dec 23 Bob Tow Camden, NJ W 8 1939 Aug 14 Al Boros Newark, NJ W 8 Nov 18 Curtis Sheppard New York W 8 1940 Jan 19 Tiger Red Lewis Philadelphia KO 6 Feb 12 Abe Simon Newark, NJ KO by 6 1941 Jun 27 Columbus Grant Memphis, TN KO 3 1942-43 Inactive 1944 Jun 7 Felix Del Paoli Batesville**, NJ W 8 Jun 28 Ellis Singleton Batesville**, NJ KO 3 1945 Jan 11 Jackie Saunders Camden, NJ KO 2 Jan 25 Johnny "Skippy" Allen Camden, NJ L 8 Feb 22 Austin Johnson Camden, NJ W 6 Mar 15 Johnny "Skippy" Allen Camden, NJ W 8 Aug 2 Joe Baksi Camden, NJ W 10 Sep 20 Johnny Denson Camden, NJ KO 2 Oct 23 Steve Dudas Paterson, NJ KO 5 Nov 12 Lee Q. Murray Baltimore WDQ 9 Dec 10 Curtis Sheppard Baltimore KO 10 1946 Jan 30 Johnny "Skippy" Allen Camden, NJ KO 3 Feb 25 Jimmy Bivins Cleveland W 10 Mar 20 Al Blake Camden, NJ KO 4 May 24 Lee Oma New York W 10 Aug 16 Tommy Gomez New York KO 3 Aug 28 Joey Maxim Camden, NJ L 10 Nov 15 Elmer Ray New York L 10 1947 Jan 6 Joey Maxim Philadelphia W 10 Apr 3 Elmer Ray Miami W 10 Jun 23 Joey Maxim Los Angeles W 10 Dec 5 Joe Louis New York L 15 (For World Heavyweight Title) 1948 Mar 10 Austin Johnson Chicago Exh 4 Jun 25 Joe Louis New York KO by 11 (For World Heavyweight Title) Dec 14 Earl Griffin Camden, NJ Exh. 4 1949 Feb 4 Baba Adams Curacao Exh Jun 22 Ezzard Charles Chicago L 15 (For Vacant NBA Heavyweight Title) Aug 14 Olle Tandberg Stockholm KO 5 1950 Feb 8 Harold Johnson Philadelphia KO 3 Mar 3 Omelio Agramonte New York KO 7 Mar 13 Johnny Shkor Philadelphia KO 1 May 28 Hein Ten Hoff Mannheim, Germany W 10 Nov 24 Rex Layne New York L 10 1951 Mar 7 Ezzard Charles Detroit L 15 (For World Heavyweight Title) Jul 18 Ezzard Charles Pittsburgh KO 7 (Wins World Heavyweight Title) 1952 Jan 10 Jackie Burke New Bedford, MA Exh 5 Jan 12 Jackie Burke Lewiston, ME Exh 5 Jan 21 Jackie Burke Holyoke, MA Exh 5 Jan 23 Jackie Burke Portland, ME Exh 4 Jan 24 Jackie Burke St. Johns, New Brun. Exh 5 Jan 25 Jackie Burke Bangor, ME Exh 5 Jan 26 Jackie Burke Watery, ME Exh 5 Jan 29 Jackie Burke Lewiston, PA Exh 5 Feb 1 Jackie Burke Orlando, FL Exh 5 Jun 5 Ezzard Charles Philadelphia W 15 (Retains World Heavyweight Title) Sep 23 Rocky Marciano Philadelphia KO by 13 (Loses World Heavyweight Title) 1953 May 15 Rocky Marciano Chicago KO by 1 (For World Heavyweight Title) 1963 Aug 15 Wrestling: pinned in third round by Lou Thesz at Memphis, TN* The Fairview fight was held in the Fairview section of Camden NJ** Batesville was the name of a neighborhood in what is now Cherry Hill NJ, just outside of Haddonfield, along county road 561, commonly known as the Haddonfield-Berlin Road. For many years amateur and minor professional fights were staged there.
best article I've ever seen
Walcott and King Fight for Title Belt Tonight
Walcott and King are scheduled to appear in the. feature eight-rounder at the Civic Center hall and Promoter Lew McFarland will give the victor a belt bought by the Golden Gate Sporting Club, which is sponsoring the show.
