1953-09-24 Rocky Marciano w rsc 11 (15) Roland LaStarza, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1953-09-24 Rocky Marciano w rsc 11 (15) Roland LaStarza, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ruby Goldstein. Having gone the distance with Marciano in March 1950, losing controversially by a split decision over ten rounds, LaStarza (184¾) felt that he had a reasonable chance of dethroning the champion. Even though he was cut over the right eye in the second round, LaStarza boxed well on the retreat against the wild, clumsy Marciano (185) and was still in the fight up to the eighth. He was never going to win though and once Marciano’s heavy wallops began to take effect, LaStarza was fighting a losing battle. Brushing aside his challenger, who was now cut over both eyes, Marciano went for the finish in the 11th and dropped LaStarza with a right to the jaw. Although getting up, LaStarza was an open target. With punches coming in from all angles and with LaStarza looking as though he could suffer serious injury, the referee rescued him with 89 seconds of the session remaining. This was the first heavyweight title fight between white men for 18 years.

Although it was earlier felt that the International Boxing Club would like Marciano to make his next defence against Nino Valdes in February 1954, possibly in Miami and well inside the every six-month defence ruling, Al Weill, his manager, seemed adverse to the idea. Having recently beaten Ezzard Charles and the European champion, Heinz Neuhaus, Valdes was the number-one challenger as far as The Ring magazine ratings were concerned and seemed to be the obvious choice, but after coming back to beat Coley Wallace and Bob Satterfield it was Charles who was selected as Marciano’s next opponent during the coming summer. Valdes never did get to fight Marciano despite being his leading challenger on and off for 18 months, and while there were many who felt that the big Cuban was being blatantly avoided others argued that he was not box office.