Childhood & Early Life
On the 1st of September, 1923, Rocky was born to Italian immigrant parents in Brockton, Massachusetts. His father, Pierino Marchegiano was a shoe maker, while his mother Pasqualina Picciuto was a homemaker. Pierino along with his other siblings lived close to James Edgar playground, where Rocky played endless games of baseball.
Rocky was always interested in sports as he made homemade weights and worked on them until he was dead tired. He was also interested in football along with baseball.
In ‘Brockton High School’, he was part of the baseball team, which he later had to quit as he joined another team in ‘Church League’, since it was a direct violation of the school rule. After his tenth grade, he discontinued studies.
Rocky then worked as a chute man for ‘Brockton Ice and Coal Company’. Some of the other jobs he took to support himself include a shoemaker, ditch digger and railroad layer.
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In 1943, he was absorbed in the Army for a period of two years. It was his job at Swansea to help in supplying ferries to Normandy via the English Channel.
After the war, he completed his service at Fort Lewis in 1946. While waiting to be discharged in Fort Lewis, Rocky was part of a number of amateur boxing duels for his unit. The same year, this budding boxer won the ‘Amateur Armed Forces’ boxing tournament, where he knocked out Lee Epperson in only three rounds.
It was also in 1946 that Rocky came back to his hometown, and appeared for the selection trials of the ‘Chicago Cubs’ baseball team. The trials did not turn out to be well, as he could not make the throw accurately. He then started training for boxing with his long-time friend Allie Colombo.
In 1948, he started his professional boxing career and won against Harry Bilizarian. During this time, he was under the training of Charley Goldman.
After his win with Harry, Rocky won sixteen fights in knockout, ending his fight before the fifth round. And he finished nine games before the first round could end.
In 1951, with 37 wins under his belt, Rocky fought Joe Louis, his hero. Rocky knocked him out, but could not control his emotions after defeating the legendary boxing champion and he cried in Louis’ dressing room. But this fight was historical, as it established Rocky as a formidable competitor in the heavyweight section.
In 1952, the famous fight between Rocky and Jersey Joe Alcott was held for the title of world heavyweight champion. Rocky won in the 13th round after a tough battle, when he defeated Alcott with an impeccable right punch that later became famous as ‘Susie Q’. In the same year, he also defeated Roland La Stanza.
In 1954, Rocky won after a decision was made in his favour against Ezzard Charles, and almost lost the title in a rematch. In this match, Rocky cut his nose badly and the bleeding would not stop. While the doctor initiated to call off the game, Rocky punched Ezzard out in the eighth round.
In 1955, Rocky again defended his title against Don Cockell. Although organized crime bosses wanted Rocky to lose, he was unstoppable. Also in the same year, he fought Archie Moore which was his last fight and knocked his opponent in the ninth round. In his last game, it is predicted that the attendance was over 40,000.
In 1956, Rocky announced that he will retire and spend his time with his family. After his retirement from professional boxing, Rocky worked as a boxing commentator and referee for many matches.
In 1961, the former heavyweight champion hosted a boxing show that telecast on a weekly basis in television.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1947, Rocky met Barbara Cousins, who was the daughter of retired Brockton police official. Four years later, they married and had a daughter named Mary Ann. They also adopted a son and named him Rocco Kevin.
On his 46th birthday in 1969, the eminent boxing champion died in a plane crash.