Boxing Hall of Fame Las Vegas, NV, Presents: Boxing History, Rocky Marciano
Feb 04 2014 9:01 PM
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Rocky Marciano, was born September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts, USA and his birth name was Rocco Francis Marchegiano; his parents were Italian. Rocky grew up playing baseball and football and dreamed of having a professional career on one of these sports. He didn't take up boxing until after 1943, when he was drafted into the Army and showed natural ability for it, he had however to overcome natures limitations, he was only 5'10″ (178 cms) , less than 190 pounds and had a reach of only 68″ (172 cms) . What he lacked in physical attributes he made up with his determination. He turned professional in 1948. His style earned him the nickname “The Brockton Blockbuster”. His ferocious right hand was named the “Sussy Q”. On October 26, 1951, with 37 wins and 32 knockouts under his belt, Marciano faced his most formidable opponent in former heavyweight champion Joe Louis. Louis was past his prime and when Marciano knocked him out in the eighth round, he had such mixed feelings at beating his hero that he cried in Louis' dressing room after the fight. This fight established Marciano as one of the marquee fighters in the heavyweight division, and assured him of a title shot before too long. September 23, 1952, Marciano got a title shot facing world heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott. In the thirteenth round, behind on points, Marciano threw a short right to Walcott's jaw that knocked him unconscious. Marciano got the title. His first title defense was a rematch with Walcott on May 15, 1953, in this occasion Marciano knocked Walcott out in the first round. Later that year, he made his second defense, knocking out Roland LaStarza in eleven rounds. Then came two consecutive bouts against former World Heavyweight Champion and light heavyweight legend Ezzard Charles, 33, who became the only man to ever last fifteen rounds against Marciano. Marciano won the first fight on points and the second by an eighth-round knockout. Then, Marciano met British and European Champion Don Cockell. Marciano knocked him out in the ninth round.
Marciano's last title bout was against 41-year-old Archie Moore, on September 21, 1955.. Marciano was knocked down for a four count in the second round, but recovered and retained his title with a knockout in round nine. On April 27, 1956, Marciano retired from boxing at the age of 32. “I thought it was a mistake when Joe Louis tried a comeback,” the New York Times quoted him as saying. “No man can say what he will do in the future, but barring poverty, the ring has seen the last of me. I am comfortably fixed, and I am not afraid of the future.” He said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
On August 31, 1969, the day before his 46th birthday, he died in a private-plane crash near Des Moines, Iowa. Marciano was on his way to give a speech to support a friend's son and there was a surprise birthday celebration waiting for him. He had hoped to return early morning for his 46th birthday celebration with his wife. He was survived by his wife of 19 years, Barbara, and their two children, Rocco Kevin and Mary Anne.
He is the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated.

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