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Rocky Marciano

Photo: Mohamed Said Momo / CC BY-SA 4.0

Rocky Marciano Biography

Rocco Francis Marchegiano (1923 – 1969) best known as Rocky Marciano was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955 and held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. He was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, United States.

Son of parents with Italian ascendancy: Pierino and Pasqualena Marchegiano. Rocky, had 4 brothers. He was a very athletic young and very good at basketball. In his spare time, he liked to train in the gym. He liked it so much that he created one at home.

Marciano studied at Brockton High School, where he participated in the American football team. At 18 he moved to New York where he would meet Charlie Goldman, who influenced him to get into the Boxing world.

In 1943, Marciano was recruited by the Navy for two years, serving in Fort Lewis, Washington. During his time in the military, he would learn how to box, in fact, he would use his spare time to train hard. Rocky would begin to represent the Navy, in different amateur fights and he was crowned champion in the boxing tournament held by the Armed Forces in 1946. His amateur career ended on March 17, 1947, when Rocky, faced his first fight as a professional boxer.

His first fight was on March 17, 1947, against Lee Epperson, who would be defeated by Marciano by KO in the third round. Previously, he had won the Golden Glove, from the prestigious tournament for amateur boxers, a category in which he would fight only for a year because of his good performance.

His jump may have seemed rushed because he did not have great basics in technique or style. Although he had a monstrous punch with his right. In addition, the Italian American was very resistant mentally and physically. His multiple abilities were enough to let him compete against the best boxers.

The debut that brought him to fame was against Ronald La Starza, an Italian boxer who had been undefeated for 37 matches. The fight was held at the Madison Square Garden in New York with full attendance. The fight was epic and energetic and has remained in the memory of the spectators. Rocky ended up defeating La Starza by KO.

At age of 29, he competed in the World Heavyweight Championship against Jersey Joe Walcott, in Philadelphia. According to statistics, Walcott was a better fighter than Marciano. In the start of the fight, Walcott controlled. However, as the rounds went on, Rocky would recover his strength and managed to tie the fight. In the 13th round, the American throws a “Suzie Q” before receiving a hook from Joe. After hitting Walcott, Rocky was able to see how Walcott fell on his knees. Surprisingly Marciano was the new world heavyweight champion. This was a memorable fight. A year later they faced each other again and Marciano only needed one round to knock him out.

Years later, Marciano would face Ezzard Charles, the legendary and brilliant world champion at that time. The fight lasted 15 rounds. Charles was the first boxer who endured 15 rounds against the indomitable Rocky. A short time after, Charles would call for a rematch. However, the American boxer demonstrated why he was the best in the world and beaten him by knockout in the eighth round. Later, Rocky competed in the British and European Championship before the champion Don Cockell, who was defeated by Marciano in the ninth round. Rocky appeared in the front pages of newspapers, sports commentators and boxing experts talked about his quality.

Boxing fans expected to see the fight against Archie Moore, on September 21, 1955. During the fight, something happened that no one expected. Marciano was knocked down in the second round, but during the countdown, when everyone thought the fight was over, Rocky composed himself and resumed the fight. In the ninth round, he beat Moore.

The Italian American boxer admired and considered the boxer Joe Louis as his idol, therefore the fight against him was very important for Marciano. Rocky managed to beat the Brown Bomber in the ninth round of a heroic fight. When finishing the fight, The Rock, as Marciano was also known, could not avoid the tears because with that KO not only had managed to overcome a mythical boxer but generated a generational change in the history of boxing.

Many boxers could not understand how Marciano manages to win all the fights. For that reason, some baseless accusations about the use of some illegal element came out. The accusers claimed that he used a type of bandage on his fists that allowed him to hit harder and with more power. Before these accusations, Rocky did not hesitate to defend his name. Evidently, there never was a test and the figure of Rocky Marciano did not suffer any negative impact.

On April 27, 1956, Rocky announced his retirement from boxing influenced by his wife Bárbara Cousens. Rocky dedicated himself to investing the money earned in his boxing career.

In 1963, he was named the director of the renowned Lawrence Detective Agency. Also due to his fame, he was called to participate in a film, where he staged fights against the famous boxer Mohamed Ali.

On August 31, 1969, the plane he was flying on crashed three kilometers from Newton, Iowa. Due to this tragic accident, the undefeated boxing champion died a day before his 46th birthday.

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