Marcel Cerdan

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Marcel Cerdan
Marcel Cerdan.jpg
Cerdan in 1948
Statistics
Real nameMarcellin Cerdan
Nickname(s)Le bombardier marocain (The Moroccan Bomber)
Casablanca Clouter
Weight(s)Middleweight
NationalityFrench
Born22 July 1916
Sidi Bel Abbès, French Algeria (now Algeria)
Died28 October 1949(1949-10-28) (aged 33)
São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights114
Wins110
Wins by KO65
Losses4
Draws0
No contests0

Marcellin "Marcel" Cerdan (French pronunciation: ​[maʁsɛl sɛʁdɑ̃]; 22 July 1916 – 28 October 1949)[1] was a French professional boxer and world middleweight champion who was considered by many boxing experts and fans to be France's greatest boxer, and beyond to be one of the best to have learned his craft in Africa. His life was marked by his sporting achievements, social lifestyle and ultimately, tragedy, being killed in an airplane crash.

Early life[edit]

Marcellin Cerdan was born at 9:00pm on 22 July 1916 in the "Little Paris" neighbourhood of Sidi Bel Abbès in Algeria. He was the fourth son of Antonio Cerdán (1880–1946), a day labourer, and Asunción Cascales (1886–1942), pied-noirs of Spanish origin.[2]

Boxing career[edit]

Marcel Cerdan on a 1969 UAE stamp

Cerdan began boxing professionally on 4 November 1934 in Meknes, Morocco, beating Marcel Bucchianeri by a decision in six rounds. He then ran a streak of 47 wins in a row between that first bout and 4 January 1939, when he lost for the first time, to Harry Craster by a disqualification in five rounds in London. Cerdan campaigned heavily in the French territories of Algeria and Morocco during that part of his career, as well as in metropolitan France. In 1938, he beat Omar Kouidri in a 12-round decision at Casablanca to claim the French welterweight title.

Marcel Cerdan (right) in front of Saverio Turiello (left)

After his first loss, Cerdan recorded five consecutive wins, which led him to challenge Saviello Turiello for Europe's welterweight title in Milan, Italy. He won the European title by a decision in 15 rounds to continue his ascent towards the championship (back then, it was considered essential to own at least a Continental title belt to earn a world title shot; nowadays, it is not considered as important).

Cerdan's winning streak eventually reached 23 bouts before he suffered a defeat to Victor Buttin by disqualification for a second time, in eight rounds in Algiers in 1942. They would later re-match in 1945, and Cerdan would avenge the defeat by knocking Buttin out in the third round.

For his next bout after the first fight with Buttin though, Cerdan put his title on the line against José Ferrer (namesake of the Hollywood star). He knocked out Ferrer in one round,[3] and won four more bouts in a row before facing another boxer with a namesake: James Toney, who shared that name with another boxer who would become world Middleweight champion five decades later. Cerdan knocked out Toney in two rounds to keep this new winning streak alive. The new streak would reach 37 wins. In between, he joined the American allies in World War II during 1944, and he won the Inter-Allied Championship.

He also went up in weight to the Middleweight division, and won the French title by beating Assane Douf by a knockout in three rounds. He later claimed the vacant European title by beating Léon Foquet by a knockout in one round. He retained that title a couple of times before losing it to rugged Belgian Cyrille Delannoit by a decision in 15 at Brussels, Belgium. Soon, he went back to Belgium and re-took the title by beating Delannoit, also by decision.

Finally, after the rematch with Delannoit, Cerdan was given a world title opportunity and he travelled to the United States, where he beat World Middleweight champion Tony Zale.[4] Cerdan became a world champion by knocking Zale out in the 12th round in Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey on 21 September 1948.

Death and fame[edit]

During his short period as a world champion, Cerdan became a popular figure of the Paris scene. Although married with three children, he had an affair with the famous singer Édith Piaf. The affair lasted from summer 1948 until his death in autumn 1949. They were very devoted to each other and Piaf dedicated one of her most famous songs, Hymne à l'amour, to Cerdan.

