View Full Version : Rocky Marciano taking on mediocre opposition well into his career?


KO'er
01-15-2012, 09:03 PM
I am looking at Rocky Marciano's boxrec record. When he was at 32-0, he fought a fellow called Harold Mitchell with a record of 3 wins and 13 losses. His next 2 fighters were again fighters who won 13 fights, lost 15 and won 11 and lost 14, respectively.

The last 9 nights of his career were against top opposition no doubt, but his tenth last fight was against a fighter with at record of 24 wins and 14 losses. Looking at his boxrec record, I estimate that just under half of his opponents had a weak record, you can see it yourself.

What do you guys think of this?

TheGreatA
01-15-2012, 09:17 PM
He fought some awful opponents but he was a late starter who had to gain that experience somewhere, and his management felt it would boost his confidence better if he were to gain that experience by beating lesser opponents instead of struggling with top class boxers. The last part of his career makes up for the early build-up as far as I'm concerned.

In my opinion his undefeated record doesn't make him a great, the fact that he beat several great opponents makes him a great. But I understand the appeal of the 49-0 and so did his management. It was far easier to get him the title opportunity with an unbeaten record than a potentially spotty record had they matched a raw Marciano against more experienced fighters early on. In fact early on Marciano had to face a couple of local prospects in order to convince his management that he was worth investing on. They were more careful with his match-making afterwards.

As for the later fights he had against various journeymen, they were tune-ups to keep him busy as his management worked towards getting the likes of Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott and Rex Layne in the ring with him.

Hands of Iron
03-07-2012, 05:16 AM
By contrast, Evander Holyfield has fought one opponent with a losing record his entire career and bested HOFer and reigning 190lbs champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi (26-2) in his 12th fight. Then again for good measure 17 months later. Upon moving up to Heavyweight, beat James Tillis followed by top rated opposition such as Pinklon Thomas (29-2), Michael Dokes (37-1) and Adilson Rodrigues (35-2). Other notable wins: George Foreman (69-2) [who would recapture the title three years later], Larry Holmes (54-3) [coming off a UD over Mercer], Riddick Bowe (34-0) [avenged defeat against one of the most talented and skilled SHWs EVER], Mike Tyson (45-1) X2 [A 15-1 underdog], Michael Moorer (39-1) [avenged defeat; Moorer was top ten rated from 1991-98]. That's through 1997.

Fair to say Holmes was no more (and probably significantly less) washed up than 1951 Louis (who never fought again), Walcott (ditto), Charles (best at LHW, faded into obscurity afterwards) or Moore (best at LHW, some 175 odd fights into his career) and a complete outrage to suggest otherwise in the case of Foreman.

Cliff Rold got it right when he comfortably rated Holyfield over Marciano on his HW ratings. And based on Resume, he could have a top five spot rather easily.

BTW, Holyfield looked awful against Vaughn Bean prior to the first fight against Lewis who was in the midst of his primary title reign. Despite a 20+ lbs weight advantage, Lennox couldnt break 36-37 year old Holyfield.

The_Demon
03-07-2012, 05:19 PM
Its never been up for debate to be honest,Marciano did fight mediocre comp well into his career

Ray Corso
03-07-2012, 06:30 PM
Most here give way to much creedance to wins and losses. You only know the head liners of boxing and forget that the body of boxing are people you never heard of and plenty of them came to fight. You don't know who had talent and who gave max effort you critique them on won lose records in a era where they fought often and mostly with injuries so they had a chance to put bread on the table. Not everyone can be a champ and their were plenty of men who had enough talent and desire but had poor management or were injured and never able to recover. Theres a guy on Marciano record who was a 500 fighter I think he was 75n75 with some draws his name was Tiger Ted Lowery, I knew Ted and my amatuer team fought his kids for years and when you fought one of Teds kids you better be ready and talent had nothing to do with it but desire was always present. Back in his day anyone who fought Tiger Ted Lowery was gonna be in a fight!!
I know you don't have archives that cover the many different circumstances that have to do with success and failures but in boxing its just not as clear as wins and losses. Marciano fought who was put in front of him and he didn't manage himself. Some say he bowed out as Liston began his start along with Paterson and a few others but honestly do you think Marciano was afraid? Take a look at his nose hanging off his face and how he finished that fight!!! Sometimes whats inside can't get you over against talent or power but it sure did get you respect and in boxing respect is what its ALL about! Ray.

