On March 17, 1947, 73 years ago, Rocky Marciano debuted against Lee Eperson in Holyoke, Massachusetts, knocking him out in the third round.
With Italian roots, Marciano who developed arms like tree trunks, was born on September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts, and was baptized Rocco Francis Marchegiano. Lean rather than porky, he was known as: “Brockton’s street butcher.”
He had an undefeated pro career with 49 wins, 43 by KO. and was crowned world heavyweight champion on September 23, 1952 by blitzing Jersey Joe Walcott.
Although he was a world heavyweight champion, Marciano was far from rich. He had to keep fighting to achieve economic security plus well being for his family. He defended his title six times. He again knocked out a shell shocked Walcott , this time in less than a round.
He won by unanimous decision over teak tough former champion Ezzard Charles and then knocked him out in eight grueling rounds, in spite of a horrendously split nose. Then English Don Cockell, a blacksmith was hammered, dented, leveled and quenched by Rocky. in September 21, 1955, Archie Moore was worn down and finally struck down in the ninth round. He`d briefly had Rocky down in the second, but couldn’t make it stick.
That was the final fight for Marciano. Seven months later, alongside his manager Al Weill and his trainer Charley Goldman, Rocky announced his retirement as undefeated champion at just 32 years of age.
On August 31, 1969, Rocky and two of his friends boarded a single-engine airplane, in Des Moines, Iowa, to fly to Chicago. They never arrived. The plane crashed into a lonely field near Newton, Iowa, all dying. It was the day before Rocky`s forty sixth birthday.