For his first defense Cerdan returned to the United States, where he fought Jake LaMotta in Detroit. Cerdan was knocked down in round one, his shoulder was dislocated, and he had to give up after the tenth round.[5] It would be the last fight of Cerdan's life. A contract was signed for a rematch and Cerdan went to training camp for it, but before camp began he boarded an Air France flight to visit Piaf in New York, where she was singing. The Lockheed L-749 Constellation crashed into Monte Redondo (São Miguel Island, Azores), killing all 11 crew members and 37 passengers on board, including Cerdan and the famous French violinist Ginette Neveu, while approaching the intermediate stop airport at Santa Maria.[6][7] The following day, LaMotta lauded Cerdan's sportsmanship, saying: "You had to fight him as I did to know what a fine sportsman he was."[8] Cerdan was interred in the Cimetière du Sud, Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France.

Legacy[edit]

Cerdan's record was 110 wins and 4 losses, with 65 wins by knockout.[9]

He is a member, along with LaMotta and Zale, of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

In 1983, Cerdan and Piaf had their lives turned into a big screen biography by Claude Lelouch. The film, Édith et Marcel, starred Marcel Cerdan, Jr. in the role of his father and Évelyne Bouix as Piaf. He is portrayed by actor Jean-Pierre Martins in the 2007 Piaf biopic La Môme (entitled La Vie en Rose in English-speaking countries).

