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Thread: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

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    Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Rocky Marciano was an aberration. He was cut from a different cloth, and his legitimate heavyweight record of 49-0 (43 KOs) may continue to remain for decades to come. He didn’t practice conventional boxing technique. He was often clumsy, but always effective. The wreckage of broken and thoroughly beaten opponents in his wake is an example of something highly unusual and almost mystical, despite the fact that Marciano was as humble, polite, and down-to-earth as any high profile champion we’ve ever seen.

    http://fightbeat.com/article_detail.php?AT=362

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Well Marciano has this habit of often changing his story though. When ask the SAME question during his retirement speech, Marciano said "Walcott in the title fight".

    Other guys he claim were Moore, and evey once in a while Matthews(Base off of one punch of couse).

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    I'd say his two toughest fights were Walcott I and Charles I. Charles II he had the bad cut issue, but to be totally honest, he didn't have all that much difficulty stopping him. Charles I he struggled in a lot of rounds. Walcott I the same. Some also say he struggled with Lowry and with LaStarza I. So those were the ones where he most had a chance to lose.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    The biggest issue regarding Rocky's legacy is his level of opposition. Three names stand out.

    Walcott from the first fight.
    Charles from the first fight.
    Archie Moore.

    This is it by far. All were best their past days. All gave Marciano very tough fight. All ultimately took serious lumps from Rocky.

    I rate Marciano an all time great cruiser weight. I think his physical limitations are way too much of a handicap for him to match up with the best of the biggest. However, for men under the 195-200 pound mark he was a killer.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    I disagree that Moore gave him a tough fight. It seems to me that other than the flash knockdown, Archie was mostly defensive. Rocky put it on him with a nonstop all out attack the likes of which is rarely seen in heavyweight boxing.
    I really don't see that as all that difficult of a fight for Rocky.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Quote Originally Posted by HE Grant
    I rate Marciano an all time great cruiser weight. I think his physical limitations are way too much of a handicap for him to match up with the best of the biggest. However, for men under the 195-200 pound mark he was a killer.


    i strongly disagree with this statement. i think rocky had the style that was suited to destroy the bigger men, and he would do much better fighting the bigger men than he would the small speedy heavyweights. i think rocky used his physical limitations to his advantage and uses his leverage very mell against the big men. rocky also has the strength, power, stamina made to break these big men physically and mentally.



    - marciano did not struggle with moore, he knocked moore down 5 times and won 8 out of 9 rounds against moore.

    in fact joe louis gave marciano more problems than archie moore did
    Last edited by Elmer Ray; 04-03-2007 at 12:48 AM.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    jersey joe walcott was defintley marcianos toughest opponent. he gave an absolute peak marciano huge fits, and nearly beat him. marciano beat a great fighter that night.

    i spoke with peter marciano last year personally, he told me marciano always told him in private walcott I was the toughest fight he ever had

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    when was archie moores prime? i would say it was right around the early 1950s up to when he fought marciano.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    i also think walcott was close to his peak in the first marciano fight. but thats a whole different thread. we will have to agree to disagree

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Archie Moore gave Marciano a hell of a fight for the first seven rounds and was hitting him hard and often right up to the end. If you say a guy hitting Rocky hard, flush in the face well over 100 times was not a tough fight then you have a point. Moore gave him a great fight and Moore was an old man. Joe Walcott gave him a terrific fight until he tired and he was an old man.

    Marciano was a limited guy who's strengths could not move up. Unlike a Dempsey, he was not wiry but squat. He would not bulk up , adding another twenty pounds or so well. He was not fast. He was murder against men close to his own size. However, I simply see him getting overpowered, hit too often and too hard by bigger guys.

    Again, as this post asks, who was the best man he beat?

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    He,

    I know this is a diversion from the original topic but why do you rate him as a cruiser since he didn't fight in a cruiserweight division? of the bigger heavyweights ( 215 +) i see him losing to: Jeffries, Liston and Foreman, and even money with Lewis. how do you see it?

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Colin, is your question directed only to HE, or can anyone chime in?
    Last edited by raylawpc; 04-03-2007 at 03:41 PM.

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    Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    There was no cruiserweight division in the 50s.
    Marciano was a heavyweight.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Quote Originally Posted by Elmer Ray
    - marciano did not struggle with moore, he knocked moore down 5 times and won 8 out of 9 rounds against moore.

    in fact joe louis gave marciano more problems than archie moore did
    Elmer, the referee and one of the judges in Marciano-Moore disagreed with you: Referee: Harry Kessler 5-2 | Judge: Harold Barnes 5-3 | Judge: Artie Aidala 7-1

    The scorecards in Louis-Marciano were: Referee: Ruby Goldstein 4-2 | Judge: Joe Agnello 5-2 | Judge: Harold Barnes 4-3.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    ray,

    go ahead and answer.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Thanks, Colin, for your courtesy! I preface by saying that I am a big admirer of Rocky Marciano, so it pains me to write this. But I, like you, see him struggling against bigger men with talent. Unfortunately for us, Marciano rarely fought men who outweighed him by more than 10 or 15 pounds him and, even more rarely, big men with talent. So we have little by which to measure him. Indeed, the only fighters of note who weighed 205 pounds or more were Joe Louis (213) and Don Cockell (205). (Some of his early victim weighed more, but they are hardly noteworthy opponents).

