Titles: World heavyweight champion 1952-1955 Record: 49-0 Born: September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts, USA Years active: 1948-1955 Nickname: The Brockton Blockbuster When you talk with most people they will say Rocky is either very overrated or very underrated. It is hard to argue with perfection as Rocky was 49-0 and retired undefeated! Others will say he fought weak competition and the good boxers he did beat were past their prime. You can throw all kind of statistics around but how do you measure heart, guts and determination? Can you measure the ability to take the other mans best shot brush it off and come back to knock out the other man because his will had been crushed. Marciano's style can best be described as crude, determined and most importantly effective. Perhaps former light heavyweight Tommy Loughran said it best "He is great by instinct or maybe by accident. He doesn't to it purposely but he moves in so low that his opponents jab over him." Because of his short arms (only a 68 inch reach the shortest of any heavyweight champ Ali by comparison had a 82 inch reach) Rocky had to fight his way on the inside without the help of a great jab, this meant having to bob and weave his way inside either slipping or riding through punches. Marciano would stay low always looking to unleash his vicious hooks to the body or spring up from the crouch to tag his opponent. His short thick legs helped Rocky stand his ground, not allowing him to be pushed back against some good punchers. Above all Rocky used his legs almost like a coiled snake, dipping low before uncoiling and delivering hard hooks. Maybe the greatest asset of Rocky was his incredible reserve of stamina and ability to shake off punishment. While Rocky was the heart and guts of the machine, his trainer Charley Goldman was the imagination, looking for the openings in the foes defense. Some say his training included hours of throwing punches under water to improve strength. Originally Goldman did not want to take on Rocky, he took him to Al Weill a New York boxing matchmaker who simply said "He is not very good...... but he has power, and something else?". After the affirmation of Weill, Goldman took The Rock who at age 24 was much older than most fighters turning him pro because he saw the determination and work ethic he thought they could ride to the very top of the heavyweight division. Rocky was simply impossible to discourage or keep down. Rocky was one of the hardest hitting champions ever knocking out 43 of his 46 opponents. The picture taken of his blow delivered to the jaw of Jersey Joe Walcott is one the most famous pictures in boxing history, the right hand that delivered the blow was nicknamed "Suiz-Q" by Rocky. At the start of his career Rocky was not showcased at all, in fact he was hidden from the harsh New York Media in Rhode Island club shows until he had formed a solid foundation of skills. And he became very good, in fact Muhammad Ali was once quoted "All the great heavyweights champions were black. There was Jack Johnson, Jersey Joe Walcott, Rocky Marciano......" Well at least he was right about him being great. That was also the case out of the ring, where Rocky was known as a extremely frugal man (It would eventually cost him his life) but also a very charitable man with his time, giving his time to many charities. As niece and easy going as he was outside of the ring is how focused and pitiless he could be in the ring, Rocky did at times resort to dirty tricks. Rocky was born as Rocco Francis Marchegiano in Brockton, Massachusetts the oldest of six children born to a poor Italian shoe factory worker. Baseball not boxing was his original love and he even got a major league try-outs as catcher but the lack of a strong throwing arm ended his dream of being a baseball player. The rumor of how he turned to boxing is that while in the army he was stationed in Britain and got into a Pub brawl where he knocked out a Australian serviceman. After he joined the base boxing team winning the Brigade championship. Rocky was a small heavyweight standing 5 feet 11, never weighing more than 194 pounds with limited reach. His fists were also very small for a heavyweight measuring 11 1/2 inches (Liston's were 14) when made into a fist. But they were delivered with passion! After he got out of the Army Rocky wrote Madison Square Garden asking for a trial bout, which he was offered. Rocky hitchhiked to New York were he left Charlie Goldman unimpressed. But eventually Weill and Goodman of course took him in. Rocky fought 12 amateur fights which saw him win the New England Golden Gloves but ended with him losing to Coley Wallace (famed for this