World middleweight boxing champion, 1948-1949. Inducted into the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame in 1962 and into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
Was romantically involved with singer Édith Piaf . The movie Edith and Marcel (1983) is based on their love story. In the movie, Marcel is portrayed by his own son, Marcel Cerdan Jr. .
Won the World Middleweight title in 1948 by knocking out Tony Zale in the 12th round. Cerdan went on to lose the title in his first defense to Jake Lamotta who stopped him in 10 rounds. Cerdan's death prevented a rematch. His ring record was 111-4 with 65 KOs. Arguably the best winning percentage for any champion boxer with over 100 bouts.
He's portrayed by Jean-Pierre Martins in the movie La Vie En Rose (2007).
Following his passing in 1949, he succeeded Benny Paret as the youngest (i.e. most recent born) world champion to die. That status then passed to Benny Paret 1962.