Joe Pastore, Sr. the Last Manager of “Jersey” Joe Walcott Speaks Out!
By Ken Hissner, Dog House Boxing (Nov 23, 2015)
Tweet Follow @DoghouseBoxing
Boxing trainer, amateur boxer, cut-man and one time gym owner and all around nice guy Rich Ormsbee arranged for me to meet with Pastore and his son Joe, Jr. who once managed IBF welterweight champion Kermit “Killer” Cintron. Pastore, Sr. is 91 and is alert and doing well. “I spent 30k to set up a camp for Walcott in Blackwood, NJ. I had a ring, trailer and a cook for him. I warned him anything short of complete dedication would find him in the river. Walcott was a very nice person along with his family,” said Pastore, Sr.
Walcott real name was Arnold Cream and he was from Camden, NJ, and started out in 1930 at 165 lbs. winning his first six fights before losing in a rematch with Henry Taylor, 11-2-1. He had been inactive from April 1931 to May of 1933. After his first loss he came back with five straight knockouts before losing to heavyweight contender Al Ettore, 52-7-2, in 1936. In his next fight he defeated Philly’s Willie Reddish who was as well-known as a trainer of such boxers as Sonny Liston after retiring.
“I believe Walcott was 45 (not 37) when he won the title from Ezzard Charles. He was blackballed after dropping Joe Louis in a sparring session,” said Pastore, Sr. From 1936 to 1945 he was only able to get a contender in the ring with him in 1945 when he defeated Joe Baksi, 46-4-3. This put out a warning to the leading contenders and title holders. In 1946 he won a split decision over Jimmy Bivins, 52-5-1, known to be the “champ” while Louis was in the Army.
Later in 1946 Walcott defeated Lee Oma, 45-18-1, and Tommy Gomez, 52-4-1, in Madison Square Garden. Just 12 days later he lost back to back fights to future light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim and Elmer Ray. He would win the next two fights with Maxim. He had defeated Ray in a previous fight. After the loss to Ray, Walcott defeated Maxim, Ray and Maxim in consecutive bouts finally earning him a fight for the heavyweight title against Joe “the Brown Bomber” Louis, 57-1, in 1947 losing a disputed split decision over 15 rounds though having Louis on the deck twice. In the rematch Walcott was ahead on 2 of the 3 scorecards when he was stopped in the 11th round.
Next up Walcott lost to Ezzard Charles, 62-5-1, for the vacant NBA title in the first of four meetings. Two months later he found himself fighting out of the country stopping Olle Tandberg, 23-5-1, in Sweden and back to Philadelphia stopping future world champion Harold Johnson. Johnson suffered an injury to an intervertebral disc in his back. Walcott had stopped Johnson’s father Phil back in 1936.
Walcott scored three more wins including a win in Germany over Hein Ten Hoff, 18-0-3. He would lose back to back fights to contender Rex Layne, 25-1-2 and a rematch with Charles for the NBA title. This was the second of four fights with Charles and first of three in a row. He would stop Charles in July of 1951 for the NBA title and in a rematch defeat Charles at the Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia for the World Heavyweight title in his fifth try. This was his first fight under Pastore, Sr. in June of 1952 some 11 months after Walcott’s previous fight with Charles. They split in four bouts.
Just three months after winning the world title Walcott was matched with Rocky Marciano who at the time was 42-0. It was held in Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. It was a war with Walcott ahead going into the 13th round 7-4, 7-5 and 8-4. The punch that knocked Walcott out was a historic right hand that seemingly almost took his head off. Hank Cisco who was in the Marciano stable claimed he was in Walcott’s dressing room after the fight and the doctor said “this man should never fight again.” Pastore, Sr. claims to know nothing of this.
The rematch with Marciano would be 8 months later in Chicago. Walcott was counted out by referee Frank Sikora who seemed to be counting faster than usual calling a halt at 2:25 of the first round. That would be Walcott’s final fight ending up 51-18-2 with 32 knockouts over 23 years of boxing. “When he went down I motioned to him to stay down,” said Pastore, Sr.
Pastore, Sr. ran a taxi service for 10 years. His son Joe, Jr. has one of the best amateur prospects this writer has seen in years named Xavias Ramirez out of Reading, PA. He is a 14 year-old who has sparred with men being over 21. He also has Joshua Rosa and Nathon Pagan both amateurs.
Please send all questions and comments to Ken Hissner at: Kenhissner@gmail.com
- For video content, plus today's newspaper headlines and original content, visit our Front Page now.
-To have your say on this article and mix it up with other Boxing Fans, visit The Dog Pound now.