Marcel Cerdan

Marcel Cerdan
Real name Marcellin Cerdan
Nickname(s) Le Bombardier Marocain (The Moroccan Bomber)
Casablanca Clouter
Rated at Middleweight
Nationality France French
Born July 22, 1916
Sidi Bel Abbès, French Algeria (now Algeria)
Died October 28, 1949(1949-10-28) (aged 33)
São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 117
Wins 113
Wins by KO 66
Losses 4
Draws 0
No contests 0

Marcellin "Marcel" Cerdan (French pronunciation: [maʁsɛl sɛʁdɑ̃]; July 22, 1916 – October 28, 1949[1]) was a French pied noir world boxing 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.

Marcel Cerdan was born on July 22, 1916 in Sidi Bel Abbès in what was then French Algeria.


Boxing career

He began boxing professionally on November 4, 1934 in Meknes, Morocco, beating Marcel Bucchianeri by a decision in six rounds. Cerdan then ran a streak of 47 wins in a row between that first bout and January 4, 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, his parents' place of birth. In 1938, he beat Omar Kouidri in a 12-round decision at Casablanca to claim the French welterweight title.

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 in eight rounds in Algiers.

For his next bout, Cerdan put his title on the line against José Ferrer (namesake of the Hollywood star). He knocked out Ferrer in one round,[2] 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 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. Cerdan became a world champion by knocking Zale out in the 12th round in Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey on September 21, 1948.

Death and fame

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 wrote one of her most famous songs, Hymne à l'amour, for Cerdan.

For his first defence 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.[3] 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 Pico da Vara (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.[4][5] Days later, LaMotta expressed words of condolences, praising Cerdan as a great human being. Cerdan was interred in the Cimetière du Sud, Perpignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France.

Cerdan's record was 113 wins and 4 losses, with 66 wins by knockout.[6]

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).


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tony Zale
World Middleweight Champion
21 Sep 1948– 16 Jun 1949
Succeeded by
Jake LaMotta

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  • Marcel Cerdan — Daten Geburtsname …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Marcel Cerdan — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cerdan. Marcel Cerdan Fiche d’identité Nom complet Marcellin Cerdan Surnom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marcel Cerdan — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Marcel Cerdan Jr — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cerdan. Marcel Cerdan Jr Fiche d’identité Nom complet Marcel Cerdan Jr …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan — Généralités Adresse 141 rue Danton 92300 Levallois Coordonnées …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Salle Marcel-Cerdan — Généralités Adresse Brest Coordonnées …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Salle Marcel Cerdan — La salle Marcel Cerdan est une grande salle de basket ball située à Brest et utilisée pour les matchs de basket ball de l Étendard de Brest et pour des galas de boxe. Sommaire 1 Histoire 2 Événements sportifs marquants 3 Historique des spectacle …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Salle marcel-cerdan — La salle Marcel Cerdan est une grande salle de basket ball située à Brest et utilisée pour les matchs de basket ball de l Étendard de Brest et pour des galas de boxe. Sommaire 1 Histoire 2 Événements sportifs marquants 3 Historique des spectacle …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Salle Marcel Cerdan — is an indoor sporting arena located in Brest, France. The capacity of the arena is 2,000 people. It is currently home to the Étendard de Brest basketball team …   Wikipedia

  • Cerdan — Marcel Cerdan [[Datei:|200px]] Daten Geburtsname Marcel Cerdan Kampfname(n) {{{ringname}}} Gewichtsklasse Mittelgewicht …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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