Originally Posted by Seamus
But look at what was available. A shot Louis who was only in the ring to pay off the tax man. A bona fide lighheavy in Charles. A Walcott on his last two fights after a long, damaging career. Marciano snuck in for a second at a transitional, vulnerable time in the division's history. He gets an A+ for timing.
Did anyone really want to see Wlad against Holy at any time since 2006? Really? Lennox Claudius Lewis, who I hold in higher esteem, retired in 2004. Vitali is an exceptional case in that they are brothers which I half understand/half think it is very convenient for Waldo.
Heavyweight are much more widely recruited in the geographic sense today than they were in 1950. Kazahkstan, Ukraine, Nigeria, US, UK, Belarus and Russia are all putting out top notch talent that is permitted and encouraged to participate in the pro ranks. In the 50's you could really only say that about the UK and US.
If my memory serves correct, Marciano traveled ONCE to fight outside the eastern US seaboard, and that was against Butterball Cockell in San Francisco, a fight in which many thought he should have been disqualified and a pretty wretched effort by his standards. He fought something like 33 of his 49 fights in Rhode Island, mostly in the same auditorium. So, home crowd, home ref's, comfortable surroundings and largely low-rate, third string, circuit fighters. How would he have done in other's backyards, traveling internationally with ref's who didn't look the other way on his rough stuff? I'm not convinced his career would have been radically different, but I think there would be a good chance for an L or two to be on his record.
"Marciano traveled ONCE to fight outside the eastern US seaboard"
Marciano also traveled to Chicago, and fought twice in Philadelphia, but ten times in NYC.
Of course, remember that the disposition of the population of the US (and also the world was different then). New York City was not only the largest city in the world then, but probably the undisputed boxing capital. Chicago was the second biggest US city. Philadelphia fourth. Actually, as NYC was the world's largest city then, Chicago 8th, and Philly 15th, Marciano fought more fights in the world's 15 or so largest urban centers than the two Klitschko's have together.
And Providence was located directly between NYC and Boston on the heavily populated east coast. I don't think there is any reason to expect Marciano to have a lot of fights somewhere else in the USA, actually. He was fighting where the population and interest in boxing were.
I guess not having a foreign fight is valid enough, but most didn't. I don't think Dempsey or Louis did either, and the few champs who did fought either before or after they were champions. Two reasons--the money was better in the US. And as you pointed out, DQ's were the order of the day in Britain and Europe. Marcel Thil winning fight after fight on questionable fouls probably gave any champion pause about risking a defense for a small potatos purse in Europe.
If Marcel Cerdan did not defend his title in Europe, I don't know if I would score Marciano for the same. Kid Gavilan also fought mainly in the US rather than Cuba, although he did defend once in Havana.
Reason--money, I presume.
and television (and closed circuit) money in Marciano's time was probably restricted mainly to the US.