If Floyd Mayweather, as expected, beats Andre Berto in Las Vegas on September 12, his professional record of 49 wins from 49 fights will equate to that of the late, great Rocky Marciano. But some of the latter’s family members have shared harsh views on the man known as Money as his final bout edges closer.
Peter Marciano, Rocky’s brother, and Rocky Marciano Jr., his son, were speaking to USA Today (h/t Josh Peter of BoxingJunkie.com) when the former was asked if Rocky, revered as a gentleman, would be ready to congratulate Mayweather on equaling his record. Peter insisted he personally is not quite so gracious.
“I guess I’m maybe just not as charitable as that,” said Peter. “I absolutely, unequivocally will tell you that I would like to see (Mayweather) get beat.”
The pair then went on to address suggestions from Mayweather’s father that Marciano fought “bums” on his way to an immaculate 49-fight professional career. Peter claimed his brother was a much more entertaining sportsman than the man bidding to equal his record.
“He’s not an exciting fighter,” said Marciano’s brother when quizzed on Mayweather. “He’s just a great defensive fighter, a master. And that equates to very uninteresting boxing matches.”
Marciano Jr. also chipped in when asked about Mayweather’s final fight, insisting the mediocre standard of opponent does make it feel anticlimactic. He also compared his father’s own high-octane, unrelenting approach to boxing to the tactics employed by Floyd:
I feel disappointed. When he’s had control of his career, he’s been able to pick and choose the fighters just like he picked Berto. There’s probably some other fighters that would maybe give him more of a challenge.
If my father’s guilty of anything, he’s guilty of fighting whoever they put in front of him. He wanted a shot at the championship, and whatever roadblock they put in front of him, he confronted and overcame. …
My father basically stalked you the whole fight. If you watch (tapes of) my father, he very rarely took a step backward. He was always moving forward, following a fighter, chasing him around.
Indeed, Mayweather has often been accused of cherry-picking opponents throughout his career, and the bout against Berto, who has lost three of his previous six fights, has done little to shed that reputation. But the undefeated champion’s May win over Manny Pacquiao did plenty to silence those doubters who expected the Filipino to be the first to beat Mayweather.
However, The Fight Guru still thinks Marciano’s path to the top was a much more difficult one than Mayweather’s:
Here’s a look back at why Marciano is heralded as one of the most entertaining heavyweight fighters of all time:
It’s noted by Peter that after Marciano retired in 1956 because there were “no opponents left challenging enough to inspire” the iconic fighter, he did get back into the ring in 1969 alongside the legendary Muhammad Ali to film shots for a fantasy fight between the two. It was dubbed the "The Super Fight," and the outcome was eventually determined via a computer process.
Marciano won the fight based on the projection, but the affinity between the two men at a time in history when racial tensions were running high is what resonates with his brother. “The respect they had for each other was something to behold,” said Peter. “This was genuine respect.”
The pair were even planning to embark on a tour of the United States, using their own friendship as a vessel to abate racial angst. But sadly, Marciano died in a plane crash not long after they struck up their bond.
One of the most intriguing facets of boxing is debating who would come out on top between fighters from certain eras and which fighters from contrasting time periods have the better record. So on the cusp of Mayweather achieving this landmark, it’s no surprise that he and Marciano are being compared.
Still, it’s a shame to see tension between the two camps, and a little more tact wouldn’t go amiss moving forward. After all, these figures so closely associated with such giants of the sport have plenty of shared experience, and as such, boxing fans around the world would love to see a bit more mutual respect.