“I have watched Marciano fight and I have taken him apart like a watchmaker takes a watch apart.Marciano won’t be able to solve my defensive style, he can’t and won’t hit me Marciano will miss more punches than he has ever before because I have the right style to beat him. Marciano lacks defense and I will pour it on when he misses”
That was the projection of Archie Moore the reigning light heavyweight champion on his upcoming bout with the heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. The two men would meet on 21st of Sept.1955 at the Yankee stadium. A fight that Rocky Marciano unknowingly engraved the final chapter of a legacy that has withstood the test of time sixty seven years after.
No one, not even Marciano himself knew at the time that this ninth round knockout of reigning light heavyweight champion Archie Moore would be the last time he would pull on the gloves as an active participant in the pound to pound game. And no one could have ever guessed that his final record of 49-0-0, with 43 knockouts would become so iconic till this day.
The final, and one of the most noteworthy names, on Rocky Marciano’s perfect 49-0 record; light heavyweight legend Archie Moore could do little to prevent the fate that had held those who came before him. In his last bow, Marciano won in a typically emphatic fashion, trading knockdowns en route to his 43rd victory by way of stoppage. Despite already having amassed over 100 knockout wins himself coming into the fight, the 38-year-old Moore had only moments of success against the heavyweight champion.
The bout was in auspiciously slow at the start, Moore using all the experience of his 20-year career by looking to keep Marciano at bay with his seven-inch reach advantage and aiming to tie him up on the inside whenever the distance was cut. Marciano cannot be easily forgotten for his brutish strength, and a masterful manipulation of the ring, bobbing and weaving underneath Moore’s jab and then stepping inside at will.
In round two, Moore shocked the 61,574 spectators at New York’s Yankee stadium after evading a lunging hook from Marciano, by landing a sharp counter right which sent the champion down to the canvas. The 4-1 favourite was up by the count of two, having seemingly recovered strongly. Although Moore failed to capitalize on the flash knockdown, often missing with wild shots, he continued to have success in the round, drawing blood from champion’s nose
No doubt Moore fought well through the fight and by the end of the fifth round, was hurting Marciano with his right hand power shots with unprecedented momentum. Known for his power, Moore had 107 knockouts entering the fight.
Marciano would later describe his bout with Moore as “The toughest fight of my career.”
Moore continued to outbox Rocky at times with his long jab creating problems, but Marciano eventually returned the favour in the sixth, scoring two knockdowns. Despite beating the count, Moore looked in serious trouble as Marciano immediately pushed him back against the ropes.
What followed was one of the most incredible exchanges of punching ever produced in a boxing ring, Marciano landed huge, clubbing hooks and Moore not only managed to stay on his feet, but somehow found the strength to stand and trade. The next 45 seconds or so were a gruelling demonstration of non-stop action that is as impressive and exhausting just to watch today on a grainy YouTube video. Finding repeated success, Marciano landed a looping right that seemed to hit Moore on the top of his head, sending him down for a second time. Just beating the ten count, Moore was on unsteady legs but survived the short remainder of the round. Moore was really in big trouble as could be observed by spectators.
By the eighth Marciano had reasserted his dominance however, stepping up the punishment as Moore’s right eye began to close. Sensing the nearing conclusion of the fight, both were throwing heavy punches in order to get the other man out. After many missed shots, Rocky connected with a right hook which toppled Moore for the third time. With just several seconds left in the round, the challenger was saved by the bell whilst still on the floor and was allowed to carry on into the ninth.
The ninth round was the clincher and a curtain call for Marciano’s boxing career. From the bell Marciano came out with intent, unleashing lefts and rights that stopped a stationary Moore gaining any momentum back into the fight Marciano landed two quick left hooks that ended the fight, sending Moore down for the last time, slumped in his own corner and unable to beat the count.
The win would be Rocky Marciano’s last act in a boxing ring, cementing his legacy as an all-time great brutally dispatching a boxing legend. Moore, perhaps past his prime. Archie Moore was 38 at the time of the fight while Rocky Marciano was 31 years old. would go on to fight. In the unique history of heavyweight prizefighters, this fight will always be remembered. A truly great display of all that makes the division so exciting, the immense strength showcased as the two battled toe to toe goes unparalleled in today’s era.
Archie later accepted the impossibility of winning Marciano when he declared that “fighting Marciano was like trying to walk through a moving airplane propeller.”
Though some commentators believe Archie would have beaten Marciano in his prime. That age really told on him in that fight with the champion who was younger than him.
Archie Moore actually had 42 more fights only losing 3 after his bout with Marciano. Some of his best fights was after that his fight with Marciano.
No doubt, Archie Moore was a tremendous talent and one of the best in light weight boxing history but it’s hard fighting Marciano, a dogged fighter with his awkward style, there really wasn’t a formula to beat him because no one but him fought like that and aside from phenomenal punching power he seems to never run out
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Media Africa or its affiliates.