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Rocky Marciano

Rocky Marciano

Rocco Francis Marchegiano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969), best known as Rocky Marciano (/mɑːrsiˈɑːnoʊ/), was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955, and held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. He is the only heavyweight champion to have retired undefeated as champion.[4] His six title defenses were against Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell and Archie Moore.[114]

Known for his relentless fighting style, formidable punching power, stamina, and exceptionally durable chin, Marciano has been included by boxing historians in lists of the greatest boxers of all time,[5] and is currently ranked by BoxRec as the eighth greatest heavyweight boxer in history.[6] His knockout-to-win percentage of 87.76% remains one of the highest in heavyweight boxing history.[116]

Rocky Marciano
Real nameRocco Francis Marchegiano
Height5 ft in (179 cm)[3][1]
Reach68 in (173 cm)[3]
BornSeptember 1, 1923Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedAugust 31, 1969 (aged 45)NearNewton, Iowa, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights49
Wins by KO43

Early life

Computer Fight With Ali

Computer Fight With Ali

Marciano was born and raised on the south side of Brockton, Massachusetts, to Pierino Marchegiano and Pasqualina Picciuto. Both of his parents were immigrants from Italy. His father was from Ripa Teatina, Abruzzo, while his mother was from San Bartolomeo in Galdo, Campania. Rocky had two brothers,Louis (aka Sonny) and Peter,and three sisters, Alice, Concetta and Elizabeth. When he was about 18 months old, Marciano contracted pneumonia, from which he almost died.

In his youth, he worked out on homemade weightlifting equipment (later in his life, Marciano was also a client of Charles Atlas)[7] and used a stuffed mailbag that hung from a tree in his back yard as a heavy bag. He attended Brockton High School, where he played both baseball and football. However, he was cut from the school baseball team because he had joined a church league, violating a school rule forbidding players from joining other teams. He dropped out of school after finishing tenth grade.

Marciano then worked as a chute man on delivery trucks for the Brockton Ice and Coal Company.

He also worked as a ditch digger, railroad layer[8] and shoemaker.

Rocky was also a resident of Hanson, Massachusetts; the house he lived in still stands on Main Street.

In March 1943, Marciano was drafted into the United States Army for a term of two years. Stationed in Swansea, Wales, he helped ferry supplies across the English Channel to Normandy. After the war ended, he completed his service in March 1946 at Fort Lewis, Washington.[9]

Amateur career

Marciano's amateur record was 8–4.[10] While awaiting discharge, Marciano represented the Army and won the 1946 Amateur Armed Forces boxing tournament.

His amateur career was briefly interrupted on March 17, 1947, when Marciano stepped into the ring as a professional competitor at the Valley Arena Gardens of Holyoke,Massachusetts, being billed as "Rocky Mackianno of Westover Field".[11][12] That night, he knocked out local fighter Lee Epperson in three rounds. In an unusual move, Marciano returned to the amateur ranks and fought in the Golden Gloves All-East Championship Tournament in March 1948. He was controversially beaten by Coley Wallace.[13] He continued to fight as an amateur throughout the spring and competed in the AAU Olympic tryouts in the Boston Garden. There, he knocked out George McInnis, but hurt his hands during the bout and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. That was his last amateur bout.[14]

In late March 1947, Marciano and several friends traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to try out for the Fayetteville Cubs,a farm team for the Chicago Cubs baseball team.[15] Marciano lasted three weeks before being cut. After failing to find a spot on another team,he returned to Brockton and began boxing training with longtime friend Allie Colombo. Al Weill and Chick Wergeles served as his managers and Charley Goldman as his trainer and teacher.

Professional career

Although he had one professional fight (against Lee Epperson) on his record, Marciano began fighting permanently as a professional boxer on July 12, 1948.That

night,he notched a win over Harry Bilazarian (3–6–0). He

won his first 16 bouts by knockout, all before the fifth round and nine before the first round was over.Don Mogard

(17–9–1) became the first boxer to last the distance (full 10 rounds scheduled) with "The Rock",but Marciano won by unanimous decision.