In 1991, a sports arena located in Levallois-Perret, the Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan, was named in his honor.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
114 fights 110 wins 4 losses
By knockout 65 1
By decision 45 1
By disqualification 0 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
114 Loss 110–4 Jake LaMotta RTD 9 (15) Jun 16, 1949 Briggs Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Lost NBA, NYSAC, and The Ring middleweight titles
113 Win 110–3 Lucien Krawczyk KO 4 (10) May 8, 1949 Stade Philip, Casablanca, French Morocco
112 Win 109–3 Dick Turpin KO 7 (10) Mar 29, 1949 Earls Court Empress Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
111 Win 108–3 Tony Zale RTD 11 (15) Sep 21, 1948 Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S. Won NBA, NYSAC, and The Ring middleweight titles
110 Win 107–3 Cyrille Delannoit PTS 15 Jul 10, 1948 Palais des Sports, Brussels, Belgium Won European middleweight title
109 Loss 106–3 Cyrille Delannoit PTS 15 May 23, 1948 Heizel Stadium, Brussels, Belgium Lost European middleweight title
108 Win 106–2 Lucien Krawczyk PTS 10 Mar 25, 1948 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France
107 Win 105–2 Lavern Roach TKO 8 (10) Mar 12, 1948 Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
106 Win 104–2 Jean Walzack KO 4 (15) Feb 9, 1948 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France Retained European middleweight title
105 Win 103–2 Giovanni Manca KO 2 (15) Jan 26, 1948 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France Retained European middleweight title
104 Win 102–2 Anton Raadik UD 10 Oct 31, 1947 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
103 Win 101–2 Billy Walker TKO 1 (10) Oct 7, 1947 Forum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
102 Win 100–2 Harold Green TKO 2 (10) Mar 28, 1947 Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
101 Win 99–2 Bert Gilroy KO 4 (10) Feb 11, 1947 Seymour Hall, Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom
100 Win 98–2 Leon Fouquet KO 1 (15) Feb 2, 1947 Parc des Expositions, Paris, Paris, France Won vacant European middleweight title
99 Win 97–2 Georgie Abrams UD 10 Dec 6, 1946 Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
98 Win 96–2 Jean Pankowiak KO 5 (10) Oct 20, 1946 Stade de la Croix de Berny, Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France
97 Win 95–2 Holman Williams PTS 10 Jul 7, 1946 Stade Roland Garros, Paris, Paris, France
96 Win 94–2 Robert Charron PTS 12 May 25, 1946 Parc des Princes, Paris, Paris, France
95 Win 93–2 Joe Brun KO 2 (10) Apr 14, 1946 Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France
94 Win 92–2 Jose Ferrer KO 4 (10) Feb 24, 1946 Plaza de Toros Monumental, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain
93 Win 91–2 Edouard Tenet PTS 12 Jan 18, 1946 Velodrome d'Hiver, Paris, Paris, France
92 Win 90–2 Agostinho Guedes KO 1 (10) Jan 12, 1946 Coliseu dos Recreios, Lisbon, Portugal
91 Win 89–2 Victor Buttin KO 3 (10) Dec 8, 1945 Saint-Etienne, Loire, France
90 Win 88–2 Assane Diouf KO 3 (12) Nov 30, 1945 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France
89 Win 87–2 Tommy Davies KO 1 (10) Oct 19, 1945 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France
88 Win 86–2 Edouard Tenet PTS 10 Jun 23, 1945 Stade de la Croix de Berny, Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France
87 Win 85–2 Oscar Menozzi KO 3 (10) Jun 3, 1945 Arènes du Rond-Point du Prado, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
86 Win 84–2 Jean Despeaux KO 5 (10) May 13, 1945 Stade de la Croix-de-Bernay, Paris, Paris, France
85 Win 83–2 Joe Brun TKO 7 (10) Mar 9, 1945 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France
84 Win 82–2 Ralph Burnley TKO 2 (3) Dec 16, 1944 Brancaccio Theatre, Roma, Lazio, Italy
83 Win 81–2 Floyd Gibson PTS 3 Dec 14, 1944 Brancaccio Theatre, Roma, Lazio, Italy
82 Win 80–2 Clint Perry KO 1 (3) Dec 12, 1944 Brancaccio Theatre, Roma, Lazio, Italy
81 Win 79–2 Bouaya KO 1 (10) Oct 21, 1944 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers, French Algeria
80 Win 78–2 Joe DiMartino TKO 1 (3) Feb 19, 1944 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers, French Algeria
79 Win 77–2 Sammy Adragna PTS 3 Feb 17, 1944 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers, French Algeria
78 Win 76–2 Harold Drouhin KO 1 (3) Feb 15, 1944 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers, French Algeria
77 Win 75–2 Willie Sampson KO 2 (10) Jan 30, 1944 Stade Philip, Casablanca, French Morocco
76 Win 74–2 Larry Cisneros KO 2 (10) Dec 29, 1943 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers
75 Win 73–2 James Toney TKO 2 (?) Dec 26, 1943 Stade Camp Saint-Philippe, Oran, French Algeria
74 Win 72–2 Bulldog Milano KO 2 (10) Oct 30, 1943 Stade Philip, Casablanca, French Morocco
73 Win 71–2 Larry Cisneros KO 6 (10) Oct 10, 1943 Stade Camp Saint-Philippe, Oran, French Algeria
72 Win 70–2 Omar Kouidri PTS 10 Sep 12, 1943 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers
71 Win 69–2 John McCoy KO 2 (10) Aug 8, 1943 Stade Petain, Oran, French Algeria
70 Win 68–2 Jose Ferrer TKO 1 (15) Sep 30, 1942 Velodrome d'Hiver, Paris, Paris, France Retained European welterweight title
69 Loss 67–2 Victor Buttin DQ 8 (10) Aug 15, 1942 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers Cerdan disqualified for low blows
68 Win 67–1 Fernand Frely TKO 3 (10) Aug 2, 1942 Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
67 Win 66–1 Victor Jana TKO 2 (10) Jul 25, 1942 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers
66 Win 65–1 Gaspard Deridder KO 1 (10) Jun 28, 1942 Grand Palais, Paris, Paris, France
65 Win 64–1 Fernand Viez PTS 10 May 17, 1942 Grand Palais, Paris, Paris, France
64 Win 63–1 Gustave Humery KO 1 (10) Apr 26, 1942 Velodrome d'Hiver, Paris, Paris, France
