This Day in Boxing

This Day July 28, 1952 Rocky Marciano KOs Harry Matthews

Rocky Marciano KOs Harry Matthews This Day July 28, 1952

Marciano one step closer to a shot at the heavyweight crown




Rocky Marciano 187½ lbs

Harry Matthews 179 lbs

KO at 2:04 in round 2 of 10

Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, USA

Referee: Ray Miller



A crowd of 31,118 produced a gate of $220,000.

Each fighter received 30% of the gate.

Marciano was a solid 2 to 1 favorite.

There was no radio, television or theater TV for the fight.

Rocky Marciano crumpled Harry Matthews, the pride of the great Northwest, with two crunching left hooks to the jaw tonight to score a spectacular knockout win in 2:04 of the second round at Yankee stadium.

Earning a September title shot at the heavyweight champion, Jersey Joe Walcott, 27-year-old Rocky, unbeaten in forty-two straight fights, dumped Matthews flat on his back in his own corner—almost in the lap of his manager, Jack Hurley, with the two thundering hooks.

The 29-year-old Matthews from Seattle, unbeaten since 1943, wore a bewildered expression on his pain-drawn face as he went down with his head against the ropes. Gamely trying to gather his numbed senses, Matthews clawed at the ropes as he tried to pull himself off the deck. As the West coast fighter started to rise, he collapsed over the bottom strand like a limp rag doll. Referee Ray Miller tolled off the final ten.

Weaving low in a Dempsey-style attack, the pride of Brockton, Mass., drove to the attack from the opening bell. A scowling slugger, with mouth agape, the brawny son of a shoemaker beat a crushing attack on Matthews’s jaw. Marciano weighed 187½ and Matthews 179. With an 8½-pound advantagp in the weights, Marciano bulled the counter-punching Matthews around the ring with his wild but numbing punches.

For the first minutes of this battle, fought in 85-degree heat, Matthews’» sharp counters ripped to Marciano’s body and head. Yet they never once slowed the attack of the aroused Rocky. The tipoff came midway in the first round when Harry the Kid struck three straight jabs to Marciano’s fare and then caught him lunging in with a beautiful straight right to the jaw. The Rock from New England never blinked but continued his bull­ like march.

Another Matthews counter right, short and sharp, thudded home to Rocky’s wash-board tummy but the barrage continued. Just before the bell ended the first, Rocky shot home two stiff right-hand punches that seemed to hurt Matthews. And there was a hurried consultation in the corner between the fighter and Hurley, his mastermind.

Matthews, only four pounds over the light heavyweight limit, simply was not big enough or strong enough to withstand the zinging power of this blockbuster from Brockton. Marciano was made to look like a novice at times in the first as the stylish Matthews, a real slicker, jabbed straight and true while his opponent’s gloves cut only the air. But it seemed all the while, it was only a matter of time until Rocky caught up with him.


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