02 May 2013
Don Cockell vs. Rocky Marciano (1955)
Balham's own Don Cockell was British, Commonwealth and European Heavyweight Champion when he faced Rocky Marciano, the World Heavyweight Champion, in San Francisco in 1955.
Cockell went into the fight a 10-1 underdog and was outclassed by Marciano who, nevertheless, paid tribute to Cockell after the fight:
"He's got a lot of guts. I don't think I ever hit anyone else any more often or harder."
Cockell never recovered from this loss and was defeated in his next two fights, surrendering his titles as he did so.
However his final act as boxer was a win.
The Daily Mail had accused him of being unprepared for his last fight and described him as 'overweight and flabby.'
Cockell sued the newspaper, receiving £7,500 damages and his costs.