Rocky Marciano

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Rocky Marciano
Rocky Marciano Postcard 1953.jpg
Rocky Marciano, c.1953
Statistics
Real nameRocco Francis Marchegiano
Nickname(s)
  • The Brockton Blockbuster
  • The Rock from Brockton
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height5 ft 10+12 in (179 cm) [1] [nb 1]
Reach68 in (173 cm) [1]
NationalityAmerican
Born(1923-09-01)September 1, 1923
Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedAugust 31, 1969(1969-08-31) (aged 45)
Newton, Iowa, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights49
Wins49
Wins by KO43
Losses0

Rocco Francis Marchegiano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969; Italian pronunciation:  [markeˈdʒaːno] ), better known as Rocky Marciano ( /mɑːrsiˈɑːn/ , Italian:  [marˈtʃaːno] ), 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 finished his career undefeated. [2] His six title defenses were against Jersey Joe Walcott (from whom he had taken the title), Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell and Archie Moore.

Contents

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. [3] Marciano remains the only fighter to have stopped every opponent he has ever faced for the world heavyweight title, and holds the highest knockout-to-win ratio in world heavyweight title fights at 85.7%. [nb 2] [4] His career knockout-to-win percentage of 87.8% remains one of the highest in heavyweight boxing history.

Early life

Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano, he was 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) [5] 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 ditchdigger, railroad layer [6] and shoemaker. He was 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. [7]

Amateur career

Marciano's amateur record was 8–4. [8] 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". [9] [10] 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. [11] 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. [12]

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. [13] 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, could not pronounce it, so Marciano's handler, Al Weill, suggested they create a pseudonym. The first suggestion was Rocky Mack, which Marciano rejected, deciding to go with the more Italian-sounding "Marciano". [14]

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.

Marciano vs Vingo

Three weeks after the Phil Muscato fight, Marciano fought Carmine Vingo (16–1–0) by a sixth-round knockout in New York. Carmine was a promising prospect who was 16-1, with his loss controversial. Marciano was 24-0 at the time of the fight. The winner would be declared the white hope in the division. Rocky Marciano dropped Vingo in the first and second round, but by the fifth Vingo was gaining momentum. At 1:46 in the sixth round Marciano knocked out Vingo with a right uppercut. [15] Vingo was unconscious and taken to the hospital on a stretcher, as there were no ambulances available. Vingo was given his final rites by a priest and had 50/50 odds to survive. Vingo pulled through and survived, befriending Marciano later on in life.

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. [16] 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 in 1954 Rocky Marciano - 10 April 1954 - St. Paul Armory Wrestling Program.jpg
Marciano in 1954

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. [17] Marciano won the first fight, held at Yankee Stadium on June 17, 1954, on points. Referee Ruby Goldstein scored the bout 8-5-2 in rounds for the champion. Judge Artie Aidala scored it 9-5-1 for Marciano while judge Harold Barnes had it 8-6-1. Marciano won the return fight 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. [18] 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. [19]

After his retirement, Marciano entered the world of television, first hosting a weekly boxing show on TV in 1961 and later appearing in the Combat! episode "Masquerade". For a brief period, he worked as a troubleshooting referee in wrestling (Marciano was a good wrestler in high school). He continued as a referee and boxing commentator in boxing matches for many years. He was also active in business as a partner and vice president of Papa Luigi Spaghetti Dens, a San Francisco-based franchise company formed by Joe Kearns and James Braly. He built a custom home at 641 NW 24 Street in Wilton Manors, Florida, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. The house still stands as of 2018.

In late July 1969, shortly before his death, Marciano participated in the filming of The Superfight: Marciano vs. Ali . The two boxers were filmed sparring, then the film was edited to match a computer simulation of a hypothetical fight between them, each in his prime. It aired on January 20, 1970, with one version having Marciano winning and the second version having Ali winning. [20]

Death

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 organized crime figure Lew Farrell. [22] Marciano, Belz and Farrell were killed on impact. [22] [23] [nb 3]

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.[ citation needed ]

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. [26]

Legacy

Marciano with Boston Mayor John F. Collins (center-right) and singer Jimmy Durante (right), circa 1968 Unidentified man, boxer Rocky Marciano, Mayor John F. Collins, and singer Jimmy Durante (10559562993).jpg
Marciano with Boston Mayor John F. Collins (center-right) and singer Jimmy Durante (right), circa 1968

In 1971, Nat Fleischer, a boxing historian 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 (p. 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 Ring rated 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 John L. Sullivan and Brian Nielsen for the longest undefeated streak by a heavyweight. [ citation needed ]. 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 temporarily halted his career during 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.[ citation needed ]

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.

