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Marciano one mans opinion
Marciano: One man's opinion
22.10.03 - By Robert Bennett - I gave great respect for the achievements of Rocky Marciano. A champion can do no more then defeat the fighters placed in front of him, and make sure those fighters are the best available. Rocky Marciano did that, and regardless of the relative strength or weakness of a division in any era, a man that can do that is worthy of praise. How much praise is due however, is the question I pose.
Marciano is often ranked inside the top ten heavyweights of all time by various fans and writers, but one must wonder on what basis he is ranked. A record of 49-0 is impressive indeed but his record was only allowed to run to such extents because he was shut out of the title picture for so long. I rather imagine many a fighter in history would have also taken his record into the forties and fifties without loss if he wasn't fighting the cream of the division.
His first victory over a legitimate contender did not come until his 25th fight against Carmine Vingo. By the time he reached 40-0, Marciano had only four legitimate contenders on his resume, and one of those was the sad swansong of the great Joe Louis. Another was Roland LaStarza, who is famous for losing the barest of decisions to Marciano in a fight many observers felt he should have won. The other two fighters were Vingo of course, and Rex Layne, neither of which rate barely a mention in historical circles.
In stark comparison, Evander Holyfield was thrust into the top of the sport by his twelth fight, and remained undefeated until his 29th fight. The staggering difference is that by the time of his first defeat, Holyfield had faced and defeated at least fifteen contenders who were as good or better then the four Marciano had defeated by forty fights, and yet Holyfield himself struggles for recognition inside the top ten because unlike Marciano, he does not have the benefit of an undefeated record aiding his abilities in the eyes of many observers. As for Marciano's magical '0', that only remained because of the relatively short period of time that Marciano spent fighting at the top of the division. Count them eight fights, a heavyweight title eliminator and seven title fights. There are literally dozens of heavyweights who have remained active at the top for longer than that.
Whether intentional or not, Marciano was protected in much the same way that a Joe Mesi now is. Whether Mesi is a genuine talent is yet to be proven, but it is amazing that Marciano's record does not draw as much criticism as todays protected prospects. It is taboo, almost blasphemous to criticise the quality and depth of the names on Rocky's winlist, because of the mythical status that has been heaped upon his 'world record' 49-0.
Seven successful title fights is commendable, but when broken down not as impressive as many of his contemporaries. His two biggest name victims during his title reign were two victories each over Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott. Charles was done as a top level fighter, as evidenced by the two decisions he dropped in the year before his first Marciano fight, and a little after a year after the second fight, had dropped a further four fights. As for Walcott, 23 years and 70 fights after his pro debut, many would have you believe that he remained a force to be reckoned with. No one is denying that Walcott was cagey and skillful, even in his advanced age, but putting him on a pedestal to lift the significance of Rocky's wins over him is a joke. No champion in history enjoyed the sort of longetivity attributed to Walcott, and Marciano was in danger of being defeated by both Walcott and Charles at some stage.
The trouble Marciano had with fighters like Walcott, Charles and LaStarza leads me to believe that a fighter like Roy Jones Jr would have taken him to school, as would the defensive marvel James Toney. Larry Holmes would have cut him up with his piston jab and stopped him. And due to both size and skill, Foreman, Lewis, Bowe and Vitali Klitschko would have decimated him. And to those that have fantasised about it, Marciano would have been no match for Muhammad Ali. Rocky struggled against far lesser fighters than Ali, and would not have been able to deal with the combination of speed, skill, power and smarts that felled more great heavyweights than any fighter before or after him.
Rocky Marciano, skilled and powerful, but vastly overrated in a historical sense.
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i agreed with most of what you said, but that last paragraph was a bit absurd.
1. roy jones???
i love the guy but the man's chin is putty.
rj would dance and out point him but eventually get knocked out.
2. james toney
no. toney has the same reach as marciano, meaning the rock
gets in and pounds him. toneys defense just means the rock
pounds his arms and forearms and toney can't swing.
late round knock out for the rock. no doubt.
3.Larry Holmes would be an interesting matchup, but
based on how the rock looked against archie moore (who
was much much sharper and faster and knocked rocky down)
i think marciano would have too much heart and holmes
would be tko'd prolly the fight stopped.
4.Foreman was a big boy, but as ali showed, the mental
aspect is soooo important. foreman vs. marciano would not have
been like foreman vs.frasier, no way.
this is a tough one to call. based on foreman's performace against
ali (Was he out of shape? hehe, foreman was gonna pass out by the 10th round. the rock *never* stopped punching! heavyweights were not fat slobs back then),
i say the rock knocks him out in the later rounds if he makes it that far.
