Rocky Marciano Essay, Research Paper
Rocky fought 12 amateur fights. Unlike most fighters, who fight in local clubs and gyms as they learn their craft, he didn t have anyone to guide him other than his childhood friend Allie Columbo. As a result, his approach to amateur fighting was reckless; entering in various tournaments, always against more experienced fighters. The result was a less than perfect record of 8 wins and 4 losses.
However, even so he advanced to the finals in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Championship Tournament in Portland Oregon, won the Golden Gloves Tournament in Lowell to represent New England in the All-East Championship Tournament, and won the AAU Heavyweight Championship during the Olympic Trials held in Boston in 1948. Damage to his hand prevented him having a chance at fighting in the Olympics.
It s been difficult to put together Marciano s amateur record, but here s what I can find.
1st Amateur fight: April 15th, 1946. Rocky was on furlough from the army at this time and in terrible shape for a fighter. He was smoking cigarettes and eating home cooking as fast as he could shovel it in. He signed up to fight for $30, the promoter assuring Allie Colombo that he d fight someone close to his experience level.
But, when they arrived at the amateur boxing show, the promoter informed them he only had one heavyweight available to match Rocky with, Henry Lester. Lester had been a Golden Gloves Champion three years in a row and was runner-up in the New England Amateur Championships the previous year. Rocky agreed to the mismatch.
The result was a the worst showing of Rocky s fighting career. He threw tons of punches in the first round, missing with almost all of them, and was winded and gasping by the second round. In desperation, unable to lift his arms or fight back, Rocky responded instinctively with a kick as Lester came in to try to finish him off. Officially, it was said he kneed Lester in the groin. Lester s son told me that the foul was to the stomach, not the groin. However, since it sounded worse as a groin blow, that s how it was reported. Marciano was disqualified and was booed and jeered. It was a lesson he never forgot.
Rocky explained to his younger brother. “I learned something from this fight ..if I ever get into the ring again, you can bet I won t be out of condition.”
It can be said that Henry Lester was the motivation for the fanatical training Rocky put himself through thereafter, and played a part in making Marciano the best conditioned heavyweight of all time.
Back in the Army, Rocky signed up for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Championship Tournament in Portland, Oregon in August, 1946. Rocky knocked out his first opponent, got a bye on the second fight, and knocked out his third opponent. The men scheduled to face him in his 4th and 5th fights refused to fight the wild, powerful brawler, putting Rocky into the finals. Unknown to them, Marciano had severely dislocated a knuckle in his left hand. Refusing to drop out of the tournament, Rocky stepped into the ring to face the other top fighter of the event, Joe DeAngelis. The story of this fight is told in Joe s own words elsewhere on this site, but the result was DeAngelis won by decision.
Rocky spent six week in the hospital, his hand in traction, dispelling any doubts that he was only fighting DeAngelis one handed.
On March 17th, 1947, Rocky fought a pro fight, his first, against Lee Eperson. He was out of the Army now, but not sure yet about taking up boxing as a career. To keep his mother from knowing he was fighting, he used the name Rocky Mack. He knocked Eperson out in the third round.
Rocky took a break from boxing to try out for baseball, and in March 1947 he had a tryout with the Chicago Cub s farm team. He didn t make the team and returned to the ring.
In January, 1948, Marciano entered the Golden Gloves Tournament in Lowell, Massachusetts. He scored 3 KO s in a row. The 3rd was against a good fighter named Charlie Mortimer who had a record of 12-0. He s had two first round KO s of his own before facing Rocky.
In March of 1948, Rocky went to New York as the New England representative in the Golden Gloves All-East Coast Championships. His first fight was against a very good fighter named Coley Wallace, who had a record of 17-0 with 17 KO s. Rocky was the aggressor throughout the fight and landed all the punishing blows, but the judges announced Wallace as the winner. The fans booed and threw bottles and programs into the ring. Rocky would always say he was cheated in this fight, and would determine to take the matter out of the hands of judges by knocking out future opponents.
Somewhere during this time Rocky lost a fourth amateur fight to a six-foot-plus heavyweight named Bob Girard. Again Rocky’s hand had been injured in an earlier fight and again he fought one handed. Girard was able to outbox the brawler and win a decision. He was modest about his victory over the future heavyweight champion:
“How do you think I beat Rocky? I beat him because it was three rounds. There were a hundred guys who might have stayed three rounds with The Rock. But no man in the world was gonna beat Rocky in fifteen rounds; not Dempsey, not Ali, not anybody. I knew he was going to be champ. I don’t think anybody could hurt Rocky. Every time he hit you, you saw a flash of light. You either grabbed him or you moved back, because if he hits you twice you’re gone.”
Back in Brockton, Rocky KO d Joe Sidlaskis in one round.
Then, it was on to the AAU Olympic tryouts in Boston. In his first bout, Rocky knocked out Fred Fischera, but in doing so again damaged his knuckle. Still unwilling to quit for any reason, he insisted on fighting his next fight, telling Allie to leave the bandages on between fights.
Fighting right handed only, Rocky hammered his opponent, George McGinnis. He knocked McGinnis down twice in the third round and took the AAU Heavyweight Championship.
But, any hopes of going on to the Olympics were shattered when Rocky s hand was examined by a doctor after the fight. Not only was the knuckle on his thumb out of place, but the thumb itself was broken. By the time it healed, Rocky was through with amateur boxing.