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
49 fights49 wins0 losses
By knockout430
By decision60
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
49Win49–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Archie Moore KO9 (15), 1:19Sep 21, 1955 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA, NYSAC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles
48Win48–0 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Don Cockell TKO9 (15), 0:54May 16, 1955 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, California, U.S.Retained NBA, NYSAC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles
47Win47–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Ezzard Charles KO8 (15), 2:36 Sep 17, 1954 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA, NYSAC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles
46Win46–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Ezzard Charles UD15 Jun 17, 1954 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA, NYSAC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles
45Win45–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Roland La Starza TKO11 (15)Sep 24, 1953 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Polo Grounds, New York City, New York, U.S.Retained NBA, NYSAC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles
44Win44–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Jersey Joe Walcott KO1 (15), 2:25May 15, 1953 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.Retained NBA, NYSAC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles
43Win43–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Jersey Joe Walcott KO13 (15), 0:43Sep 23, 1952 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.Won NBA, NYSAC, The Ring , and lineal heavyweight titles
42Win42–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Harry Matthews KO2 (10), 2:04Jul 28, 1952 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.
41Win41–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bernie ReynoldsKO3 (10), 2:21May 12, 1952 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
40Win40–0 Flag of Italy.svg Gino BuonvinoKO2 (10), 1:35Apr 21, 1952 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
39Win39–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Lee Savold RTD6 (10), 3:00Feb 13, 1952 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
38Win38–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Joe Louis TKO8 (10)Oct 26, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
37Win37–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Freddie BeshoreKO4 (10), 0:50Aug 27, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
36Win36–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Rex Layne KO6 (10), 0:35Jul 12, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
35Win35–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Willis Applegate UD10Apr 30, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
34Win34–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Art HenriTKO9 (10), 2:51Mar 26, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
33Win33–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Harold MitchellTKO2 (10), 2:45Mar 20, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
32Win32–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Keene SimmonsTKO8 (10), 2:54Jan 29, 1951 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
31Win31–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bill WilsonTKO1 (10), 1:50Dec 18, 1950 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
30Win30–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Ted Lowry UD10Nov 13, 1950 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
29Win29–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Johnny ShkorTKO6 (10), 1:28Sep 18, 1950 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
28Win28–0 Flag of Italy.svg Gino BuonvinoTKO10 (10), 0:25Jul 10, 1950 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Braves Field, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
27Win27–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Eldridge EatmanTKO3 (10)Jun 5, 1950 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
26Win26–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Roland La Starza SD10Mar 24, 1950 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
25Win25–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Carmine VingoKO6 (10), 1:46Dec 30, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
24Win24–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Phil MuscatoTKO5 (10), 1:15Dec 19, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
23Win23–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Pat RichardsTKO2 (8), 0:39Dec 2, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
22Win22–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Joe DominicKO2 (10), 2:26Nov 7, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
21Win21–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Ted Lowry UD10Oct 10, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
20Win20–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Tommy DiGiorgioKO4 (10), 2:04Sep 26, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
19Win19–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Pete LouthisKO3 (10)Aug 16, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg New Page Arena, New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.
18Win18–0 Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg Harry Haft KO3 (10), 2:21Jul 18, 1949 Flag of the United States.svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
17Win17–0 Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg Don MogardUD10May 23, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
16Win16–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Jimmy EvansTKO3 (10)May 2, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
15Win15–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Jimmy WallsKO3 (10), 2:44Apr 11, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
14Win14–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Artie DonatoKO1 (10), 0:33Mar 28, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
13Win13–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Johnny PretzieTKO5 (10), 1:46Mar 21, 1949 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
12Win12–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Gilley FerronTKO2 (6), 2:21Dec 14, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
11Win11–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg James Patrick ConnollyTKO1 (8), 1:57Nov 29, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
10Win10–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bob JeffersonTKO2 (6), 2:30Oct 4, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
9Win9–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Gilbert CardoneKO1 (4), 0:36Sep 30, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Uline Arena, Washington, D.C., U.S.
8Win8–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bill HardemanKO1 (6)Sep 20, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
7Win7–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Humphrey JacksonKO1 (6), 1:08Sep 13, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
6Win6–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Jimmy WeeksTKO1 (6), 2:50Aug 30, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
5Win5–0 Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg Eddie RossKO1 (6), 1:03Aug 23, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
4Win4–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Bobby QuinnKO3 (4), 0:22Aug 9, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
3Win3–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg John EdwardsKO1 (4), 1:19Jul 19, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
2Win2–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Harry BilazarianTKO1 (4)Jul 12, 1948 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
1Win1–0 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Lee EppersonKO3 (4), 0:42Mar 17, 1947 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Valley Arena Gardens, Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.