63 Win 62–1 Fred Flury TKO 7 (10) Feb 21, 1942 Palais des Fêtes et des Expositions, Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France
62 Win 61–1 Roby Seidel TKO 3 (10) Dec 31, 1941 Grand Casino, Vichy, Allier, France
61 Win 60–1 Roland Coureau TKO 9 (10) Sep 13, 1941 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers
60 Win 59–1 Joe Brun TKO 2 (10) Jul 20, 1941 Oran, French Algeria
59 Win 58–1 Francois Blanchard KO 6 (10) Jun 22, 1941 Arènes du Rond-Point du Prado, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
58 Win 57–1 Omar Kouidri RTD 6 (15) May 5, 1941 Oran, French Algeria Retained European welterweight title
57 Win 56–1 Victor Fortes RTD 2 (10) Apr 13, 1941 Oran, French Algeria
56 Win 55–1 Victor Janas PTS 10 Mar 9, 1941 Stade Philip, Casablanca, French Morocco
55 Win 54–1 Victor Fortes RTD 7 (10) Feb 2, 1941 Foyer Civic, Algiers, French Algeria
54 Win 53–1 Young Raymond RTD 6 (10) Jan 26, 1941 Stade Philip, Casablanca, French Morocco
53 Win 52–1 Young Raymond KO 1 (10) Jan 19, 1941 Foyer Civic, Algiers, French Algeria
52 Win 51–1 Cleto Locatelli PTS 10 Jun 16, 1939 Arènes du Rond-Point du Prado, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
51 Win 50–1 Saverio Turiello PTS 15 Jun 3, 1939 Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan, Lombardia, Italy Won European welterweight title
50 Win 49–1 Roger Cadot TKO 6 (12) May 21, 1939 Arènes du Rond-Point du Prado, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
49 Win 48–1 Felix Wouters PTS 12 Mar 22, 1939 Palais des Sports, Brussels, Bruxelles-Capitale, Belgium
48 Win 47–1 Saverio Turiello PTS 12 Feb 20, 1939 Velodrome d'Hiver, Paris, Paris, France
47 Win 46–1 Al Baker TKO 7 (10) Feb 4, 1939 Palais des Sports, Brussels, Bruxelles-Capitale, Belgium
46 Win 45–1 Ercole Buratti PTS 10 Jan 21, 1939 Automobile Hall, Algiers, French Algeria
45 Loss 44–1 Harry Craster DQ 5 (10) Jan 9, 1939 Earls Court Empress Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom Low Blow
44 Win 44–0 Omar Kouidri PTS 12 Nov 24, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
43 Win 43–0 Alfred Katter KO 5 (10) Nov 10, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
42 Win 42–0 Amedeo Deyana PTS 10 Oct 27, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
41 Win 41–0 Al Baker PTS 10 Sep 15, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
40 Win 40–0 Victor Deckmyn PTS 10 Jul 3, 1938 Arenes d'Eckmühl, Oran, French Algeria
39 Win 39–0 Jean Morin PTS 10 Jun 4, 1938 Automobile Hall, Algiers, French Algeria
38 Win 38–0 Gustave Humery KO 6 (12) May 20, 1938 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France
37 Win 37–0 Cleto Locatelli PTS 12 May 5, 1938 Velodrome d'Hiver, Paris, Paris, France
36 Win 36–0 Eduard Hrabak PTS 10 Aug 13, 1938 Palais des Sports, Paris, Paris, France
35 Win 35–0 Charles Pernot PTS 10 Mar 4, 1938 Stade Communal de Saint Eugène, Algiers, French Algeria
34 Win 34–0 Omar Kouidri PTS 12 Feb 21, 1938 Vox, Casablanca, French Morocco
33 Win 33–0 Jean Zides TKO 9 (10) Jan 20, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
32 Win 32–0 Eddie Ran KO 2 (10) Jan 13, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
31 Win 31–0 Charles Fedorowich TKO 2 (10) Jan 6, 1938 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
30 Win 30–0 Max Ifergane PTS 10 Dec 18, 1937 Rabat, French Morocco
29 Win 29–0 Jean Morin PTS 10 Oct 21, 1937 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
28 Win 28–0 Louis Jampton PTS 10 Oct 7, 1937 Salle Wagram, Paris, Paris, France
27 Win 27–0 Eduard Hrabak KO 6 (10) Sep 13, 1937 Vox, Casablanca, French Morocco
26 Win 26–0 Kid Marcel PTS 10 Aug 22, 1937 Oran, French Algeria
25 Win 25–0 Ali Omar TKO 5 (10) Jul 3, 1937 Hall de la Foire, Algiers, French Algeria
24 Win 24–0 Omar Kouidri PTS 10 Apr 3, 1937 Salle de l'Agriculture, Algiers, French Algeria
23 Win 23–0 Omar Kouidri PTS 10 Mar 2, 1937 Rabat, French Morocco
22 Win 22–0 Maurice Naudin TKO 3 (10) Jan 30, 1937 Hall de la Foire, Algiers, French Algeria
21 Win 21–0 Aissa Attaff RTD 8 (10) Jan 16, 1937 Central Ring, Algiers, French Algeria
20 Win 20–0 Jean Debeaumont PTS 10 Nov 21, 1936 Pavillon Bleu, Casablanca, French Morocco
19 Win 19–0 Aissa Attaf KO 1 (10) Nov 8, 1936 Salle Mazella, Algiers, French Algeria
18 Win 18–0 Primo Rubio PTS 10 Oct 17, 1936 La Manutention, Casablanca, French Morocco
17 Win 17–0 Al Francis KO 6 (10) Aug 2, 1936 Arenes d'Eckmühl, Oran, French Algeria
16 Win 16–0 Mariano Castillanos PTS 10 Jun 6, 1936 Pavillon Bleu, Casablanca, French Morocco
15 Win 15–0 Kid Abadie KO 3 (10) May 27, 1936 Pavillon Bleu, Casablanca, French Morocco
14 Win 14–0 M Ricardo TKO 5 (10) May 23, 1936 Casablanca, French Morocco
13 Win 13–0 Joseph Martinez TKO 9 (10) Apr 11, 1936 Taza, French Morocco
12 Win 12–0 Max Ifergane PTS 10 Apr 7, 1936 Pavillon Bleu, Casablanca, French Morocco
11 Win 11–0 Antoine Abad PTS 10 Mar 4, 1936 Pavillon Bleu, Casablanca, French Morocco
10 Win 10–0 Mak Perez PTS 10 Dec 14, 1935 Casablanca, French Morocco
9 Win 9–0 Mak Perez PTS 10 Nov 23, 1935 Salle des Fetes du Maarif, Casablanca, French Morocco
8 Win 8–0 Francisco Mestres PTS 10 Aug 3, 1935 Roland Garros- Marocain, Casablanca, French Morocco
7 Win 7–0 Joseph Sarfati PTS 10 Jul 19, 1935 Roland Garros- Marocain, Casablanca, French Morocco
6 Win 6–0 Mak Perez RTD 2 (10) Jul 5, 1935 Roland Garros- Marocain, Casablanca, French Morocco
5 Win 5–0 Max Privat RTD 5 (10) Apr 13, 1935 Cirque Melburn, Casablanca, French Morocco
4 Win 4–0 Leon Benazra PTS 10 Apr 13, 1935 Cirque Melburn, Casablanca, French Morocco
3 Win 3–0 Perez III PTS 10 Feb 6, 1935 Cirque Melburn, Casablanca, French Morocco
2 Win 2–0 Leon Benazra RTD 5 (6) Nov 12, 1934 Meknes, French Morocco
1 Win 1–0 Marcel Bucchianeri PTS 6 Nov 10, 1934 Meknes, French Morocco

