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Rocky Marciano raised money for the fight against Muscular Dystrophy.
Most of you in this part of the forum, will of course know this, but for those who don't, I thought it was just a nice fact, in a pleasant story, with a lot of kind words from legendary fighters.
Tragic Death and the Legacy of Marciano
The pilot, Glenn Belz, had only 231 total hours of flying time, with only 35 hours at night. A weather briefing warned of stormy skies over Iowa, with a low ceiling. Belz was not instrument rated.
At 6 pm the plane left Midway Airport with Rocky seated next to the pilot and Frank Farrell in the back seat. At 8:50 Belz contacted Des Moines Radar Approach Control. He was above a layer of clouds and could not see his destination, Newton Airport. He requested radar assistance, but moments later radioed he’d broken out of the clouds and was landing at Newton Airport to refuel.
At 9:00 a witness saw the plane come in at less than one hundred feet over the ground, two miles south of the airport. It seemed the pilot was trying to climb but then lost altitude. The plane hit a lone oak tree in the center of a cornfield before skidding for about 235 feet and coming to rest near a drainage ditch. Belz and Farrell were thrown clear of the plane, but Rocky was found still in his seat. All three died instantly.
The National Transportation Safety Board report said, "The pilot attempted operation exceeding his experience and ability level, continued visual flight rules under adverse weather conditions, and experienced spatial disorientation in the last moments of the flight."
He was well respected by those who knew him and the men he fought. Each had their own thoughts and words at the funeral.
"He was a man of courage inside the ring. Outside, he was kind and gentle." Jersey Joe Walcott
"Something's gone out of my life. I'm not alone, something's gone out of everyone's life." Joe Louis
"He was a great fighter and a great man." Joe Frazier
"There was no pretense about Rocky. He was the genuine thing." Joey Maxim
"This man was one of the greatest champions ever. He refused to accept defeat. And nobody beat him." Sonny Liston.
Muhammad Ali told how he sped to Fort Lauderdale, breaking speed limits and ignoring red lights to get to the funeral on time.
Asked if she ever worried about him getting hurt, she said, "I worried more about the other fellow, because he got a mother, too."
* Courtesy of Geocities.com *
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Last edited by Galveston Giant; 10-18-2006 at 12:53 AM.
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Rocky Marciano went a very long way on very little talent. He was living proof that the man who wins is very often the man who wants it the most.