By David Martinez / dmboxing.com
I have had many ask me where I rate Rocky Marciano as a heavyweight champion. Could he have beaten Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson?
The answer is no to Johnson, Dempsey, and Ali; they would have beaten him. And the answer is yes to Frazier, Holmes, and Tyson; he would have beaten them. Also, had he met Joe Louis in his prime, I pick Louis to win.
I rate Marciano #5 of my all time heavyweight champions and rate him #21 on my list of the greatest boxers of all time. His first fights with Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles were as grueling as any heavyweight championship fight in the past seventy five years, including the Frazier vs. Ali and Norton vs. Holmes fights. My top ten list of heavyweight champions who were at the height, peak, prime, pinnacle of their careers (in order) are: Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Gene Tunney, James Corbett, Larry Holmes, Jim Jeffries, and Ezzard Charles.
Marciano displayed indestructibility, durability, stamina, pure perseverance, determination and the strongest will to win of any heavyweight champion.
He was a fighter that would pivot towards any direction his opponent would turn and then would apply pressure by throwing punches to every part of the body (i.e.) head, arms, chest.
On March 24, 1950 his bout with unbeaten Roland La Starza (37-0) was the closet fight of his career, scoring a knockdown to win a close 10 round split decision.
A fierce sixth round knockout over favorite and once beaten Rex Layne (34-1-2) on July 12, 1951 propelled Marciano as a serious contender for the heavyweight title. But first he would fight a 37 year old Joe Louis (66-2) later in 1951. Marciano was listed as 13-to-10 underdog going into the match but would win by knockout in 6 rounds in a bout that would retire the great Joe Louis from the ring.
On September 23, 1952 in his bid to win the world heavyweight championship, behind on all scorecards (7-5, 7-4-1, 8-4) going into the 13th round, he knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott with the single best right hand punch in heavyweight boxing history.
In rematch bouts against, Walcott, Charles, and La Starza, they resulted in brutal knockouts.
His two final bouts were destructions of Don Cockell and Archie Moore; he pummeled and pounded both to the canvas by knockout wins.
He was the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated (49-0 / 43 by KO), holding the title from September 23, 1952 to April 27, 1956. His knockout percentage was 87.75 percent which ranks as one of the highest in heavyweight history.
Marciano died in a plane crash on August 31, 1969, on the eve of his 46th birthday. He was a passenger onboard a small private plane that headed into bad weather conditions from Chicago to Des Moines, Iowa.
I have watched footage of many old fights over the years and I rate Rocky Marciano fights to be one of my favorites to watch!