'Unbeaten is one of the best sports books I’ve read in years.' – Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life.
Rocky Marciano accomplished a feat that eluded legendary champions like Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson: he never lost a professional fight. When he retired in 1956, his record was a perfect 49-0.
Unbeaten is the revelatory biography of one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Marciano rose from abject poverty and a life of petty crime to become heavyweight champion and one of the most famous faces of his era. He dominated boxing in the decade following the Second World War with a devastating punch, which he nicknamed the ‘Suzie Q’.
But perfection came at a price.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Mike Stanton tells the story of Marciano’s pursuit of greatness through the era of guys and dolls, hustlers and gamblers, glamorous celebrities and notorious mobsters. But boxing had its dark side, particularly at a time when Mafia mob bosses like Blinky Palermo and Frankie Carbo wielded immense power behind the scenes.
Marciano retired while still in his prime, weighed down by the mob’s influence in the sport he loved. For the last decade of his life, he wandered America, disillusioned, untrusting, hiding his money, cheating on his wife, consorting with the mobsters he had loathed for corrupting his sport, until his death in a plane crash in 1969, the night before his 46th birthday.
Unbeaten by Mike Stanton is the story of a remarkable champion, a sport that was rotten to its core, and a country that may have expected too much from its heroes.
Mike Stanton brings back Marciano, and with him, a whole era in American social, industrial and athletic history
David Margolick, Wall Street Journal
Unbeaten is one of the best sports books I’ve read in years. It’s an irresistible story told with beautiful writing and a keen eye for detail. Like Rocky Marciano, this book hits hard and won’t be easily put down
Jonathan Eig, author of Ali, A Life
[A] hero whose portrait, complete with his fight-by-fight record, has hung behind the espresso machine in Soho’s Bar Italia for as long as anyone can remember . . . No subsequent heavyweight champion has matched Marciano’s record of going through a career without defeat
Richard Williams, Guardian