9 FACTS ABOUT ROCKY MARCIANO & JOE LOUIS

Learn more about Rocky Marciano and Joe Louis with these facts.

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Marciano was born Rocco Francis Marchegiano. He was encouraged by his manager Al Weill to change his last name so it was easier to pronounce.

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Rocky Marciano stood at 5’11” and 184 lbs. with a reach of 67 inches, which was the shortest reach of any heavyweight champion. Louis stood at 6’2″ and 210 lbs. with a reach of 76 inches.

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In May 1950, Joe Louis had no choice but to return to boxing after the IRS audited Louis and found that he owed the government over $500,000 between penalties and interest.

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Louis, who was guaranteed $300,000 to fight Marciano, headed into the bout as the favorite, but many boxing insiders doubted he would walk away victorious.

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Ruby Goldstein, who was the referee for the match, was a personal friend of Joe Louis and toured Army bases with him during World War II.

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Growing up, Louis was Rocky’s idol. After Marciano knocked out Louis in the eighth round, it has been said he approached him in the dressing room and said: “I’m sorry Joe.”

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Not only was Joe Louis a champion boxer, but he was also an avid golfer. In 1952, he was invited to play in the San Diego Open and became the first African-American to play in a PGA Tour event.

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Marciano was killed in an airplane accident on his way to a surprise birthday celebration on August 31, 1969. The following day, September 1st, would have marked his 46th birthday.

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Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings, was named after the legendary boxer and the area surrounding Madison Square Garden is known as Joe Louis Plaza.