Walcott has yet to be put to the test as his last two opponents ty=here were outclassed. The coffee-colored Merchantville light heavy unquestionably is a great puncher and made a chopping block of Pat "Red" Roland a few weeks ago, the bout being stopped in the fourth round to save the latter from being sent home in a basket. During the outdoor season, Walcott stopped Lew Alva, who was booked as a Spaniard, but who later proved to be a Philadelphian, in one round.
King Has Good Record
King comes here with a good reputation. According to Promoter MacFarland, King, who hails from Hackettstown, has had 10 professional fights and won all 10, nine over the knockout route and a six-round win over Abie Bain, who several years ago gave Maxie Rosenbloom a real battle at Madison Square Garden when Rosenbloom held the light heavy title.
Kings' nine knockouts, according to Frankie Bunt, his representative, include Billie Prince, Dan Serici, Gene Hudson, Ray Bowers, Bucky Bendetto, Frank Zaveda, Jimmy Smith, Jim Myrick and Bobby ; O'Brien. None 'of the fights lasted over three rounds so King should be a fit opponent for Walcott.
McFarland is certain that the fight will be a "sweetheart" with a belt at stake for the winner.
Julius Lighthiser, who resumed his right name after boxing several bouts under the name of Frankie "Kid" Carlin, has been forced to pull out of the eight-round semi-final de« to an attack of arthritis in his neck. Julius Lighthiser was listed to meet Paul Enno of the Philippine Islands, in a return match, the two having fought a great six-rounder in the last show, but Julius, while training caught a punch on his neck which caused a ligament to cross a nerve and arthritis developed.
Duca Replaces Lightheiser
So Promoter McFarland has signed Mickey Duca of Paulsboro, to act as a substitute for Lighthiser against Enno. Lightheiser beat Enno, who is a club fighter. Duca also is a club fighter and the two kids may steal the thunder of the stars.
Two heavyweights, Al "Peaches" Gray of North Camden, and Jack Houvig, three-letter athlete at Salem High School a few years ago, meet in the main preliminary of six rounds. Both are good punchers and anxious to please as they are making a comeback after several yearg absence from the ring.
In the two preliminary bouts, both six-rounders, Joe Bonomo and Joe Reno, both residents of South Camden, trade punches, while Dan Ryrie of Fairview, and Danny McNichol of Merchantville, deadly rivals, open the show.
Camden Courier-Post - April 24, 1936
BOXER, MAKES DEBUT HERE
South Camden Youngster Meets Narcisso In Walcott-Barry Show Next Week
Cincinnati is the name of one of Ohio's fairest cities, but it also is the name of a local aspirant to boxing fame.
Freddy is his first name and he is a resident of South Camden. He is slated to make his professional debut here at the Convention Hall next Tuesday night, facing hard-hitting Al Narcisso, another South Camdenite, in the second bout of six rounds.
"Jersey Joe" Walcott, of Maple Shade, and Donald "Red" Barry, of Washington, D. C., will act as the finalists on the card. The bout is over the 10-round route.
Narcisso is on the spot with Cincinnati. Al was touted highly prior to his pro debut against Joe Reno, but the latter went going away. Cincinnati has been training for several months and Narcisso may run into another storm.
Freddy Lewis, Maple Shade cobble thrower who fought several sensational bouts at the Civic Center hall, comes back to battle Jack Kelly, of Kensington, in the eight round semifinal.
Two other six-rounders are also on the card. Joey Mancuso, of Maple Shade, faces Johnny Viereck of National Park. and Joey Ruggles of South Camden, battles Danny Ryrie, of Fairview.
