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Rocky Marciano became Heavyweight Champ with one punch

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Rocky Marciano became Heavyweight Champ with one punch

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rocky Marciano became Heavyweight Champ with one punch

One of the greatest heavyweights of the 20th century became a champion nearly 70 years ago, and did so with one thunderous punch.

Rocky Marciano, known as “the Brockton Blockbuster,” stepped through the ropes as a 30 year-old unbeaten challenger to 38 year-old Heavyweight Champ, “Jersey Joe” Walcott. The date was September 23rd, 1952, at the old Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia.

Marciano had been working his way towards the title shot throughout the early 1950s, including his 8th round knockout of former World Champ Joe Louis in October of 1951. Marciano then scored a devastating second-round knockout of Harry Mathews in July of 1952 at Yankee Stadium, which set the stage for his title bid against Walcott just two months later.

Walcott had lost in four previous fights for the Heavyweight Championship, twice to Joe Louis and twice also to Ezzard Charles. Walcott and Charles fought for a third time in July of 1951 and Walcott scored a stunning 7th round knockout to capture the Championship.

The fighters then remarkably fought for a fourth time overall, and a third consecutive time against each other, in June of 1952 also in Philadelphia. Walcott won again, by 15 round decision, and that set the stage for the Marciano fight.

Marciano was eight years younger, yet Walcott was dominating the fight, including stunning the challenger with a quick first-round knockdown. Walcott continue to maintain control of the fight heading into the championship rounds. And,  that’s when Marciano scored one of the greatest one punch knockouts in boxing history.

Relive the amazing devastating right hand that Marciano landed to win the title here:

As you can clearly see from the video, Walcott was knocked unconscious, while on one knee with his left arm draped on the rope. Eventually a couple of seconds later, Walcott fell over face-first, where he laid on the canvas for nearly one minute without moving.

There was much debate in the months after the fight, when film was first made available for viewing by fans of Marciano landing a soft left-handed left punch while Walcott was knocked out on one knee.

Marciano would say later that he didn’t actually remember throwing the extra left hand until he saw the film himself. He later personally apologized to Walcott for what was a lapse in sportsmanship.

However, it’s clear Walcott was knocked out from the thunderous right and was never getting up anyway.

Walcott was counted out 43 seconds into the 13th round and Marciano became the new Heavyweight Champion of the World.

The fighters met again eight months later at Chicago Stadium (May 1953) and this time, and Marciano scored the quick first-round knocked down. Then, Walcott was so dazed that even though he was looking at the referee and trying to get up, he did not beat the 10 count and Marciano was declared the winner.

Marciano would successfully defend the title five more times with his final fight in September of 1955, when he knocked out Archie Moore at Yankee Stadium to finish 49 – 0. Walcott finished 51-18 -2 and the last two fights of his career were against Marciano.

Marciano was killed in a plane crash in August of 1969 the day before his 46th birthday and he is still regarded a half-century later as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters ever.

Walcott who later controversially refereed the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston rematch and one round knockout fiasco, lived to be 80 years old, dying in February of 1994.

And, he’s unfortunately remembered for being on the receiving end of a classic one punch k.o.

A veteran broadcaster of over 25 years, T.J. has been a fight fan longer than that! He’s the host of the “Big Fight Weekend” podcast and will go “toe to toe” with anyone who thinks that Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard or that Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Deontay Wilder could have beaten Ali!

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