Dempsey Vs. Marciano

fantasy_fights_dempsey_v_marciano

Paul Daley: A heavyweight fight for the ages, this fantasy fight was brought to my attention by my good friend Chip who requested a number of fights, but this more so than a few of the others peaked my interest. Dempsey and Marciano are two names which are synonymous with the sport, two fighters who at different eras ruled the heavyweight division, Jack from 1919 to 1926 and Rocky from 1952 to 1956.

Listed at number seven (Dempsey) and fourteen (Marciano) respectively in the Ring Magazine’s Top 100 punchers of all time both are known knockout artists so I wouldn’t envisage this fight going the full fifteen / twelve, especially when you add to the mix the styles of each man.

So like the title suggests, who wins? I see the fight starting at a high tempo both men throwing three to land one, Rocky was known throughout his career to be an inaccurate puncher but was totally invested in his power, which was for good reason. Dempsey is a little sharper than Rocky as he beats the Brockton Blockbuster to the punch using his long reach of 77 Inches.

Dempsey up on the scorecards but unable to dent the resolve of Marciano, gets on the back foot, moving all the time to stop the oncoming Marciano from setting his feet. As the seconds tick away to close out the third, Dempsey winning the round makes the mistake of staying on the ropes for a couple of seconds too long as Marciano unloads a three punch combination, two missing its target but the third hammers home as “Manassa Mauler” drops to the canvas, looking hurt he regains his feet with three seconds left on the clock, not enough time for Marciano to finish the contest as one on-looking boxing writer says to his colleague “Do you think that could come back to haunt him?” the immortal words of Jack’s ringing “A Champion Gets Up when He Cant”

Jack looks across to Rocky who shoots him a wry smile that tells him, “Your time’s up Pal.” Jack slowly gets off his stool, as Rocky like a bull waiting for the gate to open is straining at the leash awaiting the referee to signal the start of the round.

Rocky almost runs across the ring to meet Dempsey who crouches down, still feeling the unsteadiness in his legs, instead of moving he’s using head movement to slip the multiple shots coming his way, BANG Jack uncorks his famed left hook that drops Marciano to the seat of his pants, in a reversal of fortunes the wounded as become the hunter as the referee counts to eight before Rocky staggers to his feet. The shot has opened a big cut to Marciano’s eye as blood stains his white trunks, another left hook, right hand combinations drops Rock for the second time in an hellacious round four as Rocky looks up perhaps wondering how the fight had changed so dramatically.

Both men have been hit with big shots but the stories of Dempsey smearing beef brine into his face to harden the skin and the pine to which he chewed to strength this jaw have all served their purpose as he so far looks unmarked.

A look into the corners sees both men breathing heavily, Marciano from the punishment and Dempsey from the energy exerted from trying to close out the contest. The ring doctor takes a look at the cut over the eye of Marciano, with a worried look he begrudgingly lets him continue.

Marciano knows it’s now or never as he backs up Dempsey, a MASSIVE right hand to the top of Dempsey’s head lands as he looks on unsteady legs, BOOM Dempsey answers with another left hook which drops Marciano hard. ………….8,9,10 and Dempsey has done it, he has become the first man to stop Marciano, the first to defeat the man from Massachusetts in a fight which will go down in history as one of the most brutal encounters the world as ever seen, until next time this is Paul Daley signing out.

Like in many of these fantasy fights there is no wrong answer, fights are all based on opinion of the writer but for me Marciano’s record flattered him a little. Dempsey’s does too but based on the styles, reach etc, in the end I went with Dempsey – Dempsey by KO

Jack Dempsey

Nick Jones: This is a fight between two of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Although there were over 30 years between the reign of Dempsey and the reign of Marciano, it seems to me in this day that the eras were very similar. It is a testament to each fighter that their names are still widely familiar throughout the world, not just through boxing circles.

Dempsey was the taller man. He was very fast, especially for a heavyweight and his power is certainly unquestioned. His punch technique allowed him to score some huge knockouts. His fights would usually be over within the first four rounds, as his opponents were unable to stand up against the relentless onslaught. Once Dempsey had his opponent hurt, it would usually be the end for them.
Marciano was well known for being one of the toughest ever and built from rock, shown by only being knocked down twice during his career and being undefeated. His style was to never take a backwards step, but to continually move forward from his southpaw stance throwing big punches. He is well known for his fitness, but was certainly able deliver a knockout punch.

