ROCKY MARCIANO - "The Brockton Blockbuster"

By Chaz Tremato

Why is it every time we stumble upon the subject of the best heavyweight ever we just shout out Muhammad Ali or Joe Louis? It seems that we leave out many other great heavyweight's like Rocky Marciano.

There is no doubt in my mind that Marciano showed to the world that he was an accomplished heavyweight with a record that still stands today at 49-0-0 with 43 knockouts. Many will say, "He fought people past their prime," or, " They weren't even big heavyweights." I'll say this much, he fought everyone there was to fight and that is what you're suppose to do when you're the champ.

Marciano had something about him many fighters don't have today. Heart. The will to win. Not for money or the fame but to show he was a great fighter. He took out and older but still very dangerous Jersey Joe Walcott and twice and possibly the best light-heavyweight ever Ezzard Charles. Their first fight was grueling as Ezzard took Marciano the distance for the first time but Marciano won a close decision. Their second fight was just as memorable as in the eighth round Rock's nose was split in two and was bleeding like a river. His trainer said, "There's no way you're going to stop that. Rock, you gotta get him! You gotta get him, or they could stop the fight!" Marciano came out swing wildly with blood oozing from his nose and ripped Ezzard to the canvas but got up at the count of 4. Then the combinations came out and Ezzard was knocked cold. Marciano kept his title.

Marciano always got out of situations that were dangerous. Just like the second fight with Ezzard Charles the first fight with Jersey Joe was quite amazing. In the middle of the fight Marciano told his trainers he couldn't see and by the end of the seventh he said it was getting worse. At this point almost any fighter today would have quit just ask Hector Camacho Jr. By the tenth round his eyes started to clear up and he started to fight and when the thirteenth round came along Marciano got Walcott to take a step back and the hardest right hand of the night slammed into Jersey Joe's face and goodnight he was knocked out. We have a new heavyweight champion of the world.

Marciano defended his title just six times before retiring on April 27, 1956. The public knew just as much as Marciano that there was no one to fight and he wasn't going to get big bucks fighting the people he had already beaten on his way up. So at the age of 33, Marciano retired undefeated. "I didn't ever really get hurt in the ring and I feel perfect physically and probably still had two or three good fights left," said Marciano. A few years later, Marciano would say of his boxing career, "I enjoyed it. I never really knew fear and I never was really hurt..I just think that in my prime, I could have fought with anybody alive.

After retirement Marciano was living with his family in Florida, he was approached by Murry Woroner, a Miami promoter wanted to have Rock and Muhammad Ali fight with a computer deciding the outcome. Marciano didn't need the money but after Ali's layoff from boxing he could sure use the cash. Marciano knew he had to get into some kind of decent shape so he started going to the gym, eating right, and trained for it like a real fight. In the end he lost over fifty pounds and had a wig fitted because he was bald at the time. Ali looked at it as just something to do and didn't put any real training time into it and looked less in shape then Marciano. Marciano was 45 and Ali was 26 at the start of filming the fight. Each round was fought in one minute segments and all the data was fed into the computer. They started and Rock and Ali agreed no head shots but body shots were doable. Marciano pounded away at the body and some say Ali got out of the ring and demanded an additional two thousand dollars. Even Woroner confessed to all this. They signed him the cash and they went back to fighting. This next story is even better and only adds to the theory that Marciano could beat Ali. Ali was throwing high jabs at the wig and knocked it off three times and Marciano dug a vicious shot to the mid-section and Ali was down! They had to separate the fighters and Marciano was game to fight but Ali apologized and the fight was done. January 20th, 1970 the fight was showed all over and the result predicted by the computer was Marciano would win by KO in the thirteenth round. Marciano died in a plane accident shortly before the release of the film. He was only 45 years old.



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