Valuev and Marciano – comparatively speaking

nikolay valuevBy David Bloch – 11/04/2007: Rocky Marciano was a class act. Forget about his 88% knock out ratio. Forget about his 49-0 undefeated fight record.

Rocky Marciano overcame his physical and technical limitations to become the Heavyweight boxing champion of the world through sheer determination, focus, iron fists and no shortage of granite in his unquestionable chin.

Despite a small stature of just 5'9, ranging between 175-190lbs and one of the most technically flawed fight styles in any undisputed champion of any weight, Rocky Marciano was able to beat much bigger, more technically talented boxers throughout his entire career. Untimely death has a morbidly curious way of bolstering the legacy and memories of those it touches, yet for Marciano, death need not have taken him so young.

Already revered for his slugging style, the respect he showed to all of his opponents, his blue collar, workman like persona and above all else, class and compassion to help his fellow man

Marciano broke down in tears following his TKO win against Joe Louis. A fight in which Marciano was pitted against his idol; he felt nothing but his heart break when he ended the career of arguably the best heavyweight boxer of all time. Later on, as Joe Louis suffered financial problems, Marciano was quick to assist him in any way he could.

On the other side of the scale, Nicolay Valuev has anything but physical limitations.

Nicolay Valuev, too, is a class act.

Forget about the disputed decisions

Forget about the 46-0 undefeated record

Ironically, like the man whose record he could potentially break, Nicolay Valuev has overcome his own limitations with sheer determination, focus and no shortage of intelligence.

His immense size has a cruel side effect, a lack of agility and co-ordination.

Valuev could train for a thousand years and never possess the agility of a normal man, let alone a highly trained boxer.

His co-ordination often looks clumsy, due to how exaggerated the size of his body makes his movements look.

As such, Valuev has never looked anything like the intelligent, educated man he actually is when he goes about his task in the boxing ring.

Added to his limitations in agility and co-ordination is the estimation that Valuev did not take up any form of boxing until he was twenty years of age, unlike many of his opponents who had been training since before they were teenagers.

Even more incredible, Nicolay Valuev was considered nothing more than a sideshow boxer, not even having a serious boxing trainer to assist him until the year 2000.

In seven short years, Nicolay Valuev has risen to the pinnacle of his sport in becoming one of the four heavyweight champions in his division, a feat that he is not given enough credit for.

Valuev has shown superb endurance in the ring, often outlasting his opponents despite his enormous size – yet what has impressed me most about Valuev is his unquestionable ability to work within his limitations, much like Rocky Marciano, to beat technically and physically more capable opponents.

As pundits discuss the potential embarrassment of having Nicolay Valuev break the Marciano record, whether or not Valuev does break it is irrelevant, it will not erase the memory of Rocky Marciano nor the hallowed turf he stood upon all those years before as undisputed heavyweight boxing champion.

Yet one thing is for sure – the class act that Rocky Marciano was? He would have nothing but respect for Nicolay Valuev – a man who could relate to as someone who triumphed over his own shortcomings in the boxing ring, just like Valuev himself has nothing but respect for the legend of Marciano.

Article posted on 11.04.2007

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