Camden Courier-Post - April 25, 1936
Hall - Young Kid Chocolate - Lew McFarland
Al Narcisso - Freddy Cincinatti - Joey Ruggles
Danny Ryrie - Joe Duca
Camden Courier-Post * June 27, 1944
Joe Walcott - Ellis Singleton - Bill Deering - Harold Fairman - Wally
Cross - Nick Fiorentino
Jimmy Whitest - Jimmy Robinson - Buddy Paul - Felix Paoli - Harry "Red" Schultz - Bob Winters - Joe Mangold
Jersey Joe Walcott
|Camden Courier-Post - June 21, 1950|
Joe Walcott Outshone Stalin
Among Germans, Malandra Reports
The much-touted Soviet march on Berlin last May was admittedly an international bust.
Even the Russians have tacitly acknowledged the heralded youth invasion didn't achieve the impression they had planned.
But where the Reds failed to make any dent on the emotions of Western Europe, Camden's Jersey Joe Walcott succeeded magnificently. In fact, wherever he went he drew a following that would have made the Pied Piper of Hamelin green with envy.
Greeted as Hero
"Hie's the greatest thing that happened for Camden since Walt Whitman." said Angelo Malandra, Camden's deputy mayor who recently visited Europe with Mayor Brunner.
"In all the towns we visited, Jersey Joe was treated like a hero" said Malandra, who witnessed the Camden heavyweight's fight with the German champion Hein Ten Hoff.
"Newspapermen clustered around him like flies wherever he went" Malandra added. At Mannheim alone there were at least 75 newspapermen covering Walcott's activities.
German newspapers gave little more than three inches of space to the Soviet yoputh march, but Jersey Joe hit the front pages almost every day, Malandra reported.
On one occasion alone, according to Malandra, Walcott entered an Army store in Heidelburg to make some purchases.
"Within 15 minutes, 10,000 people were jamming in the streets outside the store, and it took us almost an hour to cover one block in our automobile.
Carried U.S. Coins
In part, Walcott's popularity could be explained by the fact he was forever handing out nickels, said Malandra. Jersey Joe carted between 300 and 400 of the coins wherever he went.
"But that wouldn't account for the deference paid him by the top brass everywhere he went," said the deputy mayor. "He received tribute from the mayors of every town he visited."
Even in Scotland, autograph hunters were on hand to greet the Camdcn pugilist.
The deputy mayor explained the German adoration of Jersey Joe on grounds they "still love a strong man."
"I think they'd give anything to get one German who could beat one American." he said.
Jersey Joe Obliges
Commenting on the fight itself, Malandra said that at the beginning of the tenth round the German newspapermen were expressing pleasure and pride because their champion was still standing up.
"I asked Joe to give him one more shot for me," said Malandra. "Joe did hit him the one shot and the world seemed to stand still, but Walcott couldn't seem to knock the German down.
In the first round Walcott broke the German's nose, and blood spattered the deputy mayor's coat.
After the fight, Malandra quoted the bleeding Ten Hoff as remarking "I do not believe man heet so hard".
|Camden Courier-Post - July 19, 1950|
Is Sued For $9500 by Ex-Manager
Webster Says Money Is Balance Due On $22,000 Settlement
Joseph Webster, Camden restaurateur today brought suit in Camden county court to collect $9500 he claims is due him for serving as manager of Jersey Joe Walcott, Camden contender for the world's heavyweight boxing championship.
Named as co-defendants with Walcott, whose legal name is Arnold Cream; are Felix Bocchicchio, the fighter's present manager, and the Camden Athletic Corporation, set up by Walcott and Bocchicchio in October, 1944, as a joint holding company of their mutual assets.
The suit was filed for Webster by State Senator Bruce A. Wallace.
Walcott and Bocchicchio are on their way to Germany by plane to collect the balance of the purse they claim is due the fighter for a match several months ago, where he defeated Hein Ten Hoff.
