2 minute read

Rocky Marciano

An Unbeatable Champion

With his defeat of Walcott, Marciano became the first white heavyweight boxing champion since 1937. He defended his title six times, winning each time. The first was in a rematch with Walcott on May 15, 1953, a bout he won handily with a knockout in the first round. He next faced his old adversary Roland LaStarza on September 24, 1953, and won in eleven rounds, putting LaStarza in the hospital for several days. LaStarza said afterwards that he wished Marciano had just knocked him out to end it instead of working him over for so long. A fifteen-round fight with former champion Ezzard Charles followed on June 17, 1954. Marciano won that match in a decision, and the two faced each other again later that year, on September 17, 1954. Charles got the better of Marciano in the sixth round, battering his nose so badly that Marciano's cornermen were unable to staunch the bleeding. The ring doctor very nearly called the fight, but Marciano rallied in the eighth round, knocking out his opponent.

Marciano's next title fight was against Don Cockell on May 16, 1955. In spite of pressure from organized crime elements to throw the fight, Marciano won it in a knockout in the ninth round, and moved on to what was to be his last title fight, on September 21, 1955. The bout took place at Yankee Stadium, and it was the third time he had defended his title there. His opponent was former light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore. Marciano knocked him out in nine rounds. The fight was witnessed by more than 400,000 people watching via the fairly new medium of television.

Awards and Accomplishments

In his nine years as a professional boxer, Marciano was never defeated, winning all of his forty-nine bouts, an astonishing forty-three of them in knockouts. He is the only heavyweight boxing champion to retire completely undefeated.
1948 Golden Glove Champion
1951 Awarded Packy McFarland Memorial Trophy by an association of Chicago boxing writers
1952 World heavyweight boxing champion
1952 Awarded Edward Neil Memorial Plaque by an association of New York boxing writers
1952, 1954 Named Fighter of the Year by Ring magazine
1990 Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame

Rocky Marciano

Although no theatrical-release films have been yet been made about the life of Rocky Marciano, the Showtime cable TV network aired a dramatic interpretation of the famous fighter's life in 1999. Called Rocky Marciano, the 100-minute program featured Jon Favreau in the title role, and the great George C. Scott in one of his final roles, as Marciano's father.

Not praised for its brilliant acting or quality of writing, Rocky Marciano nevertheless distinguished itself by presenting a reasonably accurate portrayal of the boxer's beginnings, his rise to fame, and his post-boxing years. Of particular note was a lavish, stylized treatment of Marciano's fight with Joe Louis, mournfully underscored by the music of Samuel Barber. The program was directed by Charles Winkler, and written by Winkler with William Nack, Lary Golin, and Dick Beebe.

Rocky Marciano was later released on video.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBoxingRocky Marciano Biography - First A Baseball Player, Commits To Boxing, Chronology, At The Top Of His Game