Rocky Marciano Remains the Only Undefeated Heavyweight Champion

Rocky Marciano gave this pendant to actor/comedian Joey Bishop, who then gifted it to Sylvester Stallone after the first Rocky film came out in 1976. The pendant realized $25,000 at a December 2015 Heritage auction.

By Jim O’Neal

On Sept, 21, 1955, Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano defeated Light Heavy Champion Archie Moore for his 49th consecutive win.

Exactly 30 years later to-the-day, IBF Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes was a strong favorite to tie Marciano’s win-streak record, but lost in a stunning upset to Michael Spinks.

Marciano defended his championship six times and was never beaten in his career. In 1951, he beat 37-year-old Joe Louis in an upset and Louis retired … permanently … after the fight.

Marciano had a remarkable KO record of 87.75 percent and only one boxer – Ezzard Charles – was able to last 15 rounds.

On Aug. 31, 1969 – a day before his 46th birthday – Marciano died in a tragic plane crash near Newton, Iowa (en route to Des Moines). The pilot hit a tree two miles short of the runway.

Marciano remains the only undefeated Heavyweight Champion, 49-0, and boxing experts rank him No. 9 or No. 10 on the all-time best list. He was the inspiration for the Rocky film series that Sylvester Stallone used to great advantage.

Jim O'NielIntelligent Collector blogger JIM O’NEAL is an avid collector and history buff. He is President and CEO of Frito-Lay International [retired] and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Restaurants International [KFC Pizza Hut and Taco Bell].