Those of you that feared yet another foray into the seemingly endless saga of fictional boxer Rocky Balboa will be pleasantly surprised that this feature length film will be a bio pic about the “real” ring legend, Rocky Marciano.
Marciano was an iconic heavyweight boxer out of Brockton, Massachusetts who was undefeated (49-0-0) when he retired in in 1956 at the age of 32. He’s credited as the only heavyweight professional boxer to retire undefeated and he defended his title six times. Marciano began his boxing career in the Army where he found success and was encouraged to step into the professional ranks. Early in his career Rocky changed his last name from Machegiano (birth name) to Marciano because the ring announcer could not pronounce it.
Since his untimely death in a 1969 plane crash, the town has all but forgotten their star athlete. In May of 1999 the town declared “Rocky Marciano Month- Celebration of a Hometown Hero.” The U.S. Postal Service released a postage stamp in his honor that same year. In September 2012 a larger than life statute was dedicated in Brockton. One was also erected in Ripa Teatina, Italy, which was the birth place of Marciano’s father.
The next act of commemoration will be on the silver screen. The Marciano Family agreed to sign with a Tennessee based film company called City of Peace Films. Director Dustin Marcellino was inspired to do the film because Marciano was one of his grandfather’s favorite boxers.
This will be the third movie to attempt a depiction of the life and story of Rocky Marciano. Family and fans were reportedly unimpressed with the first two made for TV films. The first of the two was a 1979 ABC TV movie called “Maricano,” starring Tony Lo Bianco and the second was 1999 Showtime movie “Rocky Marciano,” starring Jon Favreau. There’s no word yet on who will play Marciano in the new film, which is scheduled to be finished in 2016.
It is also worth noting that Rocky Marciano, who was also of Italian descent, is credited for being an inspiration for the character of Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone in the feture film and it’s subsequent sequels “Rocky”. Fans of the film may even recall that Marciano is also mentioned in the movies as a hero to the fictional Rocky Balboa character.