Rocky Marciano Statue Winds Up In Boston Not Hometown

29.11.07 – Matthew Hurley: There is a bit of controversy brewing over the proposed statue of legendary heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. During its annual meetings conducted earlier this month in the Philippines the World Boxing Council voted to erect a statue of Marciano in either Boston or Rocky’s hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts. It has now been determined that Boston will be the site and Marciano’s family is not particularly thrilled with the decision..

“If you could bring him back to life, there’s no question,” Peter Marciano the ‘Brockton Blockbuster’s’ brother told the Boston Herald. “If Rocky had his choice, the first place he’d want it was Brockton. To give you a good story, I think it was the third fight of his career, they announced ‘Rocky Marciano from Boston’ and he told the announcer, ‘I’m not from Boston. I’m from Brockton.’”

Marciano compiled a career record of 49-0 with 43 KOs. His undefeated mark upon retirement remains one of sports most iconic achievements. His last fight was on September 21, 1955 when he knocked out Archie Moore in the ninth round at Yankee Stadium in New York. He died in a plane crash in 1969.

According to WBC President Jose Suliman Rocky is not simply associated with Brockton. “Most people think differently,” he told the Brockton Enterprise. “Rocky does not belong to Brockton. He belongs to the world.”

That’s all well and good, but why create this mini-controversy by putting the statue a mere hundred miles from the fighter’s birth place? It’s all probably a non-issue to most people but not to those who take pride in the fact that the late heavyweight great came from their hometown. It’s certainly not as egregious as Philadelphia erecting a stature of a fictional heavyweight champion in Rocky Balboa rather than favorite son Joe Frazier but there is that fierce sense of territoriality when it comes to beloved sports icons.

“If they put it in Boston, would I still be honored and proud? Absolutely,” Peter Marciano Jr., Rocky’s nephew, opined to boxing writer George Kimball. “But Rocky was from Brockton, this is where he grew up, this is his community and these are his people.”

Another person who feels slighted is trainer Goody Petronelli, who guided Brockton’s other famous fighter Marvin Hagler to middleweight supremacy.

“I was shocked when I heard that they planned to build the statue in Boston. Rocky was born here, he lived here, trained here and he’s part of Brockton history. Everyone I’ve talked to feels the same way.”

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