Early in his career,he changed the spelling of his last name Marchegiano.

The ring announcer in Providence, Rhode Island, couldn't pronounce Marchegiano, so Marciano's handler, Al Weill, suggested they create a pseudonym.The first suggestion was Rocky Mack, which Marciano rejected.He decided to go with the more Italian-sounding "Marciano".[16]

Marciano won three more fights by knockout and then he met Ted Lowry (58–48–9). Marciano kept his winning streak alive,beating Lowry by unanimous decision. Four more knockout wins then followed, including a five-rounder on December 19, 1949 with Phil Muscato (56–20–0), an experienced heavyweight from Buffalo, New York, being the first "name fighter" Marciano faced. Three weeks after that fight,Marciano beat Carmine Vingo (16–1–0) by a sixth-round knockout in New York that almost killed Vingo.

Marciano vs. La Starza

On March 24, 1950, Marciano fought Roland La Starza,winning by split decision. La Starza may have come closer than any other boxer to defeating Marciano as a professional. The scoring for the bout was 5–4, 4–5, and 5–5.Marciano won on a supplemental point system used by New York and Massachusetts at that time. The scoring system did not award an extra point for a knockdown and Marciano scored a knockdown in the fight. Referee Watson decided the bout, scoring it for Marciano. Both boxers were undefeated before the fight, with La Starza's record at 37–0.

Subsequent bouts

Marciano scored three more knockouts in a row before a rematch with Lowry (61–56–10), Marciano again winning by unanimous decision.

After that, he scored four more knockouts and, after a decision over Red Applegate (11–14–2) in late April 1951, he was showcased on national television for the first time, knocking out Rex Layne (34–1–2) in six rounds on July 12, 1951.

On October 27, 1951, the 28-year-old Marciano took on the 37-year-old Joe Louis. Coming into the bout, Marciano was a 6½-to-5 underdog.[17] Marciano upset Louis in the latter's last career bout.

After four more wins, including victories over 35-year-old Lee Savold (96–37–3) and Harry Matthews (81–3–5), Marciano received a shot at the world title.

Championship fights

Marciano, 29, faced the World Heavyweight Champion, 38-year-old Jersey Joe Walcott, in Philadelphia on September 23, 1952. Walcott dropped Marciano in the first round and steadily built a points lead. In the 13th, Walcott used his trademark feint to set up his right hand, but Marciano's "Suzie Q" landed first, a powerful right hook causing Walcott to slump to his knees with his arm draped over the ropes. He lay motionless long after he had been counted out and Marciano became the new World Heavyweight Champion. At the time of the stoppage, Walcott was leading on all scorecards 8–4, 7–5, and 7–4.

His first defense came a year later – a rematch against Walcott, 39, who this time was knocked out in the first round.

Next, it was Roland La Starza's turn to challenge Marciano.

After building a small lead on the judges' scorecards all the way through the middle rounds, Marciano won the rematch by a technical knockout in the 11th round.

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 15 rounds against Marciano.[18] 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 38-year-old Archie Moore, on September 21, 1955.

The bout was originally scheduled for September 20, but because of hurricane warnings, it had to be delayed a day.Marciano

was knocked down for a four-count in the second round, but recovered and retained his title with a knockout in round nine.

Marciano announced his retirement on April 27, 1956,aged 32.[19] He finished his career at 49–0.

Life after boxing



Marciano considered a comeback in 1959 when Ingemar Johansson won the Heavyweight Championship from Floyd Patterson on June 26, 1959. After only a month of training in nearly four years, Marciano decided against it and never seriously considered a comeback again.[20]

After his retirement, Marciano entered the world of television, first appearing in the Combat!

In late July 1969, shortly before his death, Marciano participated in the filming of the fantasy The Superfight: Marciano vs. Ali.


