Originally Posted by edward morbius
"men in Southern Italy still only average 5 foot 8"
Yes and I agree that there is no way of telling if Marciano would have grown taller today.
"height of the average adult American male is going down"
This is not what I found.
CDC (Center for Disease Control) has the average adult American male going from 5' 8" in 1960 to slightly over 5' 9.5" in 2006. That is not getting shorter by any means.
WHO--has the average adult American male between 20-39 at 5' 10.2", taller than Great Britain, France, Italy, or Germany, or in fact most of the rest of the world. This despite a significant percentage of Mexican-Americans who average 5' 7" and pull the total average down.
Army--Komlos seems to be selecting facts here. The average soldier in the Civil War was 5' 7". In WWII it was 5' 8". I don't know what the average soldier would be today, but off the WHO figures, if a cross-section it should be about 5' 10". If it is not, the volunteer army is shorter than the average male while the conscript armies were not. That is possible. Those turning to the army as a way out and a way up would probably be from the lower classes, and upper class folks tend to be taller, all other factors equal. The conscript army was everyone with the sickly (who I assume would average shorter) weeded out.
Yes, there is no agreement one this point. Here is another article...
or read the precis to this work.
It seems the US has stagnated at best in growth and fallen behind in regards to European countries. Perhaps we should wonder how tall Marciano would have been were he born in the Netherlands? How tall would Wlad have been were he born in the Netherlands.
I think at this point we begin to realize how silly this question is. The Marciano who reigned was stout sub-6 footer with T-Rex like arms and the reach of a decent lightweight. I boldly propose he does not do well against modern super heavyweight, especially those very skilled, and perhaps even those of lesser skill.