Angelo D. Malandra; their attorney said he had been served with papers in the suit but withheld comment pending filing of a formal answer, for which he has 20 days through court procedure.
In the formal complaint, Webster charges Bocchicchio is the "owner of said prize fighter, directed his activities, advanced money for traveling and training expenses by the fighter and handled all the financial affairs of and for said fighter."
Webster also charged that on May 1, 1945 both Bocchicchio and Walcott contracted for Webster's services as manager of the fighter and that he continued in that capacity until July 15, 1948.
"During this time," the complaint charges, "'a dispute arose over the money due him (Webster) as manager and it (the dispute) was resolved on July 15, 1948, when they (Bocchicchio and Walcott) agreed on $22,000 as full payment for his (Webster's) service."
Webster charged $10,000 of that amount was paid to him on the day the agreement was reached and that $2500 of the balance was to be paid the following September 15 and the remaining $9500 on November 1, 1948. He did not receive the $2500, however, until December 15, 1948, Webster claims, and has never received the $9500.
Webster, who lives at the Park View apartments, Collingswood, presently in manager of the Sports Center restaurant, Eighth and Federal Streets. He formerly was manager of Homo's, Third and Market Streets.
Jersey Joe Walcott and Jim
July 18, 1951
Far more disgusted than hurt Jersey Joe Walcott in his corner following his stunning knockout at the hands of Rocky Marciano at 2:25 minutes of round one.
Jersey Joe Walcott
At Left: Louis Fratto, who was a major organized crime figure in the middle west in the 40's,60s, and 60s. At right, Felix Bocchicchio.
Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny (rear), portrayed by Mary Topolewski and Edward Wicker, look on as Jersey Joe Walcott presents a prize to Sylvia Riley, 8, of National Park, for an egg hunt which climaxed the third annual North Camden Easter parade
Camden Courier-Post - December 16, 1957
William Stretch - Jersey
Joe Walcott - Anthony Skolski
Frank Guetherman aka Tip Gorman - Joe Webster - Sgt. Ray Smith
George McKenzie - Anthony Moffa - Frank H. Ryan
This appears to be from a Veteran's Boxing Association Ring No. 6 Banquet.
At far right, seated, is Arnold "Jersey Joe Walcott" Cream, standing behind him wearing glasses is Neil McLaughlin.
|Camden Courier-Post - July 5, 1967|
41st Annual Affair
Crippled Children’s Party Tomorrow
The Crippled Children’s Committee of Camden Elks Lodge 293 will sponsor its 41st annual party for crippled children tomorrow.
S.S. Norcross 3rd, exalted ruler of the lodge, and Edward J. Griffith, president of the Crippled Children’s Committee, said the children will board buses at 10:30 AM at the Elks' home, 807 Cooper Street.
First stop will be Sergeant Ray Smith's home on Lake Renee, where the, children will have their annual picnic lunch. Following lunch they will ride horses from the Persian Acres Dude Ranch operated by County Detective Robert Di Persia.
Erial Fire Company will pick up the children for a ride to the Nike Missile Base in Erial, then onto Clementon Lake Park. Following dinner in the Chick Barn at Silver Lake Inn, the youngsters will return to the Elks' Home.
Among those helping Sgt. Ray celebrate his 72nd birthday at Silver Lake Inn later in the evening will be former Judge Samuel P. Orlando, Congressman John E. Hunt, Jersey Joe Walcott, Mayor Alfred Pierce and state Senator Frederick J. Scholz and recently appointed Prosecutor A. Donald Bigley.
I worked for Jersey Joe at his car wash and BoBet motel he had on the Black Horse Pike in Mount Ephraim. I fully remember Jersey Joe and the laughter he brought to us all while we were there and of course his manager Bocchicchio. What a great time in my life, will never forget the man. I lived on Wayne Ave just off the Black Horse Pike, 1817 to be exact.
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