Ultimate Fighting

The real city of champions isn't the one you think.

7852304062_05ce621ef5_bPhoto: Boston Public Library

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oston has tried to co-opt the title City of Champions, but it was long ago beaten to the punch by underestimated Brockton, home of both world heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano (above; his real name was Rocco Francis Marchegiano) and world middleweight champ “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler. High school teams nicknamed the Brockton Boxers play in Marciano Stadium, even though he himself dropped out and worked in a shoe factory like his father; it was not until 1947, when he was 24, that he began to box. Marciano knocked out former heavyweight champ Joe Louis in 1951 and, in 1952, took down Jersey Joe Walcott in Philadelphia to win the world championship. Rocky Marciano’s boyhood home is at 168 Dover St. and the boxing gloves and shoes he wore while fighting Walcott are in the city historical museum.

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Rocky Marciano retired in 1959 with a 49-0 record, 43 of them knockouts. He died in an airplane crash on August 31, 1969.

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