Boxer Rocky Marciano (1923-1969), who held the heavyweight boxing title for four years during the 1950s, is the only boxing champion to ever retire undefeated. Certain names always come up, and always will come up, when boxing fans discuss the question of who was the greatest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey are all names which have their supporters. So is Rocky Marciano, who held the title for four years in the 1950s and who has one accomplishment no other heavyweight champ can claim: He is the only one ever to retire undefeated. Marciano-header Boxing Not First Choice Marciano was born Rocco Francis Marchegiano on September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts. His father, Pierino, worked at a shoe factory. His mother’s name was Pasqualena, and Rocky would spend much of his life making sure she didn’t have to live in the poverty Rocky knew growing up. Rocky was a typical American kid growing up, playing baseball and football and dreaming of a professional career in one of those sports. He didn’t take up boxing until after 1943, when he was drafted into the army. He took the sport up mainly as a way to avoid KP (assisting the cooks) and other less desirable activities, but he showed a natural ability and fought as an amateur following his discharge in 1946. Marciano-baseball (Photo Tries Baseball In 1947 Marciano had a tryout with the Chicago Cubs as a catcher, but was let go because he couldn’t make the throw from home plate to second base with accuracy. It was the end of his baseball dreams, and the following year he turned professional in the ring. By the spring of 1949 his boxing skills had garnered some attention, as he knocked out his first 16 opponents. The quality of his opponents improved over the latter half of 1949 and 1950, but Marciano continued to beat all comers, knocking out most of them.