Rocky Marciano

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Rocky Marciano
Class of 1990
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Rocky Marciano
Alias: The Brockton Blockbuster
Birth Name: Rocco Francis Marchegiano
Born: 1923-09-01
Birthplace: Brockton, Massachusetts, USA
Died: 1969-08-31 (Age:45)
Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 10½″   /   179cm
Reach: 68″   /   173cm
Boxing Record: click
Refereeing Record: click

Manager: Al Weill
Trainers: Charley Goldman & Al Columbo
Cornerman: Whitey Bimstein, Freddie Brown and Chickie Ferrera
Rocky Marciano Gallery

Rocky Marciano was born Rocco Francis Marchegiano on September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts. Marciano was World Heavyweight Champion from 1952 to 1956, and he is the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated.

Marciano was the first of six children born to Perrino and Pasqualena Marchegiano. Before dropping out of high school to make a few bucks -- as a gardener, delivery boy, laborer for the gas company, and leather tanner at the shoe factory where his father worked -- he starred in football and baseball. In 1947, Marciano had a tryout with the Chicago Cubs as a catcher, but was let go because he couldn't make the throw from home plate to second base with accuracy.

Marciano didn't take up boxing until after he was drafted into the Army in 1943. He took up the sport mainly as a way to avoid KP duty (assisting the cooks) and other less desirable activities, but he showed a natural ability and fought as an amateur following his discharge in 1946.

After being discharged, Marciano visited an old Army buddy, Joe Sarelli, in Chicago. Sarelli's father, who was connected to the fight game, agreed to assess Marciano's potential as a fighter. "His father took me to a gym in Chicago's Loop," Marciano recalled. "For three days, I hit the big bag and the little bag. I skipped rope and shadow boxed. At the end of the workouts, Joe's father sat down with me. He told me, 'Rocky, why don't you go home and forget about being a fighter. You'll too small to be a heavyweight. You'll never make it.'"

Marciano turned professional on March 17, 1947 with a third-round knockout of Lee Epperson. He then returned to the amateurs. On March 1, 1948, at the New York Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, he was on the short end of a disputed unpopular split decision to Coley Wallace in what would be the last loss of his boxing career. In his last amateur fight, Marciano outpointed George McInnis to win the New England AAU Heavyweight Championship on March 22, 1948. Marciano did not move on to the nationals because of a fractured thumb. He finished his amateur career with a record of 9-4.

Marciano won his first sixteen professional fights by knockout, but there were those who still didn't think much would become of him. Goody Petronelli, trainer of Marvin Hagler, caught one of Marciano's early fights and recalled for Sports Illustrated, "I never thought he'd make it. He was too old, almost 25. He was too short, he was too light. He had no reach. Rough and tough, but no finesse."

When the esteemed Charley Goldman, who would become Marciano's trainer, first saw Rocky, he explained to his assistant, Angelo Dundee, that although Marciano lacked height and finesse, he had great punching power. Dundee said, "Charley taught the technique that if you are short, you make yourself smaller. Charley let him bend his knees to a deep knee squat. He was able to punch from that position, come straight up from the bag and hit a heck of a shot ... It was just bang-bang-bang-bang-BANG and get him outta there."

On October 26, 1951, with 37 wins and 32 knockouts under his belt, Marciano faced former heavyweight champion Joe Louis and knocked him out in the eighth round. Louis was his boyhood idol, and Marciano cried in Louis' dressing room after the fight.

Five fights later, on September 23, 1952, Marciano got a shot at world heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott. In the thirteenth round, behind on points, Marciano knocked Walcott out with a short right to the jaw to win the championship.

Marciano's first title defense was a rematch with Walcott. On May 15, 1953, Marciano knocked Walcott out in the first round. Later that year, he made his second defense, knocking out Roland LaStarza in eleven rounds.

On June 17, 1954, Marciano defeated Ezzard Charles by a unanimous decision in a tough fight. Three months later, in their rematch, Marciano almost lost his title. In the sixth round, Charles cut Marciano's nose so badly his corner couldn't stop the bleeding. With the ring doctor watching the cut closely and considering stopping the fight, Marciano came on strong in the eighth round and knocked Charles out.

Marciano defended his title against Don Cockell on May 16, 1955, knocking him out in nine rounds. His sixth title defense was against Archie Moore on September 21, 1955. Marciano was dropped in the second round, but came back to knock Moore out in the ninth round.

On April 27, 1956, Marciano retired from boxing at the age of 31. "I thought it was a mistake when Joe Louis tried a comeback," The New York Times quoted him as saying. "No man can say what he will do in the future, but barring poverty, the ring has seen the last of me. I am comfortably fixed, and I am not afraid of the future." He said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

On August 31, 1969, the day before his 46th birthday, Marciano died in a private-plane crash near Des Moines, Iowa. He was survived by his wife of 19 years, Barbara, and their two children, Rocco Kevin and Mary Anne.

Awards and Recognition


  • Marciano once had been a client of the Charles Atlas training program.
  • During his sophomore year as a linebacker on the highly-ranked Brockton High School football team, Marciano intercepted a pass and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown.

Preceded by:
Jersey Joe Walcott
World Heavyweight Champion
NBA World Heavyweight Champion
NYSAC World Heavyweight Champion

1952 Sep 23 – 1956 Apr 27
Succeeded by:
Floyd Patterson

External Links

  • Highlight video: [1]
  • Movie and on television credits from 1953-1963: [2]
  • My Hero Project - Sports Hero: Rocky Marciano [3]
  • Official Rocky Marciano Web Site: [4]
  • An excerpt of The Rocky Marciano Show TV program: [5]
  • Rocky | The Brockton Blockbuster [6]
  • Rocky Marciano's page at the Cyber Boxing Zone [7]
  • Fights and Flights...The Crash of Rocky Marciano's Cessna [8]