Unbeaten – Mike Stanton

Marciano

I knew very little about Rocky Marciano before I read this book.  I knew he was the only undefeated Heavy Weight fighter (49-0), I knew Larry Holmes threatened his record in the eighties before losing his 49th fight to Michael Spinks (and I remember rooting for Spinks because Holmes was classless in how he disparaged Marciano and said he could’ve whipped him), and I knew that he fought back in the fifties in an entirely different era of boxing.  What I didn’t know filled up this book.

I could tell you all kinds of things I learned, but suffice to say that if you’re a sports fan you’ll really like the book and if you’re a boxing fan you’ll probably love it.  It was a compelling and fun read – well-written and fair to the subject.  Marciano was a family guy, an incredible boxer, his whole career was influenced by the mob (which was impossible to avoid in his era [Note the subtitle to the book – “Rocky Marciano’s Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World”] – his manager, the boxing association that sanctioned the fights, the handlers of the boxers he fought – all were either mob-connected or controlled), and he knew when to retire (at the age of 31 with a perfect record).  He died in a plane crash at 46.

I’d definitely recommend the book.  If you’re a sports fan you should read it and if you know a sports fan you should tell him about it.

2 thoughts on “Unbeaten – Mike Stanton

    1. In the book they talk about a computer-simulated fight they ran in 1970 (shortly after his death) between Ali and Marciano. They actually had the two spar about a year earlier and took video and camera shots and then fed that and bunch of other data into a computer to come up w/ the simulation. The simulation had Marciano knocking Ali out in the 13th round. Interestingly, Ali was a Marciano fan. Unlike Holmes – who disparaged him – Ali was very respectful. He credited Marciano with making him want to become a boxer when he was a boy.

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