The man that I am posting my blog on this week is who I consider my greatest fighter of all time. Marciano was born on the first day of August in 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts (also home to the Former Middleweight Champion of the World, Marvelous Marvin Hagler) to a large family.
Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano, Marciano was sent overseas to England to be a cook for the war in March of 1943. He came back to Fort Lewis, Washington, where he started his amateur boxing career fighting for the army in 1946. Marciano left boxing to go and try out for the cubs, but he never made it (his original sport of choice was baseball, but something went wrong in his arm.) Early in 1947, Marciano had his professional debut, knocking out Lee Epperson. Marciano went along with his life until he came back to boxing for good in 1948, knocking out Harry Bilizarian.
Marciano knocked out 16 men in a row before a man named Don Mogard went the distance with him, Marciano still winning the unanimous decision. Rocky Marciano was finally being noticed as a challenger for the heavyweight title after fighting a fight with the 34-1-2 Rex Layne in July of 1951. It was a well fought fight, and in the 6 round, Marciano hit Layne with the knockout punch, knocking his front teeth out by the gum.
After beating Freddie Beshore, he had a fight with the former heavyweight champion of the world, Joe Louis in October of 1951. The fight was a challenging one, but Marciano came out with the victory, savagly knocking Louis out of the ring in the 8th round. Louis could barely move. Early in 1952, Marciano had a fight with Lee Savold, the English Heavyweight Champion. Marciano had beaten Louis and gained his shot at the title with Jersey Joe Walcott, and he needed Savold to sharpen up for the fight with Walcott. But he had everything to lose and nothing to gain. Marciano had the flu in this fight, and the doctors advised him not to go on with the fight, but he went on anyways. Savold had a good defense, defending himself using his arms, and Marciano would hit anywhere that he could cause pain. Before the 6th round began, Savold's corner stopped the fight. After the fight, they discovered that Savold had broken his forearm.
After knocking out Gino Buonvino, Marciano had a fight with Heavyweight challenger, Bernie Reynolds. In the third round, Marciano hit Reynold's so hard that Reynolds lifted off of the ground far enough so that his heels and the back of his head would touch the ground at the same exact time. Soon after, he had a fight with Harry Matthews 81-3-5. Matthews did not last long before Marciano landed two very large pure arm lefts, dropping Matthews for the count.
Then came the fight with Jersey Joe Walcott for the heavyweight championship of the world. The fight started out with Walcott outboxing Marciano, as Marciano was always outboxed during the early rounds, and then in the middle, some kind of solvent seeped into Marciano's eyes, making him blind. Then in the later rounds, Marciano could see again, and Jersey Joe Walcott was comfortably ahead. Then in the 13th round, Marciano landed a great right hand, knocking the Champion out. They could have counted to 100 and the Champion probably still would not have been able to get up. In the early half of 1953, these two had a rematch, Marciano knocking the former champion out in the first round.
In September of 1953, Rocky Marciano had a rematch with Roland La Starza, where it was a great war, going back and forth between the two. La Starza was another man that would block a lot with his arms, and he lost the fight by a TKO in the 11th round. After the fight, he had to immediately go to surgery because all of the blood vessels in his arm had broken.
In June of 1954, Rocky Marciano had a match with the former heavyweight champion of the world, Ezzard Charles. Ezzard Charles and Marciano went through a gruesome war in the ring, and Charles went the 15 round distance with Marciano, although Marciano won the decision unanimously. Ezzard Charles is the only man ever to enter the 14th round with Rocky Marciano.
In September of 1954, they had a rematch. In the 7th round, Ezzard Charles accidentally elbowed Marciano in the nose, cutting his nose to ribbons. Marciano was literally breathing through his face. Marciano had one more round to fight, and then the fight was going to be stopped. Marciano brought out the real tiger inside of him and brutally knocked Ezzard Charles out in the 8th round.
In May of 1955, Marciano had a fight with another English Champion, Don Cockell. This fight was fixed by the mob in Cockells favor, threatening that they would kill Marciano if he won the fight. Nonetheless, Marciano battered the Englishman to the ground in the 9th round.
In September of 1955, Marciano had a fight with the Light Heavyweight Champion of the world, Archie Moore. Archie Moore was inbetween 42 and 45 years old, and yet still in his prime. He fought the best that he had ever fought in that fight, and that still wasn't enough, Marciano knocking him out in the 9th round.
In April of 1956, Marciano developed a severe back problem, so severe that he could not bend down. As tough as Marciano was, when he said that there was a problem, there was most definately a problem. Marciano retired. Marciano nearly had a comeback to fight the Heavyweight Champion, Ingemar Johanssen, but he never did. Marciano crashed a plane on September 31st of 1969, beheading him. It was the day before his 46th birthday. Marciano still remains one of the greatest fighters ever lived, and to me is the greatest fighter to ever step in the ring. Thank you very much for reading, join me next time when I blog about John L. Sullivan.