Boxing Only

69 years ago

Rocky Marciano vs Don Cockell

Rocky Marciano vs Don Cockell

Date: 16th May 1955

Venue: Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, California

Title: World Heavyweight Title

Promoter: Jimmy Murray

Tv: Closed Circuit TV

Rocky Marciano
( 47 - 0 - 0 )
Weight: 189 lbs

Don Cockell
( 66 - 11 - 1 )
Weight: 205 lbs

On May 16, 1955, the Kezar Stadium in San Francisco was abuzz with an attendance of 18,000 as undefeated Heavyweight Champion, Rocky Marciano, put his title on the line for the fifth time, this time against Britain's Don Cockell. The bout was broadly available through closed-circuit television, reaching 83 theaters in 59 cities. Marciano, the Brockton native, came in lighter at 189 lbs compared to Cockell's 205 lbs, despite having a superior record of 47-0-0 as compared to Cockell's 66-11-1.

The contract conditions stipulated that Marciano would receive 40% of the net gate earnings, with Cockell getting 20%. The fight began intensely and would progress to become one of Marciano's most notorious battles. Cockell, hailing from Battersea, London, found himself in significant trouble by the eighth round. The reigning champ Marciano sent Cockell crashing headfirst through the ropes, an ominous sign of the impending end for the challenger.

The ninth round saw the climax of Marciano's onslaught. The Brockton Blockbuster floored Cockell twice more before referee Frankie Brown called a halt to the proceedings, awarding Marciano a TKO victory 54 seconds into the ninth round. This was Marciano's fifth successful title defense, maintaining his pristine, unbeaten record.

After the match, Cockell and his management expressed frustration with the officiating. They claimed they had been given a "raw deal," alleging that referee Brown had allowed Marciano to fight dirty. The purported infractions included headbutting, hitting low, and punching after the bell, all of which seemed to go unnoticed or unaddressed by the referee. Marciano, nevertheless, praised Cockell's skill, speed, and ability to make him miss and then counter.

However, this bout would remain controversial long after the final bell. In April 1956, the chief investigator for the California Governor's special committee, investigating boxing, accused promoter Jimmy Murray of shortchanging both fighters. They alleged that Murray had paid $10,000 "on the side" to Al Weill, Marciano's manager. Both Murray and Weill denied these allegations, further muddying the waters surrounding this contentious event.

Rocky Marciano vs Don Cockell on YouTube

Rocky Marciano vs Don Cockell

Related Links