New England
03-07-2012, 08:46 PM
By contrast, Evander Holyfield has fought one opponent with a losing record his entire career and bested HOFer and reigning 190lbs champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi (26-2) in his 12th fight. Then again for good measure 17 months later. Upon moving up to Heavyweight, beat James Tillis followed by top rated opposition such as Pinklon Thomas (29-2), Michael Dokes (37-1) and Adilson Rodrigues (35-2). Other notable wins: George Foreman (69-2) [who would recapture the title three years later], Larry Holmes (54-3) [coming off a UD over Mercer], Riddick Bowe (34-0) [avenged defeat against one of the most talented and skilled SHWs EVER], Mike Tyson (45-1) X2 [A 15-1 underdog], Michael Moorer (39-1) [avenged defeat; Moorer was top ten rated from 1991-98]. That's through 1997.

Fair to say Holmes was no more (and probably significantly less) washed up than 1951 Louis (who never fought again), Walcott (ditto), Charles (best at LHW, faded into obscurity afterwards) or Moore (best at LHW, some 175 odd fights into his career) and a complete outrage to suggest otherwise in the case of Foreman.

Cliff Rold got it right when he comfortably rated Holyfield over Marciano on his HW ratings. And based on Resume, he could have a top five spot rather easily.

BTW, Holyfield looked awful against Vaughn Bean prior to the first fight against Lewis who was in the midst of his primary title reign. Despite a 20+ lbs weight advantage, Lennox couldnt break 36-37 year old Holyfield.

good post. lots to take in

to be fair to rocky, holyfield was a much more complete product entering the pros. he medaled in the olympics and had close to 175 amateur fights


rocky, as the great A outlined, did his learning on the job. the record might have some soft touches, but it's better than some losses to fighters he would have beat down the line if he were ready.

Hands of Iron
03-07-2012, 09:02 PM
That he did, although it's by no means a guaranteed pass for greatness. Look at Leon Spinks, Tyrell Biggs, Henry Tillman, etc.

I wasnt intending to take shots at Marciano directly although I staunchly believe it to be hypocritical that a lot of people have him as high as 3rd (hell even first) while Holyfield is frequently placed outside of the top ten and the criteria is supposedly based on which fighters you beat and level of opposition. Win, Lose or Draw, he's faced some of the toughest competition in HW history and was woefully outgunned by a lot of the best he fought.

Mintcar923
03-07-2012, 10:01 PM
I could never understand Marciano-bashing. He was perhaps the greatest heavyweight ever! Whether his opposition was inferior to other generations in some peoples opinions is not relevant. What matters is he fought everyone they put in front of him, the best of his generation, and still came out of it the only undefeated hvywt champ in history. There was nothing left for the man to do! Except maybe go 50-0...

Scott9945
03-07-2012, 10:33 PM
I could never understand Marciano-bashing. He was perhaps the greatest heavyweight ever! Whether his opposition was inferior to other generations in some peoples opinions is not relevant. What matters is he fought everyone they put in front of him, the best of his generation, and still came out of it the only undefeated hvywt champ in history. There was nothing left for the man to do! Except maybe go 50-0...


If you are calling him "perhaps the greatest heavyweight ever", then sorry, but his opposition is very relevant. Nobody is disputing that he was the best heavyweight of the early 1950's.

Hands of Iron
03-07-2012, 11:13 PM
The fact that Marciano's title reign consisted of nothing but defenses against top rated opposition ensures his status as an ATG. It's a fact that he beat no fewer than four credible ATGs (a couple of them twice) albeit in the most blunt sense.

The things pointed out in regards to them, why they were great, and what level they were at when he beat them isnt exactly an opinion. Although I would say Jersey Joe didnt fight or look like he was on his last legs in the first bout when he was comfortably outpointing Rocky before Marciano was able to get the KO. He had some of the best footwork ever IMO.

