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marciano-vs-jersey-joe-walcott.jpgThe Greatest Heavyweight champion of all time was born Rocco Francis Marchegiano on September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts.  He was born into an Italian American family, his father Pierino and mother Pasqualena had 5 other children beside Rocco, the two other boys Louis and Peter and three girls Alice, Concetta, and Elizabeth.  Rocky was a fighter from the age of one, when he over came a bout with pneumonia that almost took his life.  Growing up he played all the sports in school, football, baseball, basketball and he even worked out with homemade weightlifting equipment, including a heavy bag made from a postal sack.  He dropped out of school after the tenth grade to go to work doing everything from shoe salesman to ditch digger to working at the Brockton Ice and Coal Company.  He was drafted into the army from 1943 to 1946 and  he helped ferry supplies across the English Channel to Normandy while stationed in Wales and after the war at Fort Lewis, Washington.  After winning the amateur forces boxing tournament in 1946, while representing the Army, Rocky then on March 17, 1947, beat Lee Epperson with a third round knockout in his first professional fight.  He returned to the amateur ranks fighting in the Golden Gloves All East Championship Tournament and competed in the AAU Olympic tryouts where he would hurt his hands when knocking out George McGinnis.  Marciano would have to withdraw from the tournament and that would be the end of his amateur days, leaving with a record of 11 wins and 3 losses.  Those 3 losses would be the last time Rocky Marciano would ever taste defeat.

walcott-ko.jpgIn his professional career, he would win by decision over Don Mogard, who would be the first person to go the distance with Rocky as a professional.  He would then score three more knockouts before winning a decision over Ted Lowry that would go the scheduled ten rounds.  None of his opponents were slouches and he would have another four more knockout wins before he would fight a hard ten round decision over Roland La Starza.  Three more knockout wins before Marciano would win, by unanimous decision over a rematch with Lowry, then he would score four more knockout wins before a win by decision over Red Applegate.  Then on television for the first time on July 12, 1951 he knocked out Rex Lane in six rounds.  Another win before his next televised fight against the great Joe Louis who was not only Rocky’s friend but his childhood idol.  Louis was at the end of his career and although he fought a tough fight, it was clear he was no match for Marciano.  It is said by many, and if you have ever seen the fight, with the respect Rocky had for Joe Louis, that fight hurt Marciano as much emotionally as it hurt Louis physically.  An almost sure victory against his childhood Idol was not one Rocky wanted to take.  Four more wins over very tough opponents such as Lee Savold and Harry Matthews then Rocky would face the World Heavyweight Champion Jersey Joe Walcott September 23, 1952.  Walcott would drop Rocky with a left hook in the first round, only to see him get right back up and Rocky would knockout Joe Walcott in the thirteenth round becoming the new  World Heavyweight Champion.  Marciano won the rematch with a first round Knockout on Walcott before he would brutally beat Roland La Starza in a TKO in the Eleventh round.  The former World Heavyweight Champion Ezzard Charles would battle through all fifteen rounds but Rocky would win with a unanimous decision.  In their rematch during the sixth round, Charles would miss a left hook and catch Rocky with his elbow to open a mean cut on his nose but Rocky would Knock him out in the eighth round and keep his Title.  He then would drop the British and European Champion Don Cockell to the canvas twice in the eighth round before winning by TKO in the ninth.  In Marciano’s last title bout against Archie Moore, in the second round Rocky would hit the canvas for only the second time in his entire professional career.  Rocky was up at the four count and the fight went to a brawl with Moore being knocked down in the sixth round and twice in the eighth before Rocky knocked him out in the ninth round.  Marciano announced his retirement on April 27, 1956 he marciano-ali.jpgwas the Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1952 to 1956 with a record of 49-0-0 with forty-three of those forty-nine wins by knockout  Marciano remains the only heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire without a defeat or a draw in his professional career in any weight class.  After boxing, Marciano invested in some restaurants and did a Boxing show on television and a few other things to keep him busy.  Then sadly on the evening before his 46th birthday, Rocky was killed in a plane crash on this day August 31, 1969.  This write up falls far short of describing not only the truly great fighter Rocky Marciano was but also the Man he was.  The athletes of today, as well as kids could learn a thing or two about being a real man, that Rocky most certainly was.  Jersey Joe Walcott, who lost his title to Marciano, said “He was a man of courage inside the ring. Outside, he was kind and gentle.”  For more information, two great websites are, Rocky Marciano and also Rocky Marciano, where you can find out about The Superfight: Marciano vs. Ali.

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