The son of poor Italian immigrants, with short arms and stubby legs, Rocky Marciano accomplished a feat that eluded legendary heavyweight champions like Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson: He never lost a professional fight. His record was a perfect 49-0.
Unbeaten is the story of this remarkable champion who overcame injury, doubt, and the schemes of corrupt promoters to win the title in a bloody and epic battle with Jersey Joe Walcott in 1952. Rocky packed a devastating punch with an innocent nickname, “Suzie Q,” against which there was no defense. As the champ, he came to know presidents and movie stars—and the organized crime figures who dominated the sport, much to his growing disgust. He may have “stood out in boxing like a rose in a garbage dump,” as one sportswriter said, but he also fought his own private demons.
In the hands of the award-winning journalist and biographer Mike Stanton, Unbeaten is more than just a boxing story. It’s a classic American tale of immigrant dreams, exceptional talent wedded to exceptional ambitions, compromises in the service of a greater good, astounding success, disillusionment, and a quest to discover what it all meant.
"Stanton is so good at describing the shadowy boxing world of Providence in the late 1940s and early ’50s you can almost smell the cigar smoke. For Unbeaten is far more than just a sports book, or even a biography of an iconic American sports figure. It’s a book about a certain time and place, an extremely well done book about a slice of American life that too rarely gets written about."—Providence Journal
“Rocky Marciano was a legendary champion whose path to glory was so much more complicated than his undefeated record suggests. And his story transcends sports; it’s a window into a changing America in the middle of the twentieth century.”—Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy and Casino
“Sitting down in the ring with Muhammad Ali to share slices of grapefruit, visiting the dying mob boss Vito Genovese in a Kansas prison—Mike Stanton’s book on Rocky Marciano teems with marvelous scenes and revealing insights into the chaotic boxing world of the unbeaten heavyweight champ.”—David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
“A satisfying biography of the iconic boxer, the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated. . . [and] a sturdy contribution to the literature of the sweet science, reminding readers of a bygone era of fighting.”—Kirkus Reviews
Reviews from Goodreads
The Terrific Three
Rocky Marciano wore out a pair of shoes the way he wore out his opponents in the ring.
Running tirelessly through the streets of his childhood in Brockton, Massachusetts, he chased a dream...