and portraying Joe Louis in the movie of his life) in the eastern championships. It was his last defeat. In his first 11 pro fights Rocky knocked out every opponent, eight in the first round. After 13 bouts, 11 by knockout Weill thought Rocky was ready to move out of the Rhode Island boxing clubs to more noticeably venues. In his 24 fight (22 won by kayo) he took on Carmine Vingo a tough fighter in his own right. The two slugged away for six rounds, both being rocked on different occasions. Vingo after the bout went into a coma, never again boxing. Marciano briefly thought about giving up the sport because of the fight with Vingo before Goldman talked him back into the ring. The breakout fight for Marciano which would establish him as a contender came in 1950 against Roland LaStraza who was unbeaten in 37 fights. The clash was in Madison Square Garden, and turned out to be a incredibly close contest that ended in a split decision win for Marciano in front of 13,000 people. Rocky knocked LaStraza down in the fourth but also had a point deducted for a low blow. The fight proved Marciano would not wilt when tested, the fight also gave Rocky much confidence. Weill now turned the heat up in earnest going for a world title. Rocky had now boxed 35 pro bouts totaling 146 rounds. Heavyweight contender and highly ranked Rex Lane (beaten in six rounds), Freddie Beshore (beaten in four rounds) even come- backing legend Joe Louis (beaten in nine rounds) were dispatched off in impressive fashion. The Louis fight while hard for Marciano who idolized the old champ served it's purpose and gained Rocky tons of media coverage. Coming into the Louis bout Rocky was ranked #5 by the NBA but was still a 8 to 5 betting underdog. The momentum of the Louis fight was parlayed into wins over notable heavyweights Lee Savold (who Rocky did not look good against before finishing him) and Harry Matthews. Now Rocky had earned national stature and champion Jersey Joe Walcott agreed to the title fight. Walcott was by far the sternest test for Marciano even though he was the oldest heavyweight champion ever at the time. Many speculated that Rocky was being overmatched, after 1 round many thought they were correct. Walcott was no doubt a aging champion but he was still a consummate boxer. It did not look good for Marciano early, he was knocked down in the first round getting up at the count of two and cut along the top of his scalp. Now Walcott outboxed Marciano round after round. But Charles did take return fire from Rocky, both men inflicted damage and were cut. By the 13th round Walcott had only to stand up through the last 2 rounds to win the fight by a wide points margin. Rocky had cuts on both eyes and during the middle rounds some vaseline found it's way into his eyes and burning and blinding him momentarily. But it only took one punch to end 13 rounds worth of work for Walcott. A single right devastating hand landed flush on the jaw of Walcott when he had his back against the ropes. Walcott went down and could not beat the count. The hard work of Marciano had paid off in a big way, after 43 fights he was now the world heavyweight champion. In his first defense of the title Rocky knocked out Joe Walcott in the rematch in just 2 minutes and 25 seconds. It was the 11th first round knockout of his career. Five more defenses followed (only one went the distance) before he announced his retirement in April of 1956, seven months after his fight with Archie Moore. In his second defense Marciano took on Roland LaStraza again who many thought had beaten Rocky in their first meeting, Marciano wanted to prove anyone who thought he los the first wrong. That he did by hammering LaStraza for 11 rounds. In the fight Rocky and Weill had to find a strategy when they discovered he could not get to the chin of LaStraza. Rocky began to hit him around the arms and chest until LaStraza could no longer hold his arms up, then Rocky went for the exposed chin. From round 7 on it was target practice for Rocky. Finally in the 11th round LaStraza fell. A right hand followed by a quick combination stopped the game challenger for the first time in his career. LaStraza was found to have burst blood vessels in arms after the fight. In 1954 Marciano made two defenses of the title with two classic bouts against Ezzard Charles. In the first fight Charles battled Rocky on even terms for 15 rounds thrilling a crowd of 45,000 with his determined stands against the bull in front of him. The judges correctly favored the advancing Marciano over the counter punching of Charles. The second fight had to be made because of the quality of the first match. In the second match the nose of Marciano was