The Quality of Marciano's Opponents

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by catchwtboxing, Apr 13, 2024.

  1. catchwtboxing

    catchwtboxing Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Just for Future Reference. Punch all the holes in it you want, this is just the facts of it:

    Archie Moore- Reigning LHW champ and #1 NBA heavy
    Don Cockell- # 3 NBA heavy
    Ezzard Charles- #1 NBA heavy
    Ezzard Charles- #1 NBA heavy
    Roland LaStarza- #2 NBA heavy
    Joe Walcott- #1 NBA heavy
    Joe Walcott- Reigning heavyweight champ
    Kid Matthews- #7 NBA heavyweight, previously #3 LHW
    Bernie Reynolds- Unranked, previously ranked by The Ring in May 1949
    Lee Savold- Unranked, but ranked #2 by NBA in April of '51
    Joe Louis- #2 NBA contender
    Freddie Beshore- Unranked, previously ranked by Ring Magazine in 48 annual.
    Rex Layne- #2 NBA contender
    John Shkor- Unranked, but previously "honorable mention" April '47 by NBA
    Roland LaStarza- "Honorable mention" by NBA
    Phil Muscato- Unranked,previously "honorable mention" NBA April 47, +Ring magazine

    NOTE: sourcing for Bernie Reyolds Ring ranking:
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2024
  2. catchwtboxing

    catchwtboxing Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 4, 2014

    Please move to classics section. Thanks.
    Richard M Murrieta and pacas like this.
  3. Grinder

    Grinder Dude, don't call me Dude Full Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    His records sh!ts all over Floyd's.
  4. OvidsExile

    OvidsExile At a minimum, a huckleberry over your persimmon. Full Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    Archie Moore was 41
    Walcott was 38 and 39.
    Joe Louis had already retired come back and was 37.
    Those were Ezzard Charles' 97th and 98th fights and he was already shot, losing to Valdez and Johnson. His record after that was 10-13.
    The rest of Marciano's record is just decent. The war had killed off all of the top heavies of his generation; so he wound up beating the previous ones and retiring early so nobody could do the same to him.

    After Usyk and Holyfield he'd probably be the greatest Cruiserweight ever, but he's not in the discussion at heavyweight.

    It's not the names, it's when you got them. Manny Pacquiao at 36 is not Manny Pacquiao at 30.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2024
    BoB Box, Smoochie, Fogger and 23 others like this.
  5. Drew101

    Drew101 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Marciano got Moore on the best run of his career. He was 38-1-1 from 1950 to the point when he met Marciano, and that single loss (to Johnson as a result of a low blow deduction), was avenged multiple times during the run. He was on a 21 fight win streak over the past three and a half years. Hopkins peaked late, and was better in the Trinidad fight at 36 than he was against Jones a decade earlier. Same with Moore.
  6. OvidsExile

    OvidsExile At a minimum, a huckleberry over your persimmon. Full Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    He might have been on a run but he was still 41 with hundreds of fights. Marciano was both much younger and less shop worn. Hopkins didn't peak late. He got big opportunities late. He looks like that at 28 because he's fighting the 1993 version of Roy Jones Jr and everyone looked like that. Go look at his fights from his title reign at middleweight and he's a different animal and I do mean animal. Prime Hopkins was faster, had better stamina, physically leaps and bounds above where he was even at 36 when he beat Trinidad. When he got old he had to rely on crafty old man stuff but there was a time when he didn't need it. Most men's boxing peak physical ability comes right around the age of 30. Physically, they are often at their best around 20 but by 30 they have both youth and experience. After that it's all decline. It gets really noticeable by 35 unless you are in the modern age of pharmacology. From there, without medical assistance, it's a steep decline for athletes. That's why there's only a handful of times that men over 35 have ever beaten a younger top pound for pound fighter. Hopkins vs Trinidad is one and Moore vs Johnson is another. Sugar Ray Robinson beat Fullmer and Basilio at that age but he also dropped losses to them too and if I had my druthers I'd rather fight old Robinson than the young one that fought Jake LaMotta.
  7. RockyJim

    RockyJim Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Gee...not an MMA guy on the list...are you sure that this is boxing?
    Smoochie, Bummy Davis, DJN16 and 2 others like this.
  8. hdog500

    hdog500 New Member Full Member

    Feb 3, 2024
    Niels Probst likes this.
  9. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra H2H Burger King Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    No one is disputing whether the best names on Rocky's record were good names on paper. They all had impressive careers and often had high rankings. They looked good on film.

    That is not the issue.

    The elephants in the room Rocky fans either flat out ignore or fail to grasp:

    -Many of these good opponents were at the end of their careers and heavily shopworn. Walcott and Louis for instance, retired immediately after losing to Rocky.

    -They were no longer in their athletic primes. The fact someone like Moore was on an impressive win streak or Walcott had just won the title prior to facing Rocky does not change the fact they were both 38 with over 70+ fights. Not to mention sparring, road work, any amateur fights, etc.

