Yes, of course, I once watched a movie about Rocky with Sylvester Stallone in the title role. But without being an expert in boxing, he did not even imagine that there was a real Rocky – Rocky Marciano: World Heavyweight Champion; the only boxer in the world who has not suffered a single defeat in his career.
American boxer-professional, world champion in heavyweight from 1952 to 1956. I conducted 49 fights in the professional ring and won in all, and in 43 matches – by knockout. This is still an unsurpassed achievement. Deserved the nickname “Bull in gloves” for the incredible power of monstrous short strokes (“six-inch”), which for the first time in their kind of sport worked for several hours, standing on the neck in the water. “Why dance with the opponent 10 rounds, if you can knock him out in the first?”
On the last day of the summer of 1969, the weather was magnificent, and dozens of people watched with an undisguised interest the small plane that was floating in the high blue sky. It is understandable, because the plane, describing smooth circles over a huge corn field, ruled Rocky Marciano, the pride of America and its living legend. Suddenly the plane flinched violently and, several times turning in the air, to the horror of the people watching him, fell to the ground with a stone.
So absurdly broke the life of one of the brightest boxers of the twentieth century. A few hours later the sad news spread around the world, and not one boxer expert sighed sorrowfully, remembering this man who became a legend during his lifetime.
Yes, some experts evaluated his talent below the talents of no less legendary Joe Louis and Cassius Clay, and such a serious boxing expert as Ted Carroll generally put Rocky only in ninth place on his list of great champions. And then with a lot of reservations.
Perhaps, in some ways they are right, and yet there is one, but very big “but”. Whatever is said about his style, Rocky Marciano to this day remains the only champion in the world who has not suffered in the professional ring a single defeat. Forty Nine times he went to the glory that brought him the glory of the stadium and forty-nine times the referees raised his right hand, indescribable indescribable horror on all opponents without exception.
And only six of them managed to escape from the ring on their own feet, while Rocky himself had only been knocked down twice, although he himself experienced the power of his terrible blows by the “black bomber” himself, as was called Joe Louis. It is no accident that on the license plate of Marciano’s car it was written: NOCUT! Yes, perhaps he really did not have the filigree technique and plasticity that the Joe Louis and Cassius Clay differed, but by the power of will he was not equal, and by this index he was superior to all these great, even taken together.
Rocky Marcelgiano, as the real name of the future champion sounded, was born September 1, 1923 in Brockton in a fairly large family of an Italian emigrant. Father Rocky was disabled, and the boy from an early age had to learn what is needed and hard physical labor. What he did not do, so that the family somehow could make ends meet! He poured ice on the sidewalks, worked as a dishwasher in bars, dug the ground and laid gas pipes.
Because, probably, and grew up, despite the constant need and not very good food, very strong and, most importantly, strong-willed guy. And where others despaired and lowered their hands, Rocky continued, as if nothing had happened, to carry the burden beyond his children’s shoulders. Nobody ever heard a single complaint from him, not a word of despair, and the baseball coach to whom Rocky came, immediately appreciated the talent of the boy who appeared to him.
Rocky became one of the most notable figures on the baseball field, he was predicted a great future, but on one of the training sessions he broke his arm, and with baseball he had to say goodbye. And what a pitcher with a broken arm could be! But the very next day he was approached by a boxing coach, Jean Caldzhano, who was watching Rocky and invited him to his section. “There’s something in you, man. “He said.” Come to the club tomorrow, how I want to find an Italian boy and make him the world champion. ”
He had never seen Rocky in the ring, but with an expert’s expert glance he immediately saw huge makings in this guy who knew no obstacles. To everything else, he had long wanted very much to “bring into the people” an Italian fellow countryman.
Rocky liked boxing, but he really did not have time to do it. In 1943, he was drafted into the navy and sent to Britain, and there he unexpectedly began to compete in boxing competitions. True, the competition, those fights could only be called with a big stretch.
And it happened so. One fine evening, who never climbed the first in the fight and learned Caldiano’s lessons well, Rocky finished the drunken guy who was adherent to him, and with interest watched their fight, the pub owner immediately invited a fearless, skillfully fisted guy to come to him on weekends. “We,” he explained, “are fighting for money and you will be able to make good money”.