literally split down the bridge, Marciano's left nostril was cut clean in half. Only through the pleading of both Marciano and his corner was he allowed to continue over the reservations of the referee. Marciano fought through the blood and pain but was behind on the cards when once again his power came to the rescue. A flurry of right hands floored the tiring Charles in the eight round, the follow up attack knocked Ezzard out cold. Next Marciano took on and beat England's Don Cockell, the bout is only remembered because it was foul filled to say the least. In his last fight and title defense Marciano took on the light heavyweight champion, ageless Archie Moore in front of 61,000 fans. Once again he was floored this time in the second round but quickly bounced back up at the count of four to go after Moore. Rocky slowly wore the smaller man down, pounding him to the canvas three times before the bout was stopped in the ninth round. Marciano would leave as the only heavyweight champion to never have been defeated in his pro career, turning down many lucrative comeback offers. He could afford to do so as Marciano had earned over 4 million dollars during his career. Two other factors were consistent back pain that Rocky began to experience late in his career and wanting to spend time with his family. After his ring career Rocky became a good businessman, investing his ring earning wisely but always distrustful of banks. Much of his money however is still not accounted for as he did not keep bank accounts, some say it was stashed away in hiding places in his home town of Brockton. Much of it (up to 1 million) is still unaccounted for and Rocky left no will. in Marciano died while on his way to a small business convention, instead of buying a ticket he accepted a free plane ride to the Iowa convention. The light aircraft crashed in a storm outside of a small town named Newton, near Des Moines. The next day would have been Rocky's 46th birthday, he left behind a wife and two teenage children. After his death even the surly Sonny Liston had to comment, he stated "This man was one of the greatest champions ever, he refused to accept defeat." Truer words are hard to find.
1948 July 12, 1948 Harry Bilazarian W KO 1 Providence, RI July 19, 1948 John Edwards W KO 1 Providence, RI Aug. 9, 1948 Bobby Quinn W KO 3 Providence, RI Aug. 23, 1948 Eddie Ross W KO 1 Providence, RI Aug. 30, 1948 Jimmy Weeks W KO 1 Providence, RI Sept. 13, 1948 Jerry Jackson W KO 1 Providence, RI Sept. 20, 1948 Bill Hurdeman W KO 1 Providence, RI Sept. 30, 1948 Gil Cardione W KO 1 Washington, DC Oct. 4, 1948 Bob Jefferson W KO 2 Providence, RI Nov. 29, 1948 Patrick Connolly W KO 1 Providence, RI Dec. 14, 1948 Gilley Ferron W KO 2 Philadelphia, PA 1949 March 21, 1949 Johnny Pretzie W KO 5 Providence, RI March 28, 1949 Artie Donato W KO 1 Providence, RI April 11, 1949 James Walls W KO 3 Providence, RI May 2, 1949 Jimmy Evans W KO 3 Providence, RI May 23, 1949 Don Mogard W PTS 10 Providence, RI July 18, 1949 Harry Haft W KO 3 Providence, RI Aug. 16, 1949 Pete Louthis W KO 3 New Bedford, MA Sept. 26, 1949 Tommy DiGiorgio W KO 4 Providence, RI Oct. 10, 1949 Ted Lowry W PTS 10 Providence, RI Nov. 7, 1949 Joe Dominic W KO 2 Providence, RI Dec. 2, 1949 Pat Richards W KO 2 New York City Dec. 19, 1949 Phil Muscato W KO 5 Providence, RI Dec. 30, 1949 Carmine Vingo W KO 6 New York City 1950 March 24, 1950 Roland LaStarza W PTS 10 New York City June 5, 1950 Eldridge Eatman W KO 3 Providence, RI July 10, 1950 Gino Buonvino W KO 10 Boston, MA Sept. 18, 1950 Johnny Shkor W KO 6 Providence, RI Nov. 13, 1950 Ted Lowry W PTS 10 Providence, RI Dec. 18, 1950 Bill Wilson W KO 1 Providence, RI 1951 Jan. 29, 1951 Keene Simmons W KO 8 Providence, RI March 20, 1951 Harold Mitchell W KO 2 Hartford, CT March 26, 1951 Art Henri W KO 9 Providence, RI April 30, 1951 Red Applegate W PTS 10 Providence, RI July 12, 1951 Rex Layne W KO 6 NYC Aug. 27, 1951 Freddie Beshore W KO 4 Boston, MA Oct. 26, 1951 Joe Louis W KO 8 NYC 1952 Feb. 13, 1952 Lee Savold W KO 6 Philadelphia, PA April 21, 1952 Gino Buonvino W KO 2 Providence, RI May 12, 1952 Bernie Reynolds W KO 3 Providence, RI July 28, 1952 Harry 'Kid' Matthews W KO 2 New York City Sept. 23, 1952 Jersey Joe Walcott W KO 13 Philadelphia, PA (Wins Undisputed World Title) 1953 May 15, 1953 Jersey Joe Walcott W KO 1 Chicago Stadium, IL Sept. 24, 1953 Roland LaStarza W RSF 11 Polo Grounds, NYC 1954 June 17, 1954 Ezzard Charles W PTS 15 Yankee Stadium, NYC Sept. 17, 1954 Ezzard Charles W KO 9 Yankee Stadium, NYC 1955 May 16, 1955 Don Cockell W RSF 9 Kezar Stadium, CA Sept. 21, 1955 Archie Moore W KO 9 Yankee Stadium, NYC 1956 April 27, 1956 Announces Retirement