James J. Braddock

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James J. Braddock
Jim Braddock.jpg
Statistics
Real name James Walter Braddock
Nickname(s) Bulldog of Bergen,
Pride of the Irish,
Pride of New Jersey, Cinderella Man
Rated at Middleweight
Light heavyweight
Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 2 12 in (1.89 m)
Reach 75 in (191 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1905-06-07)June 7, 1905
New York City, New York
Died November 29, 1974(1974-11-29) (aged 69)
North Bergen, New Jersey
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 86
Wins 51
Wins by KO 26
Losses 26
Draws 7
No contests 2

James Walter "Cinderella Man" Braddock (June 7, 1905 – November 29, 1974) was an American boxer who was the world heavyweight champion from 1935–37.

Fighting under the name James J. Braddock (ostensibly to follow the pattern set by two prior world boxing champions, James J. Corbett and James J. Jeffries), he was known for his powerful right hand, solid chin and comeback from a floundering career. He had lost several bouts due to chronic hand injuries and was forced to work on the docks and collect social assistance to feed his family during the Great Depression. In 1935 he fought Max Baer for the Heavyweight title and won. For this unlikely feat he was given the nickname "Cinderella Man" by Damon Runyon. Braddock was managed by Joe Gould.

Early life[edit]

Braddock was born in Hell's Kitchen in New York City on West 48th Street, within a couple of blocks of the Madison Square Garden venue, where he later became famous. He was the son of Irish-American parents Elizabeth (née O'Tool) and Joseph Braddock.[1] He stated his life's early ambition was to play football for Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame, but he had "more brawn than brains."

Career[edit]

Braddock pursued boxing, turning pro at the age of 21, fighting as a light heavyweight. After three years, Braddock's record was 44-2-2 with 21 knockouts.[citation needed]

In 1928, he pulled off a major upset by knocking out highly regarded Tuffy Griffiths. The following year he earned a chance to fight for the title, but he narrowly lost to Tommy Loughran in a 15-round decision. Braddock was greatly depressed by the loss and badly fractured his right hand in several places in the process. His career suffered as a result, as did his disposition.[citation needed]

His record for the next 33 fights fell to 11-20-2. With his family in poverty during the Great Depression, Braddock had to give up boxing for a little while and worked as a longshoreman. Due to frequent injuries to his right hand, Braddock compensated by using his left hand during his longshoreman work, and it gradually became stronger than his right. He always remembered the humiliation of having to accept government relief money, but was inspired by the Catholic Worker Movement, a Christian social justice organization founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933 to help the homeless and hungry. After his boxing comeback, Braddock returned the welfare money he had received and made frequent donations to various Catholic Worker Houses, including feeding homeless guests with his family.[citation needed]

Baer vs. Braddock[edit]

In 1934, Braddock was given a fight with the highly touted John "Corn" Griffin. Although Braddock was intended simply as a stepping stone in Griffin's career, he knocked out the "Ozark Cyclone" in the third round. Braddock then fought John Henry Lewis, a future light heavyweight champion. He won in one of the most important fights of his career. After defeating another highly regarded heavyweight contender, Art Lasky, whose nose he broke during the bout on March 22, 1935, Braddock was given a title fight against the World Heavyweight Champion, Max Baer.[citation needed]

Baer hardly trained for the bout. Braddock, on the other hand, was training hard. "I'm training for a fight. Not a boxing contest or a clownin' contest or a dance," he said. "Whether it goes 1 round or 3 rounds or 10 rounds, it will be a fight and a fight all the way. When you've been through what I've had to face in the last two years, a Max Baer or a Bengal tiger looks like a house pet. He might come at me with a cannon and a blackjack and he would still be a picnic compared to what I've had to face."

Considered little more than a journeyman fighter, Braddock was hand-picked by Baer's handlers because he was seen as an easy payday for the champion. Instead, on June 13, 1935, at Madison Square Garden Bowl, Braddock won the Heavyweight Championship of the World as the 10-to-1 underdog in what was called "the greatest fistic upset since the defeat of John L. Sullivan by Jim Corbett".[2]

During the fight, a dogged Braddock took a few heavy hits from the powerful younger champion (30 years vs 26 years for Baer), but Braddock kept coming, wearing down Baer, who seemed perplexed by Braddock's ability to take a punch. In the end, the judges gave Braddock the title with a unanimous decision.[citation needed]

Heavyweight Champion[edit]