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Birth and death certificate". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
  2. ^ Systems, eZ. "Les origines familiales de Marcel Cerdan". La revue française de Généalogie (in French). Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  3. ^ Marcel Cerdan vs José Ferrer in 1942 on YouTube
  4. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ Marcel Cerdan vs Jake LaMotta in 1949 on YouTube
  6. ^ Lockheed L-749-79-46 Constellation F-BAZN's accident description and causes (Flight Safety Foundation). Aviation-safety.net (28 October 1949). Retrieved on 6 August 2014.
  7. ^ Marcel Cerdan's tragic disappearance (1949) Archived 23 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine – Marcel Cerdan Heritage
  8. ^ LaMotta lauds Cerdan for great sportsmanship. News.google.com (28 October 1949). Retrieved on 6 August 2014.
  9. ^ Marcel Cerdan official website: Biography – scorecard (French: biographie – son palmarès) Archived 2 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Jupp Besselmann
European Middleweight Champion
February 2, 1947 – May 23, 1948
Succeeded by
Cyrille Dellanoit
Preceded by
Cyrille Dellanoit
European Middleweight Champion
July 10 – September 21, 1948
Won world title
Vacant
Title next held by
Cyrille Dellanoit
World boxing titles
Preceded by World Middleweight Champion
21 September 1948 – 16 June 1949
Succeeded by
Status (all weights)
Preceded by Latest born world champion to die
October 29, 1949 – April 3, 1962
Succeeded by
Middleweight status
Preceded by Latest born world champion to die
October 29, 1949 – December 14, 1971
Succeeded by