See also

Notes

  1. Sources vary on his height, with some listing him as 5 ft 10+14 in (1.78 m). [2]
  2. Shared with Joe Louis.
  3. When rescuers reached the crashed aircraft, they saw Marciano's body still strapped in a seat. Upon hearing what had happened, people in boxing remembered what was said about Stanley Ketchel after Ketchel had been shot dead: "Start counting ten over him. He'll get up." [23]

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Archie Moore was an American professional boxer and the longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time. He had one of the longest professional careers in the history of the sport, competing from 1935 to 1963. Nicknamed "The Mongoose", and then "The Old Mongoose" in the latter half of his career, Moore was a highly strategic and defensive boxer, with a strong chin and unusual resilience. As of December 2020, BoxRec ranks Moore as the third greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time. He also ranks fourth on The Ring's list of "100 greatest punchers of all time". Moore was also a trainer for a short time after retirement, training Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and James Tillis.

Floyd Patterson American boxer

Floyd Patterson was an American professional boxer who competed from 1952 to 1972, and twice reigned as the world heavyweight champion between 1956 and 1962. At the age of 21, he became the youngest boxer in history to win the title, and was also the first heavyweight to regain the title after losing it. As an amateur, he won a gold medal in the middleweight division at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

Jersey Joe Walcott American boxer

Arnold Raymond Cream, best known as Jersey Joe Walcott, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1930 to 1953. He held the world heavyweight title from 1951 to 1952, and broke the record for the oldest man to win the title, at the age of 37. That record would eventually be broken in 1994 by 45-year-old George Foreman. Despite holding the world heavyweight title for a relatively short period of time, Walcott was regarded among the best heavyweights in the world during the 1940s and 1950s. BoxRec ranked him among top 10 heavyweights from 1944 to 1953, placing him among five best at the conclusion of each year besides the debut one.

Ezzard Charles American boxer

Ezzard Mack Charles, known as the Cincinnati Cobra, was an American professional boxer and World Heavyweight Champion. Known for his slick defense and precision, he is often considered the greatest light heavyweight boxer of all time. As of May 2021, BoxRec ranks Charles as the second greatest boxer of all time, pound for pound, behind Floyd Mayweather Jr. Charles defeated numerous Hall of Fame fighters in three different weight classes. Charles retired with a record of 95 wins, 25 losses and 1 draw.

During the 1950s, a couple of relatively new developments changed the world: World War II had only been over for five years when the 1950s began, and television was beginning to make a major impact internationally. In boxing, changes connected to these developments could be seen too, as boxers who fought at the 1940s conflict returned to their homes and many of them were back in the ring. Television producers were in love with sports, which provided the viewer with an opportunity to observe sporting events live, and boxing was not the exception to the rule; many television networks began to feature fights live during the weekends, and the Gillette Friday Night Fights proved to be one of the most popular boxing television series in American history.