5.Lewis, Bowe and Vitali Klitschko, holy ****, you gotta be kidding me?!
look at heavyweights now. they are statues...
fighters then were in better shape, moved all the time, tremendous heart.
the rock *kills* all 3 here. klitschko was almost knocked out by corrie sanders! ha, and you talk about marciano's competetion..
lewis was notorious for not being mentally prepared or in shape, whatever,
and of rahman knocked him out, marciano would too. bowe... please, did you see the fight he just had?
6. as for ali, well he was unreal, so, he beats the rock 2 out 3 (frasier got him once, so can the rock).
you make great points on marciano's career and where he stands hystorically, but as for the hypothetical matchups, you don't put enough emphasis on heart.
if skills were all that mattered then
roy jones would still be champ, judah woulda beat tzyou, hearns beats hagler, mosley beats forrest, and on and on and on...
fighters back then were different, they destroy guys today.
i take lamotta and robinson over many of todays light heavies and crusiers.
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In regards to Roy. In a pound for pound sense, Roy wins on points. He'd simply be too fast for Marciano to keep up with. At HW, he loses, because he wasn't that fast. He didn't have a "putty" chin, as you put it. He was tagged with some good shots by strong fighters and was never put down until his fight with Gonzalez, which he came back to win. The shot Tarver gave him would have put ANY light heavy down. It was a perfect shot. The shot Johnson put him down with was from an accumulation of punishment. Jones wasn't in that fight, and he stood there for eight rounds.
It has nothing to do with Roy's heart. If he had no heart he would have postponed his fight against Hopkins with his broken hand; he would have never beaten Gonzalez; he wouldn't have KO'ed Griffin in 1 after the DQ; he would never have come back down to Light Heavy to fight Tarver; and last, but certainly not least, he would have quit boxing in '88 after being robbed in the Olympics. Jones had heart, he just lost the fire for the sport.
Since this isn't a topic about Roy, though, we'll go ahead with the rest.
Lewis would give Marciano some problems. He was a big, big man, and had a good jab. He moved decently, and had good defense, but he had a glass jaw. If Marciano caught him, with even one shot, he'd go down like a ton of bricks. Lewis by decision, or Marciano by KO.
Ali would have given him much more trouble that Lewis, but Marciano would have hurt him. They did an exhibition fight after those computer things, and Ali complained of his arms being hurt by Marciano's punches. Marciano wasn't in his prime, he was old by then, and Ali was still very young. Marciano MIGHT have won, but Ali could have taken him as well. You're probably right that Ali wins 2 of 3 fights.
Holmes, one of the most underrated heavyweights ever, would have given Marciano a run for his money too. Marciano's relentless style would make fight. Holmes wins by UD, or stoppage, though. He's kind of like Lewis, in a sense, good jab, and good power. The difference is I think he had a better chin than Lewis did.
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Rocky Marciano would lose against George Foreman. Too big and powerful with a style that was made for swarmers such as Marciano.
Foreman by brutal tko.
In a fight versus Lennox Lewis, I believe Marciano could win. Lewis would be alot bigger and would make it difficult for Marciano with his reach and power. How ever, Marciano would never give up and Lewis would tire after 7-8 rounds. Considering Lewis´ weak chin, Marciano would only need one solid shot. A tired, worn down Lewis would not be able to keep Marciano off him for long, and sooner or later the "Susie Q" would reach its target.
Marciano by ko.
Roy Jones Jr would present a bigger problem for Marciano than would Lewis in my opinion. His speed and incredible boxing ability would make it very difficult for Marciano to catch him. But the key would be Marcianos stamina and heart. He would keep on coming. Even though Jones would control the fight and be way ahead on the score cards, Marciano would more likely than not get to him in the later rounds.
Marciano by late ko.
Muhammad Ali would most likely defeat Marciano by decision (or possibly by cut - Marciano cut easily and Ali had a ripping jab). How ever, he would have to struggle for his victory. This would be no walk in the park for Ali. Marciano would put pressure on him and make him fight. This is something Ali always hated, and he was in great disadvantage against a good swarmer. Still, Ali had lots of stamina and a solid chin. He fought some of the hardest punchers the ring has ever seen, and was never knocked out. This gives him the edge.
Ali by UD.
Larry Holmes would struggle even more than would Ali, but I also see him surviving to win by decision. He had an iron chin and was very skillful with an incredible jab. A late knockout by Marciano would not surprise me very much, but 2 out of 3 times, Holmes makes it to the final bell and takes home a comfortable win.
Holmes by UD.
A Marciano-Toney fight would be an all out war. Marciano would make this a slugfest, and no way in hell would Toney survive trading bombs with Marciano. His power, chin, heart and stamina makes it impossible for Toney to defeat him.
Marciano by ko.
V. Klitschko is a big man, but I see Marciano using his lesser height to his advantage, moving in under Klitschkos reach and pounding his body with ripping shots. Then he would follow up with some crushing blows to the head, and Vitali sucks canvas.
Marciano by early ko.