Earl Walls; A Career Too Short
17.11.03 - By Keith Terceira: I began this article with the intentions of giving a cliquey on the boxing career of Canadian Champion Earl Walls, but became intrigued by the entire Walls family. One can only imagine the trials and tribulations endured by the Walls family founder Jon Freeman Walls. I highly recommend readers to take a moment and explore the Walls Family History located at www.undergroundrailroadmuseum.com
Article posted on 17.11.2003
It is not often I add links and such to my work but this is a special occasion for a unique fighter.
Earl Walls was born in 1928 the second eldest of ten children in the Township of Maidstone. He attended Essex District High School leaving to work at Ford's with father Frank. At 19 Earl Walls came under the wing of Jimmy Jones a Toronto fight promoter. Training took him eventually to Stillman's Gym in New York City. A two fisted fighter Earl displayed a great left hook and powerful right.
May 5, 1948 in his pro debut Earl took on Dick Lee and it ended in a 1st round KO. In fact 17 of Walls 43 fights ended in one round. More 1st round knockouts than the great Joe Louis who was going strong at the onset of Walls career.
Some victims of the Earls Power were Kurt Schiegl, Rex Layne (twice), George Parmentier, Vern Escoe, Joe Kahut, Tommy Harrison, Bernie Reynolds . Earl had wins over Freddie Beshore, Henry Hall, Billy Gilliam. Just as things were coming together for Walls, at age 27, on November 2, 1955 he retires from the ring.
Nicknamed the "Hooded Terror" Walls blinded sided the sport by his announced departure while in training to Ewart "ED" Potgieter the South African gargantuan who demolished and dismantled opponents. 1957 Bruce Olson died as a result of injuries sustained in match bout with the 7 foot 2 inch 325 pound giant. This had nothing to do with Earls retirement. I suspect injuries and the birth of his first child led to the decision.
Perhaps it was the frustration of not receiving a shot at the title from Rocky Marciano, though plans were attempted by former world champion Henry Armstrong and promoter Vic Tanny. It was even reported in the L.A. Times as headline read "L.A. Scribe Says Armstrong Trying to Promote Marciano-Walls Fight".
Archie Moore considerd Walls as he started his run at Rocky but used the excuse that Walls didn't have the drawing power. More likely that Walls power was such that Moore couldn't gamble on being stopped short of his goal to meet Marciano. What resulted was the undignified suspect match-up of Valdez-Moore.
In 1954 when Harrison vs. Walls II occurred Walls was running a streak of 13 wins by KO before the sixth round and 2 losses on points to Joe Kahut and Tommy Harrison. He would avenge the loss to Joe six months later with a second round KO. April of 54 he walked into the ring and crushed Harrison in the first round.
It was also the last KO Earl would ever have. Injury could have possible stopped the power display that fans were used to from Walls. When he fought Edgardo Romero of Argentina ,a man who managed only a 6-12 career record the power had left. Edgardo pulled out a points win in 10 in Canada. Four months later Walls would return the favor, but Romero was notorious for having a weak chin, why either fight would go the distance is perplexing. Fact is that the last seven fights of his life, Earl went to the scorecards.
Points wins over Jimmy Slade . James J. Parker, Henry Hall and Billy Giliam put Earl in the #5 spot in the division . Maybe it was divine intervention. Perhaps the lure of family life that lead to the end of the beginning. Earl Walls after boxing became a force in real estate, a force in life, and an contributing bard on the Walls Family and the Underground Railroad.
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