Marciano-Walcott Heavyweight Championship Photograph




This photograph below was taken by photographer Herb Scharfman at the end of the Walcott-Rocky Marciano won the heavyweight championship.  Marciano would become the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history (49-0).

Photo United Press International

In the first round of this heavyweight championship fight On September 23, 1952, challenger Rocky Marciano, a 3-1 underdog, had been knocked down by then-champ "Jersey" Joe Walcott.  In the sixth round Marciano suffered blurred vision from a severe cut over his right eye.  Indeed, during the entire bout Marciano seemed willing to absorb head shots from Walcott in order to administer what became his trademark strategy: "kill the body and the head will die."  This strategy paid off at 2:05 of the thirteenth round, when, arms low to protect his now pulverized body, the dead-tired Walcott walked forward hoping to clinch and survive the round.  After suffering the devastating glow depicted in the photo, Marciano easily finished him off seconds later. (This punch is often misidentified as the knockout punch, bit it was in fact the setup punch for the knockout.)

In my opinion, this is one of the best photographs ever.  After you get beyond the focal point of the picture--Walcott's face absorbing Marciano's right cross--look at the rest of the picture carefully.  In composition, lighting, detail, musculature, drama--it's, well, Michelangelo with a 10-inch view camera.

I receive a fair number of requests for copies of this print.  I'm afraid this is impossible.   I purchased publication rights from UPI many years ago--in the late 70's or early 80's.  Here's a copy of the UPI publication  license on the back of the photo.  Notice that I do not have distribution rights, so I'm unable to sell (or even give away) copies of the print.  When the web came along,  UPI and other media companies probably excluded it explicitly from standard licensing agreements (although I'm told that a web site is a "publication" under US copyright law).  This would explain why I was unable to find another copy of this famous photo on the web. 

As an author of several books myself, I take licensing agreements seriously;  I therefore prohibit the downloading of any unlicensed use of the image(s) on  this page.  Furthermore, if anyone feels I'm not entitled to display this image please complain through UPI.

By the way, while this fight was going on, Richard Nixon was giving his famous "Checkers" speech.


I'm afraid that scans at higher resolutions reveal the dirt and scratches that the print has accumulated over the years, even though it's been framed most of the time.