So for the first time in his life, Rocky began to fight in the eyes of Lublika, whom he immediately fell in love with. Even then, the spectators were impressed by his will-not knowing obstacles. He fought so, as if the life of all his relatives depended on it, and won victories even over those who owned the technique of boxing better than him. And, oddly enough, but it was in the pub, where Rocky was teasing the drunken audience, began to form his style of fighting in a low stand in close combat. Over time, it will begin to bend so low that it will be almost impossible to get into it.
After being fired from the fleet, Rocky, who dreamed of a boxing career, fell into the hands of a hardened businessman from Al Vale’s box office. He tried to glory, and very soon the name of the “nice guy from Brockton” became well known to boxing fans, and his rating began to grow like a leap. I tried, and he was a “nice guy” who smashed his opponents to pieces.
He trained a lot and, realizing that long and medium distances were not for him, he focused all his attention on staging his famous short blows, which in time had reached terrible strength. He worked indefinitely on them in the hall, and then another two hours in … water. To all who saw him in the business, he resembled a bull terrier who knew no pity for himself, not to mention his opponents.
Rocky led an ascetic way of life, his willingness to sacrifice for the sake of victory, even by life itself, turned him into a formidable force for any opponent. And when he went to battle for the boxing throne, on which Joe Walcott was seated, the stakes were nine to five in favor of Marciano. The champion was older than Rocky by nine years.
Realizing that he could not stand fifteen rounds with a young guy in his prime, he immediately went ahead, intending to end the fight already in the first rounds. In the second round, after a very strong blow to the eye, Rocky went down, and many already began to regret that they put money on the “nice guy from Brockton.” And when Joe put it the second time, no one in the hall believed that Rocky would last till the end of the fight. However, he rose and continued the fight.
In the ninth round, the champion very painfully touched his elbow on an old wound on his head, and the situation of Rocky complicated even more. Any other boxer, experiencing a terrible pain in his head, of course, would stop the fight. But not Rocky! He seemed to be made of another test and not only did not flinch, but thanks to his unyielding courage he managed in the same round to reverse the course of the fight. When, in the ninth round, he smiled for the first time since the beginning of the battle, an approving roar of the people who had put his foot on him came through the hall.
It seems that this guy was not so easy to knock out of the saddle and they still had chances to win their wagers! In the eleventh round, the battle reached its climax, the boxers did not spare each other, and in one of the attacks the champion tore Rocky’s nose and inflicted very sensitive blows to his eyes, which immediately swam. But Rocky did not leave the ring this time, as his already exhausted rival hoped for. But how he brought that round to the end, he could not then explain himself. Filled with blood, he almost did not see Joe and fought simply by instinct.
However, after the break, when the seconds brought him into a relative order and the eye drops began to act, Rocky immediately began to dictate his will and, continually pounding the champion into the corner, was preparing his final blow in this awesome battle. In the end, with his horrific power, the right hook sent Walcott to the floor. Rocky bleeding blood looked at the judge, and he solemnly declared him the nineteenth world champion. Almost an hour the doctors brought to mind Walcott, and when he finally woke up, he asked in amazement: “What was that? Tornado?”
Needless to say, after this victory, fame, and with it, Marciano’s monetary fees began to grow like a snowball, and yet his wife, along with his mother almost on his knees, begged him to leave his terrible profession. But Marciano, however much he loved his loved ones, boxing loved even more and did not intend to spare their nerves. It got to the point where he received a letter from his wife in one of the most beautiful days for himself. “Stop worrying us,” she wrote. “Our family is falling apart, and you are the reason. We need a son and a husband, and not money for his mutilated body! ”
It was not there! Rocky also did not think to hang gloves on a nail. No less horror, and with him, and great enthusiasm, and caused his fight with Joe Louis, who wished to return to the ring and thoroughly studied the tactics of the champion. Of course, it was not the same Joe Louis, and yet their fight was one of the most stubborn in the career of Marciano.
One can only guess what a unique spectacle would be their fight about ten years ago, when Joe Louis was at the zenith of his glory. But alas, sport, like history, does not know the subjunctive mood. Whatever it was, it was impossible to win Joe without a fight even now, and time after time his ruthless jabs reached their goal. Up to this point, no one could resist this formidable weapon of the former champion, but, to the amazement of the public and of Joe himself, Rocky continued to fight.
Until the end of the fight, Rocky never managed to find a worthy defense against the jabs that had exhausted him, but he not only stood under the hail of strikes striking him, but he managed to send the once great Joe into a deep knockout! However, he came home in such a way that his own sister did not recognize him and wanted to call the police to save her from the bloody bully who came to her house.