On August 31, 1969 (the day before his 46th birthday), Marciano was a passenger in a small private plane, a Cessna 172[21] heading to Des Moines, Iowa. It was night time and bad weather had set in.The pilot,Glenn Belz, had 231 total hours of flying time, 35 of them at night, and had no instrument rating. Belz tried to land the plane at a small airfield outside Newton,Iowa but the aircraft hit a tree two miles short of the runway. Flying with Marciano in the back seat was Frankie Farrell, 28,the oldest son of Lew Farrell, a former boxer who had known Marciano since his childhood.[21] Marciano,Belz and Farrell were killed on impact.[21][4][2]

The National Transportation Safety Board report said, "The pilot attempted an operation exceeding his experience and ability level, continued visual flight rules under adverse weather conditions and experienced spatial disorientation in the last moments of the flight."[24][25] Marciano was on his way to give a speech to support his friend's son and there was a surprise birthday celebration waiting for him. He had hoped to return in the early morning for his 46th birthday celebration with his wife. He was coming from a dinner in Chicago at STP CEO Andy Granatelli's home.

Marciano is interred in a crypt at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale,Florida. His wife Barbara Marciano died five years later at the age of 46 due to lung cancer,and is entombed next to him.[21]


Rocky Marciano was the inspiration for the name,iconography and fighting style of the title character Rocky Balboa from Sylvester Stallone's Rocky movie series. The character Rocky dreams of becoming like his idol Rocky Marciano and later in the series even gives his son a valuable possession (a boxing glove necklace made from a cuff link) given to him by his trainer Mickey, who had received it from Marciano.

In 1971, Nat Fleischer, perhaps boxing's most famous historian and also editor and founder of The Ring,named Marciano as the 10th all-time greatest heavyweight champion.[27] Fleischer wrote that Marciano was "crude, wild swinging,awkward and missed heavily. In his bout with light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, for example, he missed almost two-thirds of the 50-odd punches he threw when he had Archie against the ropes, a perfect target for the kill."

John Durant, author of The Heavyweight Champions, wrote in 1971 (pg. 123): "Critics do not rate Rocky with the great ones, like Jeffries, Johnson, Dempsey, Tunney and Louis. He never faced top fighters like they did. It was not Rocky's fault,of course,that there was a lack of talent when he was boxing. He fought them all and that is what a champion is supposed to do."

In December 1962,a The Ring poll of 40 boxing experts had Jack Dempsey rated the number-one heavyweight of all time, with Joe Louis second, Jack Johnson third and Marciano seventh.Two boxing historians, Herb Goldman and Charley Rose, and John McCallum's Survey of Old Timers (survey of a group of historians and writers) rated Marciano at number seven, number eight and number nine, respectively, of the best heavyweights of all time.[28]

In 1998, The Ring named Marciano as the sixth greatest heavyweight champion ever. In 2002, The Ring placed Marciano at number 12 on the list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.In 2003,The Ringrated Marciano number 14 on the list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. In 2005, Marciano was named the fifth greatest heavyweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization.[29] A 1977 ranking by* The Ring* listed Marciano as the greatest Italian American fighter. In 2007, on ESPN.com's list of the 50 Greatest Boxers of All Time, Marciano was ranked number 14.

Marciano holds the record with heavyweight Brian Nielsen for the longest undefeated streak by a heavyweight.. He also holds the record for being the only world heavyweight champion to go undefeated throughout his career. Willie Pep, a featherweight, had a perfect 62–0 record before he was defeated once, followed by a 72–0–1 undefeated streak. Packey McFarland was a lightweight (fighting between 1904 and 1915) who lost his first fight and then won his next 98, though he never won the lightweight title.Heavyweight champion Gene Tunney never suffered a defeat at heavyweight and retired as champion, only losing one career fight at light heavyweight.

Apart from Marciano, only a few boxers have retired as undefeated world champions throughout history.