    -The fact that some older men who had long careers were the best fighters around is an obvious sign that the division was not particularly strong at that time. You had several light heavyweights brazenly moving up and having no trouble competing in the division too. Charles was not only a former LHW, he too was shopworn with something like 90+ fights, had several health issues, suffered some brutal KOs, yet still managed to win a HW title and pushed Rocky farther than almost any other opponent.

    -Lastarza may have been a fairly skilled, quick, undefeated prime fighter and it's a good win for Rocky, but his resume was filled with absolute nobodies and only a few "okay" names. In a sense he's similar to fighters such as Tony Tucker who seem to have had an impressive record prior to losing, but nothing really stands out in his record either. The most glaring factor in the Lastarza win was that it was a hotly disputed split decision, which is kind of a big deal since he's one of the only prime, young, ranked, athletic fighters Rocky faced. In the rematch Rocky evidently resorted to fouls, dirty fighting, and overwhelmed Lastarza with sheer aggression and volume.

    -Layne had a fairly lackluster career with many mixed results. Don Cokkell was garbage. Savold had JUST been KOd by Louis and he ALSO had more than 100+ fights and retired immediately after facing Rocky.

    This may seem harsh, but all it shows is that while Rocky's career was impressive, his era was not. The fact Rocky wasn't cherry picking and yet several of these opponents had high rankings says a lot. If old men, guys who had several brutal KO losses, or boxers with questionable wins are dominating the rankings for years, you have to question the quality of that division. I don't fault Rocky, he fought who he was supposed to fight, but those are facts.

    Al Weil knew what he was doing and steered Rocky along craftily knowing he was quite limited outside of his power and toughness. And to his credit, Rocky basically cleaned out this division...with a lot of strategic maneuvering whilst being in the right place and the right time. There's very few time periods where Rocky could've repeated this sort of run. He simply does not have a particularly amazing record when you scrutinize the names and WHEN he fought them.
  10. RockyJim

    RockyJim Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Ring Magazine has Marciano #4 all time..."Nobody ever got more out of what he had as a fighter than Rocky Marciano. No one came into the ring in better shape...he could punch like hell...and he could take a punch! He was relentless...and he had a will of iron! Critics say his opponents were old...have they watched the films? They were great fighters...Charles was 32 when he fought Rocky...Walcott was 37...but he beat the hell out of Marciano...and out boxed him in their title fight. Carmine Vingo...Rex Layne...Roland LaStarza...Rocky beat REAL fighters on his way up the ladder. When his character was tested...NOBODY was better. When Tyson was decked against Buster Douglas in 1990...he fell apart mentally...the fight was basically over. When Marciano was decked for the first time in his career against Joe Walcott in the title fight in 1952 he said, "That guy hits pretty hard...I might have to get up a couple of times!" Marciano had his nose split open down to the cartilage against Charles in their second fight in September 1954. He had to KO Charles because they couldn't stop the bleeding...he charged out....won by KO...and kept the title. He took a great punch...and was tougher than all of them!" Sonny CHAMPION...quit while sitting on his stool in the biggest fight of his career...he quit for a hell of a lot less....
    Bummy Davis and catchwtboxing like this.
  11. Drew101

    Drew101 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Eh...Hopkins was a bit less refined in the earlier title fight and I think he could have clearly benefited from a bit more craft in at least a couple of cases (first fight with Mercado, for example). I don't see the Trinidad version of Hopkins getting knocked down twice by Mercado and being held to a draw, for example.

    As for Moore, he may have been better physically, but his improved ring IQ and craft probably allowed him to be come a better fighter overall in the early 50's than he'd been in the 40's. Plus, he was still capable of knocking out bigger, high quality guys during that period. Like, if this were the version of Moore that went life or death with Durelle a few years later than sure, I could consider calling him shot. But the version Rocky faced, even if he was past his physical peak, was still by far and way the best fighter that Marciano could have faced during that time period and it isn't even close.
  12. Niels Probst

    Niels Probst Member banned Full Member

    Dec 9, 2023
  13. ikrasevic

    ikrasevic F(_)CK the new age Full Member

    Nov 3, 2021
    I would not diminish Marciano's merits.
    Back then, globally, all heavyweights were smaller (lighter).
    Rocky had the quality of knowing when to retire, because through the trio of Patterson, Johansson, Liston he would not have gone undefeated.
    I also wouldn't give Rocky too much credit for being undefeated in his career. So I think ATG fifth place is quite realistic.
    This content is protected

    Also 6 wins over 4 ATG boxers (Moore, Charles, Louis, and Walchott) fits into the big picture IMHO.
  14. Dynamicpuncher

    Dynamicpuncher Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jan 14, 2022
    The 1st fight between Hopkins and Mercado was in Ecuador in high altitude almost 10,000 feet. Hopkins only arrived in Ecuador 4 days before the fight so Hopkins didn't acclimatise properly so he struggled in the fight hence the knockdowns.

    It's not a coincidence Hopkins easily won the immediate rematch in America.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2024
    Smoochie, JohnThomas1 and Bokaj like this.
  15. humbug

    humbug In Vino Veritas Full Member

    May 1, 2006
    What a putz
    catchwtboxing likes this.