September 24th, 1953 was a historic day for boxing. Rocky Marciano impressively finished Roland LaStarza’s in the 11th round. This fight was the second title defense for Rocky’s heavyweight reign, and pushed his professional record to 45 and 0. Roland was a four to one underdog going into the fight. But this didn’t stop the challenger from putting on an amazing performance.
This historic fight was the second time these two battled each other. Their first meeting was in March of 1950. Roland and Rocky fought for 10 rounds in a split decision victory for Rocky. In the fourth round, Rocky knocked Roland to the floor. However, Rocky was deducted a point for a low blow in the eighth round. This made the scorecard closer than anticipated. But what hurt Rocky in the first fight was the turning point in the 1953 showdown.
September 24th, 1953 was an amazing day for boxing. Over 30 cities across America broadcasted the fight in movie theaters, which wasn’t the norm in those days. New Orleans’ Saegner Theatre hosted over 3,000 people to watch Rocky vs. Roland; this was the first time New Orleans broadcasted a fight on the big screen. The showdown lived up to expectations.
Many believed Rocky would overwhelm the challenger. Roland was 53 and 3 at this point in his career. He was an amazing fighter with 24 TKO/KO finishes. Roland was a valid challenger, but many believed the legendary fighter, Rocky Marciano, would dominate; this wouldn’t be the case.
Roland out boxed the champion in the early rounds. He was doing a great job avoiding Rocky’s devastating right hand punches. Roland would win four of the first six rounds. Rocky had a rough start. He desperately tried to land knockout blows, but was unsuccessful. In the sixth, similar to the first meeting, Rocky lost a point for a low blow. The game plan needed some adjusting, and that is just what the champion did.
The sound of the seventh round showcased a new and improved Rocky. The strategy to land one devastating punch was no longer. Rocky would attack the body with combinations. He would continue to wear on the challenger. Roland was abused for the last five rounds before the referee stepped in. The fight was thoroughly entertaining.
Rocky Mariano retired with a record of 49 and 0; this was a record for many years. Mayweather broke this record, among many others, in his 50th fight against McGregor. Rocky was paid around $185,000. That is about 1.6 million today.