Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Rocky Marciano: The Brockton Blockbuster
John Jarrett


Rocky Marciano was the world’s only undefeated heavyweight champion. He defied physical limitations – too small, too short, too light, too old. With just a 67-inch reach, two left feet and under six feet tall, tough, hard-hitting Marciano blasted his way to 49 wins, 43 inside the distance. He was impervious to pain: you could knock him down but you couldn’t knock him out.

Marciano KO’d Jersey Joe Walcott in a 1952 thriller to become world champion. Defending his title five times, he brought the million-dollar gate back to boxing in 1955 when he crushed Archie Moore in his final fight. He then criss-crossed America making public appearances, for cash only. He built a network of friends, businessmen and Mob guys who willingly paid his way, fed him, dressed him and flew him around. (That’s how he died, hitching a ride in a plane that crashed in an Iowa cornfield in 1969, on the eve of his 46th birthday.)

Hardback, 256pp
Pitch Publishing, 2018
ISBN 9781785313813


JOHN JARRETT is the author of six books, including Toy Bulldog: The Fighting Life and Times of Mickey Walker; Dynamite Gloves on boxing’s big punchers; and Gene Tunney, the Golden Guy who Licked Jack Dempsey Twice. John has been a boxing writer for 50 years, and has been Northern Area Secretary for the British Boxing Board of Control since 1977.