Barn
03-08-2012, 12:48 PM
The fact that Marciano's title reign consisted of nothing but defenses against top rated opposition ensures his status as an ATG. It's a fact that he beat no fewer than four credible ATGs (a couple of them twice) albeit in the most blunt sense.

The things pointed out in regards to them, why they were great, and what level they were at when he beat them isnt exactly an opinion. Although I would say Jersey Joe didnt fight or look like he was on his last legs in the first bout when he was comfortably outpointing Rocky before Marciano was able to get the KO. He had some of the best footwork ever IMO.
Jersey Joe learned on the job so even though physically he not have been just as good. He had learned from experience and evolved into a master craftsman. So his prime was basically around the Louis fights until the first Marciano bout, even if he was old.

He did look very off form in the rematch for the Marciano fight. May have been there for the pay-day I'm not sure. Or age/enthusiasm has resulted in him declining quickly after being sparked out late in a hard performance.

hhascup
03-08-2012, 02:44 PM
Rocky fought his 1st top 10 contender in his 26th bout when he won a close split decision against LaStarza. He fought another 10 bouts before he fought another top 10 contender when he stopped Rex Layne. When he fought Moore that was only the 11th time Rocky ever fought a boxer that was rated in the top 10 when he fought them.

Lets look at the best boxers he fought:

Rocky fought LaStarza twice (1950 & 1953) and he was very good. A lot of people thought LaStarza beat Rocky in their 1st bout. Rocky would stop him in the return bout.

He also fought Walcott (1952 & 1953) and Charles (both in 1954) twice each. Charles had 90 bouts at that time and he had seen better days.

In his 1st bout with Rocky, Charles fought very well, and it was a lot closer then a lot of people thought it would be and people wanted to see a return go. Rocky stopped Charles in the return bout.

In the 1st Walcott bout going into the 13th round, the judges had Jersey Joe ahead 7-4, 7-5 and 8-4. Rocky stopped Jersey Joe in the return bout in 1 round.

He only fought another 10 boxers that were ever in the Top 10 by Ring at one time or another.

Phil Muscato (December 1949) was last rated in the top 10 in June of 1948, he fought Rocky the next year after losing 4 in a row and 5 out of his last 6.

Johnny Shkor (September 1950) was 29-18-2 at the time he fought Rocky in 1950. He was last rated in 1947. He just got stopped by Walcott and lost his last 7 of 11 bouts.

Rex Layne (July 1951) had a pro record of 34-1-2 with 24 knockouts going into the bout with Rocky. He was a very good boxer, in fact he was one of the best at that time.

Freddy Beshore (August 1951) was last rated in October 1950, Rocky fought him in August of 1951. He lost 7 of his last 9 bouts before he fought Rocky.

Joe Louis (October 1951) who was still good, BUT way past his prime when he fought Marciano. His record was 61-1 with 52 KO's in his 1st 62 bouts. In his last 9 bouts before he fought Rocky, Louis was 8-1 with only 3 KO's

Lee Savold (February 1952) was last rated in 1951, Rocky stopped him in 1952. Savold was also stopped 9 times before his bout with Rocky, including one by an aging Joe Louis.

Bernie Reynolds (May 1952), who lost 4 out of his last 6 bouts before boxing Rocky in 1952. Reynolds was past his prime as the last time he was rated was 1949.

Harry Kid Matthews (July 1952) was an excellent boxer with an excellent record, he was 51-0-1 with 36 KO's in his last 52 bouts before he faced Rocky, but he was really was a Light Heavyweight.

Don ****ell (May 1955) beat Matthews 3 times and LaStarza. He was also stopped 6 times before he fought Rocky, including a bout with Randy Turpin, a Middleweight, in which he out weigh Turpin by 12 pounds. He was dropped 3 times in the bout.

Archie Moore (September 1955), he was one of the Greatest Light Heavyweights ever.

So if you go by this, the only boxers that were rated in the top 10 when he fought them were Walcott, Charles and LaStarza twice each, Louis, Moore, Layne, Matthews and ****ell. So that means he fought only 8 boxers, 11 times that were rated in the top 10 at the time he fought them.

