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Former Heavyweight Champion
Dies in Light Plane.
Brockton Native on Way
to Speaking Engagement

Rocky Marciano
Killed in Crash


NEWTON, Iowa (UPI) - Rocky
Marciano of Brockton, Mass.,
first and only heavyweight boxing
champion to complete his career
undefeated, was killed last night
in a light plane crash in central
Iowa. His 46th birthday would
have been today. Today is also
the birthday of Marciano's widow,
the former Barbara Cousens of

Jasper County deputies said Mar-
ciano and two Des Moines men,
identified as Frank Farrell and
Glen Beltz, were killed outright
when the single-engine Cessna, 172
lost power, struck a tree and
crashed into a farm pasture.

Sheriff Darrell Hurley said the
two Des Moines men apparently
had flown to Chicago to pick up
Marciano for a speaking engage-
ment in Des Moines.

Marciano's body was trap-
ped in the wreckage of the light
plane. The bodies of the other
two men where thrown clear.

Marciano compiled a perfect
record of 49 victories as a
heavyweight before retiring
as undefeated champion
on April 27, 1956. He won the
world heavyweight crown Sept.
23, 1952 by knocking out
Jersey Joe Walcott in 13
rounds at Philadelphia.

Known as the Brockton Block-
buster, Mariano announced
his retirement April 27, 1956.
His last bout took place Sept.
23, 1955, when he successfully
defended his title by stopping
Archie Moore in nine rounds
in New York.

The popular Marciano, son
of a shoe factory worker,
started his professional boxing
career in 1947. During his
colorful career he earned more
than $4 million.

The black-hair slugger
known for his ability to absord
punishment in the ring and to
dish it out, was elected in the
Boxing Hall of Fame in 1959.

Following his retirement he
took on a number of business
ventures and moved to Florida.
The ex-champion traveled ex-
tensively fulfilling speaking
engagements. He also made
frequent appearances at major
boxing centers such as Madi-
son Square Garden. The for-
mer champion also did some

He defended his title six
times and won 43 of his bouts
by knockouts.

Former heavyweight champ
Sonny Liston, reached at his
Las Vegas home, called Mar-
ciano "one of the greatest
champs there ever was." He
last saw Marciano a month

Curtis Cokes, former welter-
weight champion of the world,
learned of Marciano's death at
his Dallas nightclub and called
his death, "a terrible, terrible
loss." Cokes, who said he was
a personal friend of marciano's
said"... we used to sit and
talk about boxing. He was a
very fine person. A fine champ-
pion and a fine man; boxing
will be hurt."

Hurley said the crash oc-
curred about 1 1/2 miles from
the Newton Municipal Airport.
Newton, a community of just
over 13,000, is about 25 miles
east of Des Moines.

Mrs. Colleen Swarts, a far-
mers wife who lives near the
crash scene, said she saw the
lights of the plane directly
over her home about 9 p.m.

"The motor stopped and
kind of sputtered again and I
lost sight of the plane behind
the trees," Mrs. Swarts said.
"Then I heard a loud crash
and I just knew what had hap-

Mrs. Swarts said darkness
prevented her from determin-
ing the altitude of the four
seat plane.

The names of the victims
were withheld by authorities
for several hours after the
crash. The scene was quickly
sealed off by Federal Aviation
Adminsistration officals inves-
tigating the crash.

When Marciano retired as
heavyweight champion he had
held the crown for three and a
half years and defended it six
times. He won it Sept. 23, 1952
with a 13-round knockout of
Jersey Joe Walcott. Deep in-
side him burned a fierce pride
in the title.

"What could be better than
walking down any street in any
city and knowing that you are
the champion?" he once asked.

Comfortably fixed financially,
he said he retired in order to
have more time with his
family. In the preceding four
years he had spent a total of
only five months with his wife.
His visits to his Brockton home
were so infrequent that he had
to be "introduced" to his
daughter, Mary Anne, each
time. She was 3 1/2 when he de-
cided to retire.

Although his purses totalled
around $4 million before taxes
and his manager's cut, Rocky,
a devoted family man, was al-
ways careful with his money.

He insisted that, "having a
complete and dire emer-
gency," he never would be
lured to the comeback trail. His
eight-round knockout victory
over Joe Louis had sent that
former champion back into
retirement permanently. Rocky
thought Louis' comeback try
was a mistake.

The "Brockton Blockbuster"
started his ring career while in
the army during World War II.
Even before he took up box-
ing he tamed a camp bully in
Wales, where he was stationed.

"That fellow had been mak-
ing things unpleasant for a lot
of the boys," Marciano re-
lated, and they "kept asking
me to take him on and give
him a lesson."

"No, I wasn't boxing then,"
he continued, "but I had a
reputation of being a tough
guy because I was pretty
rough in football and baseball
games. I also had some ses-
sions with three wrestlers who
tried to pin me and couldn't."

Rocky Marciano Killed in Crash
Boston Hearld Traveler
September 1, 1969

Rocky Marciano Killed in Crash
Boston Hearld Traveler
September 1, 1969

Rocky Marciano
(September 1, 1923 - August 31, 1969)
Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano, was
the heavyweight champion of the world
from 1952 to 1956.

Plane Crash
Plane Crash that killed Rocky Marciano

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