By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The World Boxing Council will honor undefeated former world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano in the hometown of his birth in Brockton, Massachusetts on September 28.
The WBC announced that a statue will be placed there is what the organization said is a posthumous homage.
Prestigious Mexican sculptors Mario Rendon and Victor Gutierrez are already in the process of making what has been described as “an impacting statue.”
The statute will be about 30 feet high and will be unveiled as one of the highlights of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the WBC in 1963.
The Philippines is one of the founding members of the WBC and its Constitution and By Laws was crafted by the late Rodrigo “Rudy” Salud, the eminent lawyer-sportsman and secretary general of the Games and Amusements Board who was the founding secretary general of the WBC and head of its ratings committee with the late GAB chairman Justiniano Montano Jr was elected president of the world organization.
Recently, current president Don Jose Sulaiman who served under Salud in the WBC Ratings Committee informed the Manila Standard that the current GAB chairman Juan Ramon Guanzon had been appointed as a member of the WBC Board of Governors with voting rights and had also been named its International Secretary.
On October 27, 1951 the 27 year old Marciano faced one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all-time, “The Brown Bomber” Joe Louis who was ten years older. Although Marciano was an underdog Marciano upset Louis in a fight that would be the last bout in Louis’ career.
The victory left Marciano with mixed emotions as Joe Louis had been his idol from childhood.
Almost one year later on September 23, 1952 Marciano 23 won the heavyweight title from the 38 year old Jersey Joe Walcott.
Marciano was dropped in the first round and Walcott built up a lead on points but in the 13th round Marciano landed a hard right and then followed it up with a left hook as Walcott slumped to his knees, his arms draped over the ropes. Walcott remained motionless long after he had been counted out.
Significantly, at the time of the knockout Walcott was leading on the scorecards of all three judges by 8 rounds to 4, 7 to 5 and 7 to 4.
In a rematch one year later. Marciano knocked out Walcott in the very first round.
In his next defense against Roland La Starza, Marciano won by an 11th round TKO.
Marciano then faced former nworld heavyweight champion and light heavyweight legend Ezzard Charles who earned the distinction of being the only fighter to last 15 rounds against Marciano.
Marciano won their first meeting on points and knocked out Charles in the 8th round in a rematch.
British hope and European champion Don Cockell challenged Marciano for the premier title in boxing during that era but was knocked out in the 9th round.
In his last title bout on September 21, 1955 Marciano met the 38 year old Archie Moore.
Although he was knocked down in the 4th round, Marciano survived and came back to knock out Morre in the 9th round.
Marciano announced his retirement from the ring on April 27, 1956 with an unblemished record of 49 knockouts in 49 wins.
The photographs accompanying this article are from Rocky Marciano’s brother, Peter. Also seen in the phots are Rocky Jr and his family.
The WBC was represented by Mike George and Jim Mercante.