    Like you, I believe Foreman and Lewis could have taken Rocky. (I don't consider Jeffries because he fought in an different era under decidedly different conditions - I don't like head-to-head match-ups of fighters from the early and modern eras.) I would add to your list Ali and Holmes. However, if Rocky had the dimensions of Jim Jeffries (6'2," 210 pounds, 76" reach), I would pick Rocky over those four. No one can question Rocky's determination, power and toughness. But size, I think, is the key.

    Many times the discussion about Rocky's size disadvantage turns to weight. But an additional disadvantage for Rocky would be the glaring discrepancy in reach and height with the four fighters named above. Rocky was 5'10" and had a 67" reach. Compare with Ali (6'3" 80"), Foreman (6'3-1/2" and 83"), Holmes (6'3" 81"), and Lewis (6'5" 84"). None of Rocky's title opponents had a reach of over 75", or a height greater than 6'.

    That said, if Rocky had been born 50 years later and were fighting today, he would clearly dominate at cruiserweight, and I suspect that was HE's point. Can you imagine what Rocky would do to, let's say, Mormeck or Virgil Hill?
    Last edited by raylawpc; 04-03-2007 at 07:51 PM.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    ray,

    I was looking more at the big, slugger types who would use size and strength to overwhelm rocky as per He's point. I would favor Ali over Rocky, but I think rocky vs larry would be even money.

    how about rocky vs: johnson, dempsey, tunney, louis, frazier,and tyson?

    I like johnson by dec., dempsey by KO3, tunney by dec., louis by TKO7, marciano KO9, and tyson KO3. what do you think ray?

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Which Tyson?

    Guys like Dempsey, Tunney, and Louis would have all been within 15 to 20 pounds of Rocky, and a few inches in height. I would give Rocky an excellent chance against these all-time great fighters; in fact, I look at what Rocky did to Ezzard Charles and see him possibly handling Tunney the same way. Every time I think Louis would take Marciano, I then recall Louis' trouble with guys who fought out of a crouch, such as Galento and Godoy (in the first fight).

    BTW, I'm not saying its a foregone conclusion that Holmes, Ali, Foreman or Lewis would have whipped Rocky. Ditto Tyson. However, I think the size difference would have been a big, big obstacle for Rocky to overcome.

    But it is hard to argue against a guy who went 49-0.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Here is an interesting article regarding Marciano’s amateur fight with Coley Wallace (from my research seven years ago on Marciano’s amateur career).

    Regarding the size difference between Marciano and Wallace, it’s interesting that the paper quoted “At any other weight, in a matter of speaking, the match might not be allowed.”




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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    thanks for posting the above. they dont look so big on the canvas.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    I see Johnson decisioning Marcinao easily.

    I see Dempsey stopping him. Dempsey was much quicker and much harder to hit.

    Over 15 rounds Rocky would be very tough for Tunney. That would be a great match up.

    Joe Louis would bust him up, cut him to pieces and stop him but Rocky would be very dangerous through out.

    I see Liston and Foreman both stoping him.

    Frazier would be a war but I like Joe.

    I rate him as a cruiser because at 5'10", 185 with a 69 inch reach and his style, asking him to slug with a 220 pound Foreman is no different than asking Pipino Cuevas to slug with Marciano.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Great newspaper stuff!!!!! Thank you big time for it. Marciano couldnt beat Larry Holmes? If there is a prediction I might make in a boxing match and bet my standing as a thinker this would be it. Rocky Marciano would stop Larry Holmes, busting him up badly in the process. Ali might have had a chance with Rock. Maybe....If he ran and moved all nite. Lewis goes down and wins few rounds with Rock, but he wont beat him. Hes too slow of foot, too big a target. The only modern guy I saw beats Rock is Sonny Liston. Sonny is no fool and he would jab, move, box effectively and never engage Rock. Holmes might try this, but Holmes is no Sonny Liston. Foreman has a shot early with Rock, but to ko Rocky Marciano early is a hell of chance for someone. Try to deliver that one! Walcott, Charles and Moore all beat big guys with talent. This size thing is laughable. Then we are saying that Sam Langford couldnt beat giants. He did and often and no one disputes that. Rough tuff, hard as nails, full of power short guys win plenty in the fight game over big, well built, long armed, talented guys.
    By the way, Carmen Basilio agrees with me................