This a very hard fight to call, between two of the toughest. I believe that Dempsey would come out with his usual approach, looking to end the fight in the early rounds. There would certainly be some huge punches landing on each man. The clash between the southpaw and orthodox stance would show and I believe it would allow Marciano to smother much of the work from Dempsey. Once the fight goes past the middle rounds, Marciano would start to wear Dempsey down. Neither fighter would back down and by the end both men would be bloodied and bruised. My prediction would be for the fight to go the distance of 15 rounds, but Marciano to take it and continue undefeated.- Marciano by Decision


James Harte: If blood and guts is your thing, there can be few other fantasy match-ups that make your mouth water like the prospect of former heavyweight champions Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano crossing paths.

Jack Dempsey was brought into the world as William Harrison Dempsey and was born into poverty in the Manassa, Colorado. As a teenager, circumstance forced him to practically live as a hobo where he would find work washing dishes and shining shoes. It wasn’t long though until he found out where his talent lay – becoming a saloon brawler. In a mining town riddled with bars, they appreciate a fighting man, and Dempsey gained a reputation travelling from place to place and slugging his way to his next meal.

By the age of 19 he was a fully fledged professional, first boxing under the name of Kid Blackie before changing to Jack. His rise to the top was diluted with a string of draws and a few losses before in 1949 the heavyweight champion, the massive Jess Willard accepted Dempsey as a challenger. Five inches taller and five stone heavier in weight – Willard was considered a massive pre-fight favourite but Dempsey made an absolute mockery of that and handing the champion an absolute shellacking. Willard was dropped seven times in the first round but retired in the third round.

Rocky Marciano (born Rocco Francis Marciano) is the stuff of legend after compiling a perfect 49-0 record and bowing out of the sport as champion and unbeaten. However, there are many theories that he actually turned professional earlier than it says in the record books – losing a bout before returning under the name of Rocky.

Marciano was born in Massachusetts and was athletically inclined from the get-go, excelling at several sports. Eventually, he wanted to turn professional and went to Al Veil who initially had no faith in Marciano. At 5’10” ¼ he was very short and his initial lack of technique often made him an easy target. Marciano tackled this however, with durability, stamina and brutal punch power.

He was initially nursed through a string of easy wins, so that Marciano’s flaws could be worked on and they initially got a breakthrough fight in 1951 – knocking out his former hero Joe Louis in eight rounds. The following year, he got his chance for title glory against Jersey Joe Walcott. Dropped in the first round, Marciano had to soak up punishment as Walcott boxed beautifully at times until – ahead on points – he was flattened in the 13th round by the now infamous ‘Suzy-Q”.

It’s hard to imagine these pair meeting each other any other way than head on, and there is little evidence either way to suggest who would come out on top. Both were effective in a dogfight and could dig their way out of a hole if needs be. Marciano of course scraped himself off of the deck in the Walcott bout, and Dempsey had an absolute war with Argentinean Luis Firpo. The bout only lasted 237 seconds but Dempsey was down twice before prevailing after dropping Firpo nine times. Marciano also proved how strong his stomach was when his nose was practically sliced into two in his fourth defence in a rematch with Ezzard Charles before winning in eight.

Ultimately, the difference comes against opposition and the length of time served as champion. Marciano was already 42-0 by the time he fought for the title, and generally the people and champions he beat had seen better days. It’s hard to imagine Marciano not holding his own with Dempsey, and you can easily see them both winging wild shots at each other and bouncing each other off of the canvas.

For me, Marciano gets too much credit for a largely manufactured record (especially if you are a believer in the theory mentioned earlier) and people like to simply assume he would beat several of the greats simply because he was never officially beaten. In a bloody and bruising encounter in which both hit the deck, I can see Dempsey drowning Marciano before the bout reaches the championship rounds – Dempsey

Rocky Marciano

Daniel Foley: Now this is one fantasy fight that I’m sure would live up to the massive hype it would create and deliver in style. There’s no doubt that this fight would have been all out action from the first bell until the last. Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano are two of the best heavyweight fighters of all time and both fighters were renowned for having devastating KO power, with both fighters also showing that they can be hit and knocked down on occasion it is easy to see why this fight is so appealing to so many fight fans.