As of 2017,Joe Calzaghe, Georgi Kandelaki, Michael Loewe, Floyd Mayweather Jr.,Sven Ottke, Harry Simon, Pichit Sitbangprachan, Edwin Valero, Andre Ward, retired with perfect records, without defeats or draws. Yet most of those fighters had asterisks next to their unbeaten records.Simon ended his career because of a prison sentence. Valero allegedly committed suicide while still an active champion.Ottke won countless dubious decisions spending all of his career within Germany Loewe and Kandelaki ended their careers due to injuries. Only the records of Calzaghe and Mayweather have been able to escape much controversy, with the latter retiring at 50–0.As of 2018,this has been surpassed by Thai boxer Chayaphol Moonsri, who at 33 years of age (as of May 2019) fights at mini-flyweight and is currently 53–0.

Marciano has the highest knockout percentage of any heavyweight champion in history (over the period of a career) with 87.76%.

In his professional career, he was only knocked down twice.The

first occurred in his first championship against Jersey Joe Walcott, 38, and the second occurred against 38 year-old Archie Moore.

On the bootleg tapes of the Beatles in session in 1965 recording "Think For Yourself", John Lennon can be heard reflecting and joking about a meeting he had with Marciano in which Marciano talked about Joe Louis.

Marciano's punch was tested and it was featured in the December 1963 issue of Boxing Illustrated: "Marciano's knockout blow packs more explosive energy than an armor-piercing bullet and represents as much energy as would be required to spot lift 1000 pounds one foot off the ground. "[30][31]

Marciano was named fighter of the year by The Ring three times. His three championship fights between 1952 and 1954 were named fights of the year by the magazine. Marciano won the Sugar Ray Robinson Award in 1952. In 2006, an ESPN poll voted Marciano's 1952 championship bout against Walcott as the greatest knockout ever. Marciano also received the Hickok Belt for top professional athlete of the year in 1952. Murray Goodman later recalled that Ray Hickok, founder of the award, also presented Rocky with a hundred miniatuare boxing gloves, which Rocky was selling a week later for $1 a pair.[32] In 1955, he was voted the second most important American athlete of the year.

Marciano is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Marciano had two children, a daughter Mary Anne (born 1952) who died on June 3, 2011, of complications from a respiratory illness[33] and a son Rocco Kevin (born 1968).

Mary Anne had several run-ins with the law in Florida in the 1980s and 1990s, getting arrested and charged with assault and armed robbery after previously serving jail time for cocaine possession.[34]

A bronze statue of Marciano was planned for a 2009 completion date in his hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, as a gift to the city by the World Boxing Council. The artist, Mario Rendon, head of the Instituto Universitario de las Bellas Artes in Colima, Mexico, was selected to sculpt the statue.[35] After years of delays in the planning stages,[36] the groundbreaking for the statue was held on April 1, 2012, on the grounds of Brockton High School.[37] The statue was officially unveiled on September 23, 2012, which was the 60th anniversary of Marciano winning the world heavyweight title.[38] A bronze statue of Marciano was also erected in Ripa Teatina, Italy,[39] to celebrate the birthplace of Marciano's father.


O'Neil Beat 1997 US Armed Forces Champion

O'Neil Beat 1997 US Armed Forces Champion

Everipedia's top ranked editor Matthew E. O'Neil issued a statement regarding Marciano's career to the company in 2020:

Rocky Marciano is one of the ten greatest heavyweights of all time.

His athletic aptitude in football and baseball combined with his outstanding conditioning gave him an edge over his opponents.