James Braddock suffered from problems with his arthritic hands after injuries throughout his career, and in 1936, his title defense in Madison Square Garden against the German Max Schmeling was canceled under suspicious circumstances. Braddock argued he would have received only a US$25,000 purse against Schmeling, compared to $250,000 against rising star Joe Louis. There was also concern that if Schmeling won, the Nazi government would deny American fighters opportunites to fight for the title[citation needed]

Louis was considered to be the more dangerous opponent and the fact that he, being a black man, could be heavyweight champion made many boxing insiders against his getting a title shot. Braddock agreed to the fight with the stipulation that he would receive 10% of promoter Mike Jacobs' future fights. So if Braddock beat Louis or Louis retired, the deal was for any fight and any boxer that Jacobs was handling for the next ten years. This money did not include the purse, just money from the concessions i.e. hotdogs, drinks, tee shirts programs etc. So win or lose Joe Gould got Braddock a great deal. Braddock was able to knock down Louis in the fight, but Louis went on to win, knocking Braddock out for the first and only time in his career. Louis was quoted as saying that Braddock was the bravest man he ever fought.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Braddock married Mae Fox in 1930 and the couple had three children, James (Jay), Howard and Rosemarie. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and became a 1st Lieutenant. Upon return, he worked as a marine equipment surplus supplier and helped construct the Verrazano Bridge in the early 1960s.[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

James J. Braddock North Hudson Park in North Bergen, New Jersey.

On his death in 1974 at the age of 69, James J. Braddock was interred in the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Tenafly, New Jersey. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park in North Bergen, New Jersey is named in his honor.[4]

The 2005 biographical film Cinderella Man tells Braddock's story. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Russell Crowe as Braddock and Renée Zellweger as his wife, Mae.[5] The film had an estimated budget of $88 million and grossed $108.5 million worldwide.[6] Crowe's performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Paul Giamatti, playing Braddock's manager Joe Gould, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The role of neighbor Sara Wilson was played by Rosemarie DeWitt, who is Braddock's real-life granddaughter (daughter of Braddock's daughter Rosemarie Braddock and husband Kenny DeWitt). The film received mostly positive reviews.[7]