Standing at 6’1 Dempsey would enjoy the height and reach advantage over the 5’10 Marciano, however the weights would be very similar with both men typically weighing in the 190lbs range for most of their professional fights.

To be honest I don’t see the reach being a huge factor in this fight, both fighters will be open in the first rounds as they aggressively hunt each other down . As previously mentioned both men also demonstrated very good recovery abilities in their careers rising up from the canvas and usually coming back to KO their opponents. With power being a big part of each fighters game, I think that conditioning will be the ultimate deciding factor in this fight.

I can see Dempsey starting off strong and taking the early rounds, even getting a knockdown in the process. However Marciano’s recovery ability would allow him to come back and start putting the pressure on Dempsey with those massive hooks and uppercuts he was famous for.

As the fight progresses Marciano’s incredible cardio will see him start to take over the fight as Dempsey shows signs of tiring. As the fight progresses into the later rounds I think all the pressure and heavy shots will eventually break Dempsey and Rocky will walk away with yet another KO in the later rounds in a war of a fight. – Marciano by KO


Tony Nash: Fantasy fights are always intriguing especially in the Heavyweight division, whether it’s Tyson v Ali, Foreman v Louis or another combination of great heavies from yester year. But there’s one fight that has always had me thinking.

Jack Dempsey v Rocky Marciano. Both fighters were evenly matched in height & weight and both were hard punchers.

This fight would have been an all out war. For me Dempsey would have taken the early part of the fight, landing the faster punches as he was quicker than Marciano. During the second half I can see Marciano battling back, his strength & great stamina giving him the edge and frustrating Dempsey.

Heading towards the closing rounds its 50-50 and I have changed my mind a few times and even with that second half come back I’m going with Dempsey…Just! The man for me was brutal and that brutality would see him score a late stoppage over Marciano – Dempsey By TKO


Tim Ellis: Tough tough one to call for me as I don’t know heaps about Dempsey but I do know he loved to brawl. I would have to go with Rocky by SD in a back an forth fight for the ages.


Lee Thornton – When I first heard about this match up I was very excited . Jack Dempsey vs Rocky Marciano I always felt would be a very close contested fight. Jack Dempsey was a fighter who was aggressive, a good puncher and used the bob and weave style as well.

Rocky Marciano was a guy who had a ton of heart, Power puncher and ended his career undefeated. Although some boxing fans always point to Marciano’s level of competition faced throughout his career as being lackluster.

I see Dempsey using his bob and weaving style early on in this fight and I feel he lands early and often in the early stages in this fight . I see Dempsey winning early on the first half of the fight by round 8.

Jack has won 6 rounds and Marciano has won 2 rounds. So far Dempsey’s superior speed is causing some issues for Rocky.

Rounds 9 &10 are excellent rounds as Dempsey has Marciano up against the ropes and both of them are trading big shots. Round 10 goes to Marciano as he wobbles Dempsey at the end of the round. Round 11 starts and Marciano charges at Dempsey cuts off the ring and starts unloading some big shots. He has taken the best Dempsey has given and he now has all the momentum.

Marciano again this round backs up Dempsey and catches him with a huge right hand and down goes Dempsey, the referee counts and Dempsey is unable to get up. Dempsey had the better skills but I feel Marciano would break him down in later rounds – Marciano KO12


Steve Haigh – Difficult to call this fight,lets argue its a 15 rounder. I think Dempsey had the better reach, speed & boxing but both had great strength & power of which are really cruiserweights in todays game.

Common sense says The Manassa Mauler (Dempsey) should box and use educated attacks as he had an advantage in the speed department and build up a lead but given the nature of both men I would say a tear up is inevitable at some stage,maybe around the half way point as Rocky starts to find his range and gets to Dempsey’s midsection mixing it up to the head & body, Dempsey starts to slow and the lead is diminishing but Marciano is marked up with Dempsey’s earlier success.

Round 13 of 15 Both men are close on the cards,The Brockton Blockbuster has Dempsey on the ropes both men are engaged in trading shots then Rocky lands an uppercut dazing Dempsey momentarily as he stumbles into the corner, he tries to return fire but before his senses have returned he takes a left hook and the knees dip.

Rocky pauses to find his range with the left then lands the “Suzie Q” right hand, Dempsey goes down and due to the nature of the earlier exchanges just fails to rise before the count with less than a minute on the clock – Rocky Marciano KO13 in a grueling fight.