Slowed down by the Second World War in his ascent to the heights of world boxing, Marcel Cerdan barely came close to the drama and almost lost everything by staying for several months away from the training halls and rings before taking the path that will allow him to forge his legend.
In 1939, "L'homme aux mains d'argile" was in Casablanca, when he was mobilized in a transmission unit of the French navy. On September 13, he had just delivered a message to the commander of Pluto, a mine-laying cruiser sent to the Moroccan port to plant a defensive minefield there, when it exploded following a human error, destroying the ship and causing the deaths of 200 sailors. For an hour, Cerdan narrowly escapes the drama. He then finds himself demobilized by the armistice of 1940 and enjoys life at the height of his twenty-four years, freed from the discipline of the pugilist. Idleness, night outings, food and drink...
His boxing career was at that time in danger. The "Bombardier Marocain" had just lost 18 months at an important age in its evolution, just a few months after having acquired the title of European welterweight champion in Milan and when he saw fighting against Henry Armstrong, a American stars of the moment. His trainer and friend Lucien Roupp, with whom he is at "Casa", then pushes him back to work by installing a makeshift room in a garage. But fears are felt when the observation is made that the young Cerdan has lost speed of execution and athleticism. However, little by little, the natural champion resurfaces and he readjusts to the ring. He will make his professional return on January 19, 1941 in Algiers to become the immense champion we know and become one of the greatest French boxers in history. Proof that being stopped in its tracks, like during a period of confinement, does not mean being defeated, can allow you to think about aiming better and to jump higher.