Sam Langford Canadian boxer

Samuel Edgar Langford, known as the Boston Tar Baby, Boston Terror, and Boston Bonecrusher, was a Black Canadian boxing standout of the early part of the 20th century. Called the "Greatest Fighter Nobody Knows", by ESPN, many boxing historians consider Langford to be one of the greatest fighters of all time. Originally from Weymouth Falls, a small community in Nova Scotia, Canada. He was known as "The Boston Bonecrusher", "The Boston Terror", and his most famous nickname, "The Boston Tar Baby". Langford stood 5 ft 6+12 in (1.69 m) and weighed 185 lb (84 kg) in his prime. He fought from lightweight to heavyweight and defeated many world champions and legends of the time in each weight class. Considered a devastating puncher even at heavyweight, Langford was rated No. 2 by The Ring on their list of "100 greatest punchers of all time". One boxing historian described Langford as "experienced as a heavyweight James Toney with the punching power of Mike Tyson". He has been ranked among BoxRec's 10 best heavyweights in the world fourteen times, and was ranked No.1 from 1910 to 1913. He was also ranked as the best middleweight in 1907 and fifth best welterweight in 1903.

Harold Johnson (boxer) American boxer

Harold Johnson was a professional boxer. He held the World Light Heavyweight Championship from 1962 to 1963.

John "Tiger" Linwood Fox, or Tiger Jack Fox as he was better known, was a colorful, hard punching, American light heavyweight boxer. Fox fought from 1928 to 1950.

Duilio Spagnolo was an Italian boxer who was a heavyweight contender during the Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott and Rocky Marciano eras.

Donald John Cockell was an English boxer. He fought for most of his career as a light-heavyweight and became the British and European champion at that weight. Later in his career he moved up to heavyweight and held the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. He is best remembered for fighting against Rocky Marciano for the world heavyweight championship. Cockell defeated a number of top heavyweights in his career, including Roland La Starza, Harry Matthews (twice), Tommy Farr, Freddie Beshore, Johnny Arthur, Johnny Williams and Uber Bacilieri. In his earlier incarnation as a Light Heavyweight he defeated top contenders such as Nick Barone, Albert Yvel, Lloyd Marshall and Albert Finch, holding regional titles in both weight incarnations.

<i>The Super Fight</i>

The Super Fight was a fictional boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali shot in 1969 and released in 1970. At the time, Ali and Marciano were the only undefeated heavyweight champions in history and fans often debated who would win had they met in their primes. Ali and Marciano were filmed sparring for 75 one-minute rounds producing several possible scenarios for a genuine fight, with the result claimed to have been determined using probability formulas entered into a computer.

Roland La Starza was an American boxer and actor. Originally from the Van Nest section of the Bronx, La Starza fought 66 professional bouts from July 7, 1947 to May 8, 1961. He won 57 of the fights, 27 by knockout.

Rex Gessel Layne was a former heavyweight professional boxer. Sometimes termed the "Lewiston Larruper," the top rated Layne never fought for the heavyweight title, but notched victories over such greats as future world champions Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott.

Lee Savold American boxer

Lee Savold was an American heavyweight boxer who held the British and European (EBU) version of the World Heavyweight championship between 1950 and 1951 and was a leading contender in the 1940s and early 1950s. During his career he fought storied Heavyweight Champions Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Savold was inducted into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Mike Mollo American boxer

Mike Mollo is an American former professional boxer in the heavyweight division. A fan favorite for his aggressive style in Chicago, Mollo is perhaps best known for his bouts with Polish fighters Art Binkowski, Artur Szpilka, Andrew Golota, and Krzysztof Zimnoch. He was managed by Darnell Nicholson.

Kid Lavigne American boxer

George Henry "Kid" Lavigne was boxing's first widely recognized World Lightweight champion, winning the vacant title on June 1, 1896.

Carmine Vingo (boxer), was a world ranked heavyweight boxer best remembered for his career-ending bout with future world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, cumulating in his knockout and resulting brain injury.

References

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Bibliography

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Jersey Joe Walcott
The Ring heavyweight champion
September 23, 1952 – April 27, 1956
Retired
Vacant
Title next held by
Floyd Patterson
World heavyweight champion
September 23, 1952 – April 27, 1956
Retired
Records
Preceded by
Max Baer
Age 50
Youngest world heavyweight champion
to have died
Age 45

August 31, 1969 – December 30, 1970
Succeeded by
Sonny Liston
c. age 38 to 40