AT first glance there’s nothing immediately conspicuous about the date April 27, 1956. President Dwight Eisenhower sat in the White House. A 400-foot rampaging reptile monster called Godzilla was unleashed and played to packed movie theatres. Elvis Presley topped the music charts with Heartbreak Hotel, his first million-selling record as the Rock and Roll dance craze swept the nation. Sex symbol Brigitte Bardot took centre stage at the Cannes film festival as the paparazzi shot pictures of her frolicking on a beach with a parrot. Meanwhile, at a press conference held at the Hotel Shelton in New York City, Rocky Marciano, world heavyweight boxing champion, announced that at 32 he was hanging up his gloves to spend more time with his family. It would become one of the most famous, and perfectly timed, retirements in boxing history. In 1969, Rocky died in a plane crash but his legend remains. Some historians have questioned his status as one of the best, and picked holes in his 49-0 record that included wins over Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore. Sixty years on from his retirement, Peter Marciano spoke to Boxing News from his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts and reflected upon the life and times of his brother, addresses those criticisms, and reveals the driving force behind the “Brockton Blockbuster”.
How would you describe Rocky Marciano’s legacy?
Since he [Rocky] retired in 1956 there isn’t a month that goes by when I don’t get letters from someone somewhere in the world; from Ireland, Australia and other countries referring to their uncle or grandfather who used to talk about Rocky.