Growth
03-08-2012, 04:52 PM
Marciano fought every body there was at the time. He didn't have other champions around so he could go against styles that suited him. He was the only champion. The era wasn't the strongest but I bet it's better than todays era.

Hands of Iron
03-08-2012, 10:09 PM
Rocky fought his 1st top 10 contender in his 26th bout when he won a close split decision against LaStarza. He fought another 10 bouts before he fought another top 10 contender when he stopped Rex Layne. When he fought Moore that was only the 11th time Rocky ever fought a boxer that was rated in the top 10 when he fought them.

Lets look at the best boxers he fought:

Rocky fought LaStarza twice (1950 & 1953) and he was very good. A lot of people thought LaStarza beat Rocky in their 1st bout. Rocky would stop him in the return bout.

He also fought Walcott (1952 & 1953) and Charles (both in 1954) twice each. Charles had 90 bouts at that time and he had seen better days.

In his 1st bout with Rocky, Charles fought very well, and it was a lot closer then a lot of people thought it would be and people wanted to see a return go. Rocky stopped Charles in the return bout.

In the 1st Walcott bout going into the 13th round, the judges had Jersey Joe ahead 7-4, 7-5 and 8-4. Rocky stopped Jersey Joe in the return bout in 1 round.

He only fought another 10 boxers that were ever in the Top 10 by Ring at one time or another.

Phil Muscato (December 1949) was last rated in the top 10 in June of 1948, he fought Rocky the next year after losing 4 in a row and 5 out of his last 6.

Johnny Shkor (September 1950) was 29-18-2 at the time he fought Rocky in 1950. He was last rated in 1947. He just got stopped by Walcott and lost his last 7 of 11 bouts.

Rex Layne (July 1951) had a pro record of 34-1-2 with 24 knockouts going into the bout with Rocky. He was a very good boxer, in fact he was one of the best at that time.

Freddy Beshore (August 1951) was last rated in October 1950, Rocky fought him in August of 1951. He lost 7 of his last 9 bouts before he fought Rocky.

Joe Louis (October 1951) who was still good, BUT way past his prime when he fought Marciano. His record was 61-1 with 52 KO's in his 1st 62 bouts. In his last 9 bouts before he fought Rocky, Louis was 8-1 with only 3 KO's

Lee Savold (February 1952) was last rated in 1951, Rocky stopped him in 1952. Savold was also stopped 9 times before his bout with Rocky, including one by an aging Joe Louis.

Bernie Reynolds (May 1952), who lost 4 out of his last 6 bouts before boxing Rocky in 1952. Reynolds was past his prime as the last time he was rated was 1949.

Harry Kid Matthews (July 1952) was an excellent boxer with an excellent record, he was 51-0-1 with 36 KO's in his last 52 bouts before he faced Rocky, but he was really was a Light Heavyweight.

Don ****ell (May 1955) beat Matthews 3 times and LaStarza. He was also stopped 6 times before he fought Rocky, including a bout with Randy Turpin, a Middleweight, in which he out weigh Turpin by 12 pounds. He was dropped 3 times in the bout.

Archie Moore (September 1955), he was one of the Greatest Light Heavyweights ever.

So if you go by this, the only boxers that were rated in the top 10 when he fought them were Walcott, Charles and LaStarza twice each, Louis, Moore, Layne, Matthews and ****ell. So that means he fought only 8 boxers, 11 times that were rated in the top 10 at the time he fought them.




Fascinating breakdown.

I'd bet you have these compiled for numerous other fighters, and not just at Heavyweight.

hhascup
03-09-2012, 06:21 PM
Fascinating breakdown.

I'd bet you have these compiled for numerous other fighters, and not just at Heavyweight.

That I do!

Barn
03-09-2012, 06:25 PM
That I do!


:notworthy:notworthy:notworthy:notworthy

Hands of Iron
03-09-2012, 07:09 PM
A fighter like Riddick Bowe had to of fought even fewer Top 10 guys than Marciano, although he beat a peak Holyfield and bested him 2 of 3 through 1995. I've always felt Holyfield sustained his best from 1987-93 including 'cruiserweight' work, Bowe 1991-95. Tyson 1986-91, although the argument is there for that uber-small 1986-88 window thru... age 22?