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
49 fights49 wins0 losses
By knockout430
By decision60
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
49Win49–0Archie MooreKO9 (15),1:19Sep 21, 1955Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA,The Ringand lineal heavyweight titles
48Win48–0Don CockellTKO9 (15),0:54May 16, 1955Kezar Stadium,San Francisco, California, U.S.Retained NBA,The Ringand lineal heavyweight titles
47Win47–0Ezzard CharlesKO8 (15),2:36Sep 17, 1954Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA,The Ringand lineal heavyweight titles
46Win46–0Ezzard CharlesUD15Jun 17, 1954Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA,The Ringand lineal heavyweight titles
45Win45–0Roland La StarzaTKO11 (15)Sep 24, 1953Polo Grounds, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA,The Ringand lineal heavyweight titles
44Win44–0Jersey Joe WalcottKO1 (15),2:25May 15, 1953Chicago Stadium,Chicago, Illinois, U.S.Retained NBA,The Ringand lineal heavyweight titles
43Win43–0Jersey Joe WalcottKO13 (15),0:43Sep 23, 1952Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.WonNBA,The Ring, andlineal heavyweight titles
42Win42–0Harry MatthewsKO2 (10),2:04Jul 28, 1952Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.
41Win41–0Bernie ReynoldsKO3 (10),2:21May 12, 1952Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
40Win40–0Gino BuonvinoKO2 (10),1:35Apr 21, 1952Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
39Win39–0Lee SavoldRTD6 (10),3:00Feb 13, 1952Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
38Win38–0Joe LouisTKO8 (10)Oct 26, 1951Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
37Win37–0Freddie BeshoreKO4 (10),0:50Aug 27, 1951Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
36Win36–0Rex LayneKO6 (10),0:35Jul 12, 1951Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
35Win35–0Willis ApplegateUD10Apr 30, 1951Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
34Win34–0Art HenriTKO9 (10),2:51Mar 26, 1951Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
33Win33–0Harold MitchellTKO2 (10),2:45Mar 20, 1951Auditorium,Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
32Win32–0Keene SimmonsTKO8 (10),2:54Jan 29, 1951Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
31Win31–0Bill WilsonTKO1 (10),1:50Dec 18, 1950Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
30Win30–0Ted LowryUD10Nov 13, 1950Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
29Win29–0Johnny ShkorTKO6 (10),1:28Sep 18, 1950Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
28Win28–0Gino BuonvinoTKO10 (10),0:25Jul 10, 1950Braves Field,Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
27Win27–0Eldridge EatmanTKO3 (10)Jun 5, 1950Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
26Win26–0Roland La StarzaSD10Mar 24, 1950Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
25Win25–0Carmine VingoKO6 (10),1:46Dec 30, 1949Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
24Win24–0Phil MuscatoTKO5 (10),1:15Dec 19, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
23Win23–0Pat RichardsTKO2 (8),0:39Dec 2, 1949Madison Square Garden,New York City, New York, U.S.
22Win22–0Joe DominicKO2 (10),2:26Nov 7, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
21Win21–0Ted LowryUD10Oct 10, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
20Win20–0Tommy DiGiorgioKO4 (10),2:04Sep 26, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
19Win19–0Pete LouthisKO3 (10)Aug 16, 1949New Page Arena,New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.
18Win18–0Harry HaftKO3 (10),2:21Jul 18, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
17Win17–0Don MogardUD10May 23, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
16Win16–0Jimmy EvansTKO3 (10)May 2, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
15Win15–0Jimmy WallsKO3 (10),2:44Apr 11, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
14Win14–0Artie DonatoKO1 (10),0:33Mar 28, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
13Win13–0Johnny PretzieTKO5 (10),1:46Mar 21, 1949Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
12Win12–0Gilley FerronTKO2 (6),2:21Dec 14, 1948Convention Hall,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
11Win11–0James Patrick ConnollyTKO1 (8),1:57Nov 29, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
10Win10–0Bob JeffersonTKO2 (6),2:30Oct 4, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
9Win9–0Gilbert CardoneKO1 (4),0:36Sep 30, 1948Uline Arena,Washington, D.C., U.S.
8Win8–0Bill HardemanKO1 (6)Sep 20, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
7Win7–0Humphrey JacksonKO1 (6),1:08Sep 13, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
6Win6–0Jimmy WeeksTKO1 (6),2:50Aug 30, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
5Win5–0Eddie RossKO1 (6),1:03Aug 23, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
4Win4–0Bobby QuinnKO3 (4),0:22Aug 9, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
3Win3–0John EdwardsKO1 (4),1:19Jul 19, 1948Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
2Win2–0Harry BilazarianTKO1 (4)Jul 12, 1948Auditorium,Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
1Win1–0Lee EppersonKO3 (4),0:42Mar 17, 1947Valley Arena Gardens,Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.

See also

  • List of heavyweight boxing champions

  • List of undisputed boxing champions

  • List of lineal boxing world champions

  • List of The Ring world champions


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