Rocky Marciano is the only unbeaten heavyweight champion in history. He packed a powerful punch, although he wasn't a huge person. He claimed to be 5'11", but was he really that tall? We examine images of other boxers and celebrities in an attempt to deconstruct it and expose its actual height. Loading...
Marciano became heavyweight champion on January 31, 1951 when he defeated Tommy Burns by TKO in eight rounds. Before becoming champ, he had lost two fights by KO and one by decision.
He held the title for nearly three years before losing it to Joe Louis. During his time as champ, he outpointed Harry Wills, knocked out Max Baer in nine rounds, and beat Primo Carnera (who was also undefeated before meeting Marciano) by TKO in 11 rounds.
After his boxing career ended, he went on to have a successful career as a manager and trainer. He died in September 1974 at the age of 48.
After all, he had the smallest reach in heavyweight boxing history, being only 5 feet 10 1/2 inches tall and weighing no more than 192 1/2 pounds. This argument is refuted by Peter Marciano. His brother Rocky Jr. told Sports Illustrated in 1995 that their father weighed between 200 and 215 pounds when he retired.
During his career, Rocky Marciano won every fight he fought by knockout or submission, posting a record of 69-0 with 59 KOs. He is considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. After retiring from boxing, he became a successful restaurateur in New York City. He died in June 1987 at the age of 73.
Weight-for-height stats are calculated using estimates for each boxer's height and weight upon retirement. Since no official records exist, statistics are calculated based on assumptions about what Marciano's height and weight might have been like at different points in his career.
For example, one study estimated his maximum possible body weight to be 220 pounds, based on the assumption that he reached its highest point sometime between 1955 and 1965. Another study estimated his minimum possible body weight to be 190 pounds, based on the assumption that he weighed no more than 200 pounds when he retired.
It was the Marciano method. He was a small-framed heavyweight—5ft 10in tall, roughly 13 1/2st, and with a 68in reach, the smallest of all heavyweight champions—who supplemented his genetics with a Fordian work ethic, an iron will, and a wrecking-ball right hand—his "Suzie Q."
At age 24, in 1946, he won the world heavyweight championship from Joe Louis by upsetting Louis' favored opponent, James J. Braddock, in 12 rounds. The following year, at 25, he lost the title to Ben Turpin. In 1949, he reclaimed the crown from Turpin. Two years later, at 27, he lost it to Louis again.
During his first two years as champion, Marciano held his own in several tough fights with fellow heavyweights. But then, in April of 1952, he met a young upstart named Muhammad Ali. The two fighters traded blows for 12 furious rounds, during which time both men suffered severe cuts and bruises. In the final round, Marciano seemed tired and slow, and when the referee stopped the fight, many believed that Marciano had won. However, the New York State Athletic Commission declared Ali the winner because they said Marciano had used up most of his allotted time fighting without throwing a single effective punch.
After his second loss as world champ, Marciano decided not to continue fighting. He retired with a record of 39-0-1.
Despite his small stature, Marciano was an excellent pound-for-pound puncher. He was physically powerful, with excellent tendon strength, and he never entered the ring in anything less than top shape. Rocky contributed striking power, a strong work rate, stamina, durability, outstanding training, and a competitive spirit to every battle. His career record of 49 wins (45 by knockout), no losses, and one draw makes him one of the most successful boxers of all time. In 1951, The Ring magazine named him boxer of the year.
During his prime, from 1946 to 1952, Rocky was considered one of the best fighters in the world. His skill and experience were so great that many boxing writers and fans believed he was actually the better fighter of the two. They called him "The Prince of Punches" and "The King of Clinches". Although he lost twice to Joe Louis, they were close fights and both bouts were very controversial. After his second loss to Louis, many people wrote off Marciano as a washed up boxer; but he rebounded from that disappointment and went on to have another highly successful career. In 1955, at the age of 30, he fought and defeated former champion Max Baer. This bout was for the World Heavyweight Championship but it is not recognized by any major sanctioning body due to its being held before the creation of this position. So, this makes it the first ever "No Holds Barred Championship Belt".