Max Baer vs. Jim Braddock

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Jim Braddock throws a left at Max Baer.

Max Baer 211 lbs lost to Jim Braddock 194 lbs by UD in round 15 of 15

Notes

  • The United Press reported that Baer weighed 209½ pounds at the official weigh-in and Braddock weighed 191¾.
  • Baer was a 10-to-1 favorite to win the fight.
  • The bout was held at the Madison Square Garden Bowl, which was nicknamed "The Graveyard of Champions" because no reigning champion had ever successfully defended his title there.
  • Mike Cantwell, Baer's former trainer, helped train Braddock for the fight.
  • Whitey Bimstein was in Braddock's corner.
  • Paid attendance was 29,366.
  • The gross gate was $205,366.97 and the net was $169,074.18; Baer's share - $88,805, Braddock's - $31,244.
  • Baer received 42½ percent of the net receipts and Braddock got 15 percent.
  • Referee Johnny McAvoy took three rounds from Baer—the fifth, ninth and 12th—for either low blows or backhanding. The Associated Press stated that Braddock "won two of them anyway without the aid of the fouls."
  • The Associated Press scored the bout 7-7-1 in rounds, "but Braddock's margin was more pronounced in the rounds he won."
  • Twelve photos of the bout were published in the August 1935 issue of The Ring Magazine on pages five, six and seven. There was also an article about Braddock—"Boxing's Cinderella Man" by Francis Albertanti—on pages eight and nine.
  • In the 1998 Holiday Issue of The Ring Magazine, Baer was ranked as the 20th greatest heavyweight of all-time and Braddock was ranked 45th.
  • Baer vs. Braddock was featured in the 2005 Braddock biopic "Cinderella Man."
  • In 2015, RingTV.com named Braddock's win against Baer the ninth most historically significant upset in the history of boxing. The following is from the article:
Instead of mentally steeling himself to steamroll Braddock, Baer fought listlessly. He allowed Braddock to take the play away from him early by landing solid jabs and clusters of power shots. Whenever Braddock landed a solid volley Baer dropped his hands and sneered instead of trying to retaliate. All the while Braddock executed his fight plan with understated efficiency. He mixed in rights to the body, constantly changed ring position, landed spearing jabs, ignored Baer’s antics – and piled up plenty of points.
The crowd was left in a state of suspended disbelief. They suspected Braddock was building a huge lead on the scorecards but they also realized everything could be erased with a single Baer blow. They greeted every Braddock connect with a rousing cheer but at the same time they couldn’t fully invest themselves in the prospect of Braddock’s dreams coming true. Therefore, they enjoyed each moment for what it was.
Meanwhile, Baer was playing a dangerous game of chicken with himself; how long would it be before he let his big guns go and rid himself of this stubborn challenger? The longer he waited and the more he clowned, the reality of his situation became more clear: Baer was frittering away the greatest prize in sports.
Braddock landed a blistering volley early in round six and by round’s end the crowd booed Baer’s lackluster effort. Stung by the criticism, Baer finally woke up in the seventh by stunning Braddock with a trademark right. The iron-chinned challenger shook off the punch and continued to smartly pick his spots. Baer clowned away the eighth and ninth and the slow pace in the 10th brought another round of boos.
Wearing a more serious expression, Baer stepped on the gas in the 11th but his efforts bore relatively little fruit as Braddock continued to hang tough. Braddock summoned his own surge in the 12th and Baer’s hard rights to the ribs did little to stem it. The urgency level increased down the stretch but the equation remained the same – Braddock’s earnest overachieving was trumping Baer’s puzzling carelessness.
With both men tiring most of the final round was spent at close range tossing three-quarters speed shots that mostly targeted the body. When it was over Braddock’s manager Joe Gould leaped into the ring and hugged his man, surely knowing that he had guided his charge to the title. He was proven correct as judge Charley Lynch (11-4) and referee Johnny McAvoy (9-5) saw Braddock a solid winner while judge George Kelly scored it 7-7-1 but saw Braddock ahead on supplemental points.
Braddock’s emergence from obscurity moved writer Damon Runyon to dub him “The Cinderella Man,” a moniker that would define his journey for the rest of his days.

External Links

  • [1] "Braddock Has Poor Record" by Henry McLemore, United Press, April 25, 1935.
  • [2] "Braddock Wrests Crown From Baer In Great Upset" by Alan Gould, Associated Press, June 14, 1935.
  • [3] "Braddock Fought Best as Odds Favored Foes" by Ned Brown, The Milwaukee Journal, June 20, 1935.
  • [4] "10: Most historically significant upsets" by Lee Groves, RingTV.com, March 15, 2013.