Almost a month, Rocky did not go out into the street, so as not to frighten his kind of passers-by, and put himself in order. But even more terrible was his meeting, a real battle, with former world champion Ezzard Charles. Charles fought desperately, he managed to tear Rocky’s nostrils, and two of them bleed blood from them.
But when the referee, having compassion on Marciano, already wanted to suspend the fight, he asked him for two more rounds. The judge, who had heard about the extraordinary strength of the will of the Italian, agreed, and already in the next three minutes, Charles was almost dead from the ring. And all the other battles Marciano passed with the same cruelty and very often ended in profuse bloodshed.
And this despite the fact that Rocky was never a gross and non-technical boxer. By no means! He understood the technology, but his very nature required just such fights: open and uncompromising. And when the American engineer Mauri Warner decided to find out with the help of a computer, who was the strongest in professional boxing in the whole history of his existence, the soulless machine, having deduced to the finale of Rocky Marciano and Cassius Clay, gave the victory to the first!
Despite his cruelty in the ring, behind his ropes, Rocky was a good-natured and very open person. He willingly told the journalists who had taken him hundreds of interviews about his shortcomings and miscalculations, but no one heard from him a single disrespectful word to other boxers, whom he spoke only well.
And when Kapmino Vinghi, whom Rocky severely knocked out, almost did not regain consciousness for almost three days and doctors began to talk about his disability, Rocky, who himself knew all the pleasures of poverty and clearly imagined that he was threatening the boxer who was out of work, generously gave him his entire the fee for the battle he won.
Rocky Marciano was just crazy in training. He trained 365 days a year and at the same time very intensively. Every morning, Rocky Marciano ran a minimum of 10 kilometers over rough terrain (especially liked running in the “hill”). Closer to the battle, he increased his mileage and ran for 20-25 kilometers. Thanks to this Rocky Marciano was simply incredibly hardy, sometimes saying that he was like a “bull in gloves.”
Rocky liked to work out blows in the water. He stood up to his neck in the water and for a long time inflicted various blows. The special talent of Rocky Marciano was that he was able to inflict a huge number of violent blows. At the time when he was dealt one blow, he was able to deal ten strikes in a row.
Marciano carefully prepared for each battle. For 3 months before the fight, he retired from his family. He lived in another house and thought only of the fight, followed his diet and his weight. A week before the fight, Rocky did not receive calls, did not respond to letters, did not meet with anyone, did not go anywhere by car and did not even greet anyone by the hand.
In battle, he was obsessed. For the sake of victory, Rocky, without hesitation, could sacrifice life.
By this time, he had already parted with Al Vale, who had imagined too much of himself. He invited the manager to the restaurant and, having ordered his favorite fish, told him that he was canceling the contract. Al, who was very reluctant to part with the source of income that the famous boxer was for him, tried to resist. However, Rocky, having shown amazing diplomaticity, nevertheless persuaded him to part in an amicable way. In the end, the manager not only accepted, but also named Rocky “the best guy he ever dealt with.”
Yes, he was not only the “best guy”, but also a great boxer. Five times in a row, Marciano defended his title, and no one could even get close to the cherished Olympus.
Having won the world champion title for the fifth time in April 1956, Rocky, to the indescribable joy of his entire family, announced his retirement, becoming the second champion, after Gene Tunney, voluntarily leaving the ring. There were many reasons for his rather early departure for a professional, and, as always happens in such cases, the most incredible versions were put forward. But, apparently, Rocky was just tired of boxing and the endless wailing of his wife.
Yes, and money for him for those times was already quite a lot: after all, and on his account lay a round capital of four-odd million dollars. Rocky tried to do everything to increase it, and in this regard showed the complete opposite of the Marciano-boxer. In financial transactions, he never went ahead and measured more than seven times before finally cutting off. In this he was strikingly different from Joe Louis, who squandered all his fortune and never knew how to earn the money he earned in the ring.
True, his family and Rocky and now seen quite rarely, traveling on business from end to end America. But his wife was calm, because after the departure of Rocky from the ring, no one had ever seen him with a broken face. He bought himself a large ranch and was very fond of flying over it on his plane. And of course, the great boxer would still enjoy his serene life for a long time if it was not for that tragic August morning when the great and invincible Rocky left for the legend …