Folks in Brockton, MA, loves them some Rocky Marciano. Just last September, they got another ton—two tons to be exact—to love when a 22-foot statue of the Brockton Blockbuster was erected in town. The monument was a gift from the World Boxing Council and the unveiling timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Rocky’s victory over Jersey Joe Walcott. At the time, Ring magazine named the bout its fight of the year, and it won Rocky Marciano the title of heavyweight champion of the world.
It’s a title Marciano really seemed to embrace, according to records available on Ancestry.com.
Rocco Francis Marchegiano was born in 1924 and grew up in Brockton with his family. There are six of them at home in the 1940 census: Peter (Pierino), Lena (Pasqalina), Alice, Concetta, Elizabeth, and Louis. (As a side note, they’re a tough lot to find. The census enumerator made an attempt at spelling the family’s surname phonetically, which came out as Markiajohn.)
Nineteen forty-three found Rocky in the military, putting his “Unskilled construction occupations” to work for the U.S. Army and discovering boxing. Shortly after he got out, Marciano started making his living with his fists, and the 1951 Brockton City Directory listed his profession as “professional boxer.”
He used the same designation in 1954 when he applied for membership in the Brockton Massachusetts Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in America. On the form, he listed his occupation as Heavyweight Champ World.
And why not? After all, when you’re the heavy weight champion of the world, who’s going to argue? And if you’re Brockton, when your homeboy’s got swagger like that, what’s not to love?
About Jeanie Croasmun
Jeanie Croasmun has been working at Ancestry.com while futilely attempting to prove the horse thief story in her family history for over seven years. During that time, she learned enough about her family to determine that the story is likely a great work of fiction. But the search continues ...