Rocky Marciano, Brizel’s Best Boxing Role Model Ever. Here’s Why
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Of all boxers past and present, it is my view Rocky Marciano was the best role model of all time to youth and people, and also the best public speaker ever of all boxers past and present. In whatever he did, Rocky worked hard. It was a combination of natural talent and hard work which enabled to master public speaking to groups in the United States and Canada with the same success and energy he had as a fighter, taken to the next level of achievement.
In my friendship with Lou Marciano (Rocky’s nephew), I never told Lou the key qualities and characteristics which I admired most about Rocky which still make Rocky great. In my personal view, Rocky remains in a category all by himself, untouched by time. I think it significant to note Rocky embarked on a career as a public speaker at a time when this talent was unknown, and he worked hard to build another career to the top with the same enthusiasm and success which remains a reflection of the Marciano name today.
The great Rocky Marciano was no ordinary boxer, having won all 49 of the professional fights he competed in. He accomplished it not only by competing with enormous courage and the will to win, but by training with his extreme highest intensity. With his short legs and short arms, Rocky knew he needed more than just power to knock other heavyweights out. Rocky took his fitness and ability to gather power in a punch by taking his boxing training to a new level never seen before, with an intensity unmatched by today’s athletes.
Rocky would take his 300 pound punching bag and put it in a swimming pool, where he would stand with the water up to his shoulders and box the bag underwater for hours at a time. He vowed he would never run out of wind in the ring, and would always be fitter than his opponent. From doing burpees and squat jumps in between slogging away at the punching bag, Rocky managed to become the fittest boxer the sport has ever encountered.
Often throwing more than 100 punches in just one round, Rocky strongly believed this quantity came from superior physical fitness, and not from the power to make a good punch. With genetically wide hips, Rocky was able to swing on his opponent quickly and could withstand any punch opponents threw at him without being moved or affected.
The most dedicated heavyweight champion in history, as he traveled competing as a heavyweight professional boxer, Rocky would sometimes have to train in his hotel room when in those days there was no such thing as a local gym in or near every hotel. Boxing gyms were hard to find years ago in many places. Rocky developed his own body weight training program of calisthenics exercises, and remained disciplined at all times, whether a fight was scheduled or not towards maintaining his self-developed fitness regimen. This contrasts with today’s boxers, who are for the most part so lazy they don’t train between fights. They are not of the same mold as a Rocky Marciano.
Rocky wrote a book entitled Rocky Marciano’s Book of Boxing and Bodybuilding, most definitely written for the love of his achieving superior conditioning as a professional athlete. As the best in the world in his time, Marciano wrote the handbook on how to get there with superior conditioning, for any athlete who cares to discover it. A rare copy can fetch one thousand dollars or more if you find it.
Marciano was not just a championship boxer, he was also a championship caliber bodybuilder with advanced concepts, and a phenomenal public speaker. A champion in three categories, I believe Marciano would be impossible to beat, yesterday, today or tomorrow. At 49-0, he never was. I don’t believe the likes of Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Ingemar Johansson, Riddick Bowe, Deontay Wilder, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali or Larry Holmes, would have beaten Rocky, as his power, stamina, discipline and hard work ethic would have broken them down at the 15 round level. Rocky versus Jack Johnson in his prime is seen as similar to Marciano-Charles I.
If Rocky were still with us, I think he would have been a great championship level boxing, MMA and bodybuilding trainer, because Rocky reigned supreme in all categories, based on his training discipline and work ethic. He knew what he had to do and did it.
I do believe Marciano would have been intrigued by today’s taller heavyweight fighters in the 6’6” tall and 250 pound range. However, Evander Holyfield, at 6’1” and 226 pounds, did a serious job on 7’1” tall 311 pound Nicolai Valuev. Given that, I believe Rocky, a champion at getting inside on the bigger man because he had no choice, could have improved on Holyfield’s performance with Valuev in a world heavyweight title bout with a more focused relentless body attack to break Valuev down in a 15 round bout.