Born in 1972, some three years after the untimely death of the eponymous hero of this project, Cameron became interested in the story of Rocky Marciano when still a child, "When I was about eight years old I got interested in boxing at a physical level when I joined my local amateur boxing club, back then (in the late seventies, early eighties) every town had its own club," recalled the author before continuing. "The "man" then was 'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler, the middleweight champion of the world so naturally I gravitated towards him as my inspiration. That is until my late father began to fill my head with tales of the guy who wore the heavyweight crown back in the fifties, that man was of course Rocky Marciano."
Cameron's boxing career never really got off the ground. "I liked to fight and was pretty good up to a point, but just did not have the commitment that was needed to compete at the highest level, now due to not taking it as seriously as I should I am left with a face and body which bears the unmistakable bumps, breaks and scars of a former fighter and a brain that sometimes takes a little while to catch up with my thoughts," said John in a honest appraisal of his years in the ring.
Another, almost inevitable legacy left from his years in boxing was his choice of job before he began on this epic journey, namely. bouncer, something he earned his living at for over a decade. "In the end ill health and family matters brought that period of my life to an end, which is probably for the best (John is married with an expanding family). There were aspects of my character that I really didn't like back then, but perhaps they were traits that made me effective at the job." Which brought him neatly into his work on the biography of Marciano.
"It was this knowledge of myself and the sides of me, and others I have known, that made us want to fight, or at least able to fight, that made me realize that all I had read on Rocky was missing something. The image shared in the biographies that preceded my own efforts did not seem to dig deep enough, there was no way that this almost saintly man presented to the public could be the same man who beat the hell out of everybody he ever faced. It takes a certain kind of person to be a fighter, especially one of Rocky's savagery."
"So, with a change of job, one which is far from my old vocation, I decided time was right to begin work on finding the real Rocky, or at least getting as close as I possibly could. The tale which is unfolding kind of bears out my initial thoughts that the whole story was not being told."
In fact Cameron has gone deeper than any other biographer in unearthing the hidden life of the former world heavyweight champion, delving into the fighters army and amateur career which have previously been overlooked or only hinted at. "I have wondered for a while why these years were so overlooked, after all they formed the pivotal period in Marciano's life, the time when he went from an errant teenager to a professional boxer. My research has uncovered the possible reasons why other biographers have perhaps been reticent to cover this period in his life. I think a lot of people will go 'now that makes complete sense' at least I hope so."
The epic biography, to be split into three volumes, will present a Marciano who tallies perfectly with the character presented previously, but it will also show the other sides of the fighter and in so doing give the reader a greater understanding of the real Marciano. "Rocky was in danger of becoming lost behind the myth, there are those who are desperate to propagate a particular image, an image which is now becoming detrimental to his legacy as little things leak out. So I guess this project is an attempt to bring him back as fully formed as I can and also to explain that the darker things that are beginning to eat away at him are not as bleak as some would have us believe. So yeah, it is a kind of attempt at Redemption...maybe for both of us."
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