|An Ancient Art (Photo: Marsyas)|
Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano in 1923, he went on to be the World Heavyweight Champion for almost four solid years (from September 1952 to April 1956). Wikipedia reports that Marciano defended this title six times (that's Rocky V plus I in Hollywood terms).
This glory would not have been his had Marciano succumbed to the pneumonia that almost killed him as an infant. Nor would it have been his had he not worked hard at physical challenges throughout his growing years. As a youth, Marciano played baseball and worked out with weights. Later in life, he became a Charles Atlas client. He also worked as a chute man and a ditch digger.
However, many have worked and played hard, but few have attained Marciano's heights. Was there something else to account for his terrific
success? Marciano certainly seemed to believe so.
In his book Rocky Marciano: The Rock of His Times, Russell Sullivan describes Marciano as "a God-fearing man." His mother was said to have guided him in the teachings of the Roman Catholic religion. Marciano would attend Mass during his training camps. He was also known to have fallen to his knees while praying to Saint Anthony - and to have covered his chin and hands with St. Jude's oil - before his first fight with Walcott. Before his autumn 1953 fight with LaStarza, Marciano was seen reading The Confessions of St. Augustine. He regularly kept company with priests, and even dined with then-Cardinal Spellman of New York.
Copyright September 1, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved