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.