Rocco Francis Marchegiano, better known as Rocky Marciano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969), was an American boxer. Marciano was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 9/23/1952 until 11/30/1956. He had the shortest reach of any heavyweight champion at only 68 inches (173 cm). He was also short for a champion, standing 5'11" (180.3 cm). Marciano is the only heavyweight champion in professional boxing history who never lost or drew (tied) in a professional match. He won 43 fights by a way of knockout or technical knockout, an 87.76% knockout rate.
Before becoming a professional fighter, Marciano had an amateur record of 11-3. Marciano's first professional fight was in March 1947. He won the championship from Jersey Joe Walcott on September 23, 1952.
Marciano was named fighter of the year by Ring Magazine three times. His three championship fights between 1952-54 were named fights of the year by that magazine. Marciano's last title fight was against Archie Moore on September 21, 1955. Marciano was knocked down in the fight, but he got up and knocked out Moore in the 9th round. Marciano announced his retirement in a press conference on April 27, 1956.
Marciano considered a comeback in 1959 when Ingemar Johansson won the heavyweight championship from Floyd Patterson on June 26, 1959. However, Floyd Patterson's contract demanded a rematch with Ingemar within one year. After a period in training and thinking about a comeback, Marciano decided against it and never seriously considered a comeback again.
In 1969, on the eve of his 46th birthday, Marciano was a passenger in a small private plane, a Cessna 172, headed to Des Moines, Iowa. It was at night and bad weather set in. The pilot tried to land the plane on a small airfield outside Newton, Iowa, but the plane hit a tree two miles short of the runway. The passengers died almost instantly. He is entombed in a crypt at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His widow, who died exactly five years after him at the age of 46, is entombed next to him.