By Ted Sares
“A past prime Marshall is better than seeing no Marshall, even if it’s just for 35 seconds.”—Poster named GJC
“The roughest fight I had was Lloyd Marshall. He was a light-heavyweight. I lost a decision to him, and he’s the only one who knocked me off my feet [with a] straight right hand in the first round.”—Charley Burley
Out of the twelve boxers he fought who would at some point hold world championships, Lloyd beat nine of them as well as many great boxers who like himself would not get the chance to fight for a title, guys like Burley, Williams and Chase—Shaun Tate
Quick, who floored Ezzard Charles eight times—yes, eight times– on way to a TKO victory? Tommy Jackson? No. Rocky Marciano? No again. Hmm, must have been Jersey Joe Walcott? Nope. It was a light heavyweight boxer who was a member of Murderers’ Row and who was inducted posthumously into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2010. His name was Lloyd Marshall and he did it in Cleveland, Ohio in 1943.
BoxRec had it happening this way: “Charles was knocked down eight times as follows: down for counts of one and two in the first round; dropped once in round three for a one-count; down in round five for a two-count; down for counts of one and eight in round seven; down twice for no-counts in round eight. The referee stopped the fight after the last knockdown. Charles’s handlers said that he had a hip injury going into the fight. Ezzard didn’t win a single round. Attendance was 10,539.”
In addition to Charles, Marshall, who enjoyed a fantastic amateur career, beat Hall of Famer Charley Burley, the sketchy Freddie Mills, Ken Overlin (whom he hammered), Johnny Romero, Nate Bolden, Anton Christoforidis, granite-jaw Joey Maxim, slick Holman Williams, rugged Jake LaMotta, Lou Brouillard, and Teddy Yarosz. During Marshall’s enigmatic career he defeated nine world champions.
Reportedly, When he returned home from his victory over LaMotta in Cleveland Lloyd, who could roughhouse with the best, told the West Coast fight fraternity that any one of the ‘Black Murderers’ Row’ would have no problem beating Jake “…as it had been one of his easiest fights”
Like many others in Murderers’ Row, his career was hampered by racial barriers, but Marshall did win the vacant “Duration” World Light Heavyweight Title in 1944 with a victory over Nate Bolden. However, because he fought at his peak during World War II when titles were frozen, Lloyd never fought for an officially recognized world title. He retired in 1951 with a mark of 70-25-4, his last good win coming against Tommy Farr in Wales in 1950.
As for the great Charles, he would get double revenge with two KO wins over Marshall in 1946 and 1947, but not before Lloyd again decked Charles and had him ready to go in Round one. Watch Charles bounce back: . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56fBd7nfmUY
Ace historian Harry Otty weighs in as follows: “After beating Freddie Mills [in 1947], things were never again as rosy for Marshall as he lost half of his remaining fights – many of them by KO. After finally being persuaded by his wife to hang them up in 1951 Lloyd went into security and correctional work. He was forever amazed by the purses that modern-day fighters were earning – echoing former lightweight champion Ike Williams’ incredulity at a $20 million plus pay day for Mike Tyson – ‘There isn’t that much money in the world. How can you spend that?’ Well Tyson knows (possibly) and I am certain Lloyd would have liked to try.” http://www.charleyburley.com
Marshall was inducted to World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 and is also in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. Born in 1914 in Georgia, he passed away in 1997.
Supposedly, there is a documentary video the BBC made about the Marshall vs. Freddie Mills fight in England, but I could not find it. Given the story behind the story of that fight, it might be worth the hunt for some historian type. Suffice it to say that he travelled to England to fight Mills on a much ballyhooed black vs. white card. Marshall was meant to be an opponent, but he slaughtered Mills in five. In fact, the blacks won 4 of the 5 bouts. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-PtbswvJbs
Mills would then win the world light-heavyweight championship a year later, but incredibly the under-appreciated Marshall himself never received one shot at the title.