There have been a lot of spectacular knockouts in the history of boxing, but none quite as pure as Rocky Marciano’s first round K.O. of Jersey Joe Walcott back in ’53.
After landing a knockout punch, a boxer will instinctually keep hitting his teetering opponent. They’re trained to compete until the ref stops it. But Marciano connected so clean, so pure, that he just turned around and walked away, thinking, “Ain’t nobody gettin’ up from that.”
In the video below, you can see Walcott’s corner (surrounded by a cadre of doctors who aren’t even sure if Walcott is breathing at this point) cause a minor ruckus over the fight being stopped prematurely, but Jersey Joe didn’t want anything more to do with Marciano.
Probably because just a year earlier, Rocky Marciano had delivered another devastating shot to Walcott.
Behind on points in the 13th round, Marciano summoned a tremendous right hand that knocked Walcott out cold, rendering Marciano the new heavyweight champion of the world – a title he wouldn’t relinquish until retiring years later.
With his limp body tangled in the ropes, Walcott looks more like a corpse than a man. And the ref still has the audacity to give him a 10 count?! Watch the whole thing here:
After defeating Jersey Joe Walcott for the second time in 1953, Marciano would go on to defend his heavyweight title five times before retiring in 1956 at age 32 with a professional record of 49-0.
In addition to being undefeated in his professional career, Rocky Marciano has the highest knockout percentage of any heavyweight champion in history with 87.8%.
Tragically, Marciano was killed in on the eve of his 46th birthday in 1969, when the small plane he was traveling in crashed en route to Des Moines, Iowa.
But he will live forever in our hearts and minds as one of the greatest champions the sport of boxing has ever seen.