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Great newspaper stuff!!!!! Thank you big time for it. Marciano couldnt beat Larry Holmes? If there is a prediction I might make in a boxing match and bet my standing as a thinker this would be it. Rocky Marciano would stop Larry Holmes, busting him up badly in the process. Ali might have had a chance with Rock. Maybe....If he ran and moved all nite. Lewis goes down and wins few rounds with Rock, but he wont beat him. Hes too slow of foot, too big a target. The only modern guy I saw beats Rock is Sonny Liston. Sonny is no fool and he would jab, move, box effectively and never engage Rock. Holmes might try this, but Holmes is no Sonny Liston. Foreman has a shot early with Rock, but to ko Rocky Marciano early is a hell of chance for someone. Try to deliver that one! Walcott, Charles and Moore all beat big guys with talent. This size thing is laughable. Then we are saying that Sam Langford couldnt beat giants. He did and often and no one disputes that. Rough tuff, hard as nails, full of power short guys win plenty in the fight game over big, well built, long armed, talented guys.
    By the way, Carmen Basilio agrees with me................

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    Basilio

    Goes with Marciano?

    There's a stretch!

    I think Holmes spears Marciano all night long, busts Rocky up and stops him inside of 10. Larry is Not Sonny Liston. IMO he is superior. Not as strong or as powerful. But with better speed and sueprior skills and his jab, while not as heavy as Sonny's or as fast as Ali's, combines both attributes to make it IMO the best heavyweight jab in history.

    If the match were to take place in a pound for pound world, we have a much more even bout? Sacrilige? Well, I personally don't buy that the ONLY reason Rocky would be beaten by Ali or Holmes is based SOLELY on size.

    Larry's speed at 6'3" 215 lbs, was superior to the versions of Charles, Walcott and Moore. I think his skills were sueprior to the worn down version of Charles and were on par if not slightly superior to Walcott. And Holmes at his size hit harder than all three. If we brought Larry's size down to 185-190, I think that his power would decrease slightly, but he still would be as powerful as Walcott and more powerful than THAT Charles. I think Holmes' power was superior to a heavyweight Archie Moore. Pound for pound, Archie at 175, Moore had a heavier punch. Not at heavy though.

    Rocky was 49-0-0. He was NOT unbeatable though. And I'm backing Holmes straight up and Striaght up, I think it gets ugly for Rocky. And pound for pound, I'll take Larry's skill, speed, heart and Spirit to take a tough decision in a great bout.

    BTW, I'm Italian on my mothers side.

    Hawk
    Last edited by hawk5ins; 04-04-2007 at 02:32 PM.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Here is some more on Rocky as an amateur. Contrary to popular belief, Rocky wasn’t popular with the Lowell crowd when he competed in the 1948 Lowell Golden Gloves.



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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Rocky, Sam Langford did beat giants and fought a much, much better level of opposition than Marciano ever did.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Quote Originally Posted by naf2003
    According to that news article Wallace might have weighed 221 for that amateur fight with Rocky. Wallace turned pro weighing 198 and never got over 210 but once at the end of his career. If Wallace looked as good as the writer thought he looked, he probably did not weigh 221 and was probably closer to the 198 that he weighed when he started his pro career.
    Agreed. He also said that Wallace was 6' 3" which is one inch more than his listed height.

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    I’ll end my Marciano amateur research data with this final piece:

    1946
    Aug 22- Frederic L. Ross…………..........Portland, OR... KO 1 (Oregonian)
    Aug 23- Richard Jarvis……………...........Portland, OR... KO 1 (Oregonian)
    (Semi-final)
    Aug 23- Joe D'Angelis……………............Portland, OR... L 3 (Oregonian)
    (Final - National Junior AAU Heavyweight Final)

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    To echo He

    Let me add that Langford also was clearly beaten by a much larger Jack Johnson.

    Personally I think Sam was superior to Rocky and Holmeswasbetter than Jack.

    And I know Larry wouldn't carry Rocky. He'd be all business.

    And IMO the end result woukd display this. Again. talking straight up.

    LB for LB ismuch more competitive.

    Hawk

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    Re: Rocky Marciano’s Toughest Opponent

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1213
    Here is an interesting article regarding Marciano’s amateur fight with Coley Wallace (from my research seven years ago on Marciano’s amateur career).

    Regarding the size difference between Marciano and Wallace, it’s interesting that the paper quoted “At any other weight, in a matter of speaking, the match might not be allowed.”





    incredible article! btw i have many sources that list coley wallace as 6'3 so thats not off the mark. im suprised by how much wallace weighed.



    btw im going to post a great retort later on how rocky naturally weighed well over 200lb and had the build to carry extra weight, and how rockys style was made to destroy the bigger men.


    rocky was a raw no experience novice fighting 6'3 221lb 17-0(17ko) coley wallace and look at how rocky handled him

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