As the IBC prepared to defend its sway over all that is
most profitable in boxing, the IBC's biggest single money-maker, Rocky
Marciano, heavyweight champion of the world, announced he had made up his mind
at last and was through with fighting.
The nice guy who finished first paid the ring a glum
farewell. For all that Rocky wore a gay silk suit of electric blue, his mood
was not that of a bridegroom celebrating the end of bachelorhood. What Rocky
was saying goodby to had been his best bet for fame from the day he slugged a
bully who tried to take a baseball away from him. His tropic-tanned face bore a
look of moody resignation to the future. For a quickly assembled gathering of
reporters, news-reel and TV photographers, he summed it up:
"Boxing has been my whole world. I'm so happy that
I got into boxing. Boxing has been everything to me. It's pretty
What moved him, then, to quit the world's heavyweight
championship, when, as he said, he had "two or three fights left" in
him? Fear of being hurt, perhaps? Training drudgery? Too much weight?
It was none of these, Rocky said. He had never been
badly hurt in the ring, though he took more punishment than a skilled boxer
would absorb. The training grind had begun to pall but was not decisive. His
weight was 212 and he had trained down to fighting trim (187 pounds) from as
much as 210. He quit, he said, because of "my wife, my family, my father,
"It's being away from the folks, being away from
home, not being together."
Who would succeed him?
"Archie Moore I happen to know about and he has a
good chance. From what I've been reading, Floyd Patterson seems to be
everybody's favorite. I think Hurricane Jackson has a good chance."
That was a cue for James D. Norris, seated at Rocky's
left, to agree with these selections for an elimination tournament. He also
mentioned Johnny Holman, Bob Baker and Nino Valdes, though Holman has lost to
Ezzard Charles, Baker has lost to Jackson, and Valdes has lost to pretty nearly
everyone. But Holman and Baker are to fight 12 rounds at Miami Beach on May 9
in what is now billed as the first of these elimination bouts.
And would Rocky perhaps return to the ring a year or so
hence to take on the winner of the elimination tournament? He didn't say
positively one way or the other.