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They had one daughter, but Barbara miscarried when Rocky was away, and wasn’t able to have any more children, although the two did adopt a boy (Rocky Jr.). Rocky didn’t trust banks, either, so he hid his cash: in the ground, inside toilet tanks, in light fixtures. Rocco refused but eventually he tired of having his name misspelled and mispronounced, and allowed his name to be shortened to Rocky Marciano. He didn’t trust lawyers or accountants, and preferred to deal in cash. An obituary in his home state of Massachusetts read:
Which heavyweight boxing champion in the last century knelt on his knees to pray to St. Or the estrangement may have developed over Rocky’s running, which may have sprung from a preoccupation with money. Rocky hadn’t fought or trained for fourteen years. They all lived in a two bedroom apartment. His fanaticism about physical conditioning, along with his determination and punching power, led to an unequalled record for a heavyweight champion: forty-nine professional wins, no defeats, forty-three victories by knockout. Asked about his reaction when flying shrapnel hit his jaw and snapped off some teeth, Pierino replied, “I just spit them out and kept coming.”
Five months after Marciano’s death “The Superfight” debuted in theaters. And he could be incredibly tight with a buck. Rocco’s biggest limitation was arms so short they were almost stubby. Until Rocco put Brockton on the national map, his hometown was best known for its shoe factories. He was undersized for a heavyweight. Even as champion he came to the ring in a robe bearing the colors of BrocktonHigh School (even though he dropped out in the tenth grade). Before the fight Marciano met with a priest, who after their meeting said: “That boy is no ordinary prizefighter, he is one of the most dignified, straightforward people I have ever met in my life. The champion was Jersey Joe Walcott, a ring veteran most experts picked to beat Marciano easily. It hit Walcott’s jaw with the sound of a baseball bat. The pilot landed the plane in a field in Newton, Iowa, and rammed into a lone tree in the middle of the field. He was a near-classic example of the triumph of classic virtues (Boston Herald Traveler, September, 1969).”
Marciano’s determination in the Walcott fight showed the world the new champion’s character and personality. Anthony for her son’s recovery, promising to give up her diamond engagement ring if Rocco recovered. Then Rocky and Ali sparred 70 rounds for the camera, simulating different endings to the fight. At the time boxing was a diversion, a way to make a few bucks to help out his family. He hit his opponents on the break, after the bell, and below the belt. Rocky seemed too busy to be home.
After serving as a GI in World War II, Rocco played minor league baseball. He even had a role in a movie. Rocky always apologized, but the fouling continued.
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Marchegiano went to New York and met Al Weill, a boxing manager who tried to Americanize his name. The nicest thing about being champ, he said, “is that people like you.” Everyone but boxing experts, who found Rocky’s style too crude to suffer. Pierino’s exposure to mustard gas during combat changed his life, but not his toughness. Rocky was a brawler. He usually didn’t pay anything for his cross-country trips: no plane fare, hotel fare, or meals. He had no boxing skills. Rocco was in his twenties, when most fighters hit their peak. The man recovered, but never fought again.
(An experiment was performed on Rocky’s punching power. He was famous, successful, and well thought of.
Everett M. Anthony before his first title fight, read The Confessions of St. He would never be a classic boxer, but he worked unceasingly at improving his craft, and trained relentlessly. He golfed with priests, helped promote parish functions, even lunched with Cardinal Spellman. Life magazine called him “pure of speech” and “a clean living boy.” He was elsewhere described as “astonishingly innocent,” and “totally without deception, totally without guile.” He didn’t drink or smoke; in fact, when a host at a party for Marciano in Brockton offered the champ a drink, Rocky replied, “If you don’t mind, I’ll take an apple.”
Perhaps it was his simplicity that allowed him to retire after beating everyone worth fighting. Walcott’s experience kept Marciano off-balance and sometimes made him look ridiculous. Marciano stepped inside and beat Walcott to the punch with a short right hand that traveled maybe eight inches. His parents loved opera, ate Italian food, and had wine with dinner.
Marciano’s character was on display in his first fight with Walcott, which was a classic. Rocky slowly became a better boxer, but it was his punching power that kept him undefeated. As a boy Rocco was preoccupied with his physical condition. After the Rock retired he kept running.
Far behind on points late in the fight, Rocky needed a knockout to win. Barbara missed Rocky, and drank too much. The famous sportswriter Jimmy Cannon observed that Marciano trained “like a man practicing a holy ritual.” Before fights he would slip away to a church or chapel to pray. Rocky Marciano was champion.
Marciano died without a will. Walcott bounced off and threw a hard left hand. Ali later said that Marciano punched so hard he was sore for days after. Rocky never wrote anything down, he tried to keep track of his loans in his head, and sometimes forgot who owed him, and how much. He was invited to the White House to meet the President. He even used a coat hanger to stuff money inside curtain rods.
An investigation into the crash of the Cessna in NewtonIowa cited pilot inexperience as the cause of the crash. Several opponents quit boxing after being knocked out by Marciano. He boarded a small, single engine Cessna. Marciano spent hours at his opponent’s hospital bed, and in church praying for the man’s life. view it