Heavyweight greats risking their well being and legacies in ill-advised comeback fights could really feel like a trendy phenomenon, however the Boxing News archives reveals that in 1966 Rocky Marciano was contemplating it
HEAVYWEIGHT greats risking their well being and legacies in ill-advised comeback fights could really feel like a trendy phenomenon, however again in 1966, phrase had it that Rocky Marciano was set to danger his excellent 49-0 file with a ring return at age 43. Although Rocky would have been 15 years youthful than Holyfield was for his disastrous exhibition bout final month, solutions of the Rock re-entering the ring raised greater than a few eyebrows.
“Talk of Rocky Marciano planning a comeback is ridiculous,” thundered BN reader Joseph Simon on our letters web page. “Does Marciano, at the age of 43, seriously believe he can beat any top contender, let alone Clay? He is supposed to have had three private fights and forced all three into retirement. If this is true, it still wouldn’t mean anything because I believe two of the boxers to be Wayne Bethea and Bob Foster. Both second-raters. Marciano was the best of his day and I hope he doesn’t dent his image by choosing to follow Jim Jeffries.”
While Mr Simon’s evaluation of Foster was wildly unsuitable (regardless of failing to make the grade at heavyweight, Bob would turn into an all-time light-heavy nice), and his use of Clay (as an alternative of Ali) two years old-fashioned, it’s arduous to argue with his views on a Marciano comeback 11 years after Rocky’s final battle. Thankfully, the comeback by no means occurred, though a digital comeback of kinds occurred when Marciano and Ali met in a health club in 1969, to behave out strikes for a fantasy battle whose final result can be decided by a laptop. The outcome remained a strict secret till the movie’s cinematic launch. The so-called “Super Fight” was screened in 1970, when US and Canadian audiences noticed Marciano KO Ali within the thirteenth spherical. How this final result was determined is unclear, however tragically Rocky was not alive to see it. He had died in a aircraft crash the earlier 12 months, aged 45.
On the home entrance, in that week in 1966 there have been a number of notables in motion. At London’s Anglo-American Sporting Club on October 17, Ayr’s Evan Armstrong, the reigning Scottish bantamweight champion, confirmed his potential as a menace to British titlist Walter McGowan by the best way he dealt with Nigeria’s Orizu Obilaso, who retired in three. “If [Armstrong] can maintain his strength at the bantam limit and tighten his defence, he could trouble most of the leading men in Europe,” wrote BN’s reporter. Evan would problem unsuccessfully for Alan Rudkin’s British crown in June 1969, then captured the featherweight title with a Twelfth-round KO of Jimmy Revie in July 1971. He beat José Legrá for European feather honours the next February, and gained a Lonsdale Belt outright.
Also preventing in London that night, rising light-weight Ken Buchanan made it 14 straight wins as a professional, outscoring Brazil’s Antonio Paiva over 10 rounds on the NSC. Remarking on Buchanan’s improvement, BN famous: “From being a versatile all-round fighter with a useful offensive right-hand punch, the Scot has been turned into almost a carbon copy of his stablemate, Howard Winstone.” British, European and world title glory lay forward for Ken, however he wasn’t the one future titlist on the invoice.
There was additionally a six-rounder between Willie Turkington of Belfast and Bunny Sterling of St Pancras. Turkington outpointed Bunny handy the London-based Jamaican his second defeat in two professional bouts. Sterling would lose his third battle as effectively, earlier than mounting a exceptional profession turnaround. In 1968, he was topped Southern Area middleweight king, and in 1970 grew to become the primary immigrant British titlist for the reason that BBBofC’s formation. He would win a Lonsdale Belt outright, plus the European crown.