University of Michigan Football coach Lloyd Carr used Cinderella Man to inspire his team during their 2006 season.[8]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Win 51-26-7
2 NC
United Kingdom Tommy Farr SD 10 21/01/1938 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States Referee had it 4-4-2, but Braddock on points.
Loss 50-26-7
2 NC
United States Joe Louis KO 8 (15) 22/06/1937 United States Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States Lost NYSAC & NBA World Heavyweight titles. Louis down in 1st; Braddock in 8th. NYSAC recognized Louis as Champion on June 30; NBA on July 1.
Win 50-25-7
2 NC
United States Max Baer UD 15 13/06/1935 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States Won NYSAC & NBA World Heavyweight titles. Baer feinted a knockdown in the 8th round.
Win 49-25-7
2 NC
United States Art Lasky UD 15 22/03/1935 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 48-25-7
2 NC
United States John Henry Lewis PTS 10 16/11/1934 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 47-25-7
2 NC
United States Corn Griffin TKO 3 (5) 14/06/1934 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States Both fighters down in second round.
NC 46-25-7
2 NC
United States Abe Feldman NC 6 (10) 25/09/1933 United States Memorial Field Stadium, Mount Vernon, New York, United States Benefit for Mt. Vernon Police Department Home Relief Fund. Braddock broke his right hand.
Win 46-25-7
1 NC
United States Chester Matan PTS 10 21/07/1933 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Win 45-25-7
1 NC
United States Les Kennedy PTS 10 21/06/1933 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Loss 44-25-7
1 NC
United States Al Stillman UD 10 19/06/1933 United States Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States Stillman down in first; Braddock injured his right hand with the punch. Two judges voted.
Loss 44-24-7
1 NC
United States Martin Levandowski MD 10 05/04/1933 United States Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Win 44-23-7
1 NC
United States Al Stillman TKO 10 (10) 21/03/1933 United States Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States Stillman down once in 9th and twice in 10th rounds.
Loss 43-23-7
1 NC
United States Al Ettore DQ 4 (8) 01/03/1933 United States Olympia A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Braddock was disqualified for 'not trying'.
Loss 43-22-7
1 NC
Germany Hans Birkie PTS 10 09/11/1932 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 43-21-7
1 NC
United States Martin Levandowski PTS 10 13/01/1933 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 42-21-7
1 NC
United States Lou Scozza TKO 6 (10) 09/11/1932 United States Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, United States Braddock stopped with a cut left eye; he had been cut in the Patrick fight.
Loss 42-20-7
1 NC
United States Tom Patrick PTS 10 21/10/1932 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, United States
Win 42-19-7
1 NC
United States Dynamite Jackson PTS 10 30/09/1932 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, United States Jackson down in the 1st round.
Loss 41-19-7
1 NC
United States John Henry Lewis PTS 10 21/09/1932 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, United States
Loss 41-18-7
1 NC
United States Tony Shucco PTS 8 25/07/1932 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States
Win 41-17-7
1 NC
Argentina Vicente Parrile PTS 5 21/06/1932 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States Walk-Out Bout after Sharkey won Schmeling.
Loss 40-17-7
1 NC
United States Charley Retzlaff PTS 10 13/05/1932 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Loss 40-16-7
1 NC
United States Baxter Calmes UD 10 18/03/1932 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 40-15-7
1 NC
United States Al Gainer PTS 10 04/12/1931 United States Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
NC 40-14-7
1 NC
United States Maxie Rosenbloom NC 2 (10) 10/11/1931 United States Minneapolis Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Braddock and Rosenbloom were accused of a pre-arranged deal. The MN Commission allowed each $350 in training expenses, the balance of their purses was donated to charity.
Loss 40-14-7 United States Joe Sekyra PTS 10 09/10/1931 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Draw 40-13-7 United States Andy Mitchell PTS 10 03/09/1931 United States Navin Field, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Win 40-13-6 United States Jack Kelly PTS 10 30/03/1931 United States New Haven Arena|, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Win 39-13-6 United States Jack Roper KO 1 (6) 05/03/1931 United States Madison Square Garden Stadium, Miami, Florida, United States
Loss 38-13-6 United States Ernie Schaaf SD 10 23/01/1931 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 38-12-6 United States Phil Mercurio KO 2 (6) 23/01/1931 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, United States Mercurio went down 3 times in round 1, and then was counted out in the 2nd.
Loss 37-12-6 United States Babe Hunt PTS 10 11/08/1930 United States Braves Field, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Win 37-11-6 United States Joe Monte PTS 10 02/07/1930 United States Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Loss 36-11-6 United States Harold Mays PTS 10 05/06/1930 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Loss 36-10-6 United States Billy Jones UD 10 07/04/1930 United States Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Loss 36-9-6 United States Leo Lomski SD 10 17/01/1930 United States Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, United States Lomski knocked down in 2nd and 5th rounds.
Win 36-8-6 United States Jake Warren KO 2 (6) 07/12/1929 United States Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Loss 35-8-6 United States Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 15/11/1929 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Loss 35-7-6 United States Yale Okun PTS 10 27/08/1929 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Loss 35-6-6 United States Tommy Loughran UD 15 18/07/1929 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States For NYSAC World Light Heavyweight titles. In September 1929 Loughran gave up his claim to the Light Heavyweight Title to compete at heavyweight.
Win 35-5-6 United States Eddie Benson KO 1 (8) 22/04/1929 United States Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, United States
Win 34-5-6 United States Jimmy Slattery TKO 9 (10) 11/03/1929 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 33-5-6 United States George Gemas KO 1 (10) 04/02/1929 United States Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, United States
Loss 32-5-6 United States Leo Lomski MD 10 18/01/1929 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 32-4-6 United States Tuffy Griffiths TKO 2 (10) 30/11/1928 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States Griffiths was floored 4 times in the 2nd round.
Win 31-4-6 United States Pete Latzo PTS 10 17/10/1928 United States Newark Armory, Newark, New Jersey, United States Latzo's jaw was broken, and he was forced to cancel his Nov 30 bout with Tuffy Griffiths. Braddock met Griffiths in his place.
Loss 30-4-6 United States Joe Sekyra PTS 10 08/08/1928 United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, United States Braddock cut over left eye in 7th.
Draw 30-3-6 Italy Nando Tassi PTS 10 25/07/1928 United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Draw 30-3-5 United States Billy Vidabeck NWS 10 27/06/1928 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Newspaper decision from New York City area newspapers (Jack Kincaid).
Loss 30-3-4 United States Joe Monte PTS 10 07/06/1928 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 30-2-4 United States Jimmy Francis NWS 10 16/05/1928 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Newspaper decision from New York City area newspapers (Jack Kincaid).
Win 29-2-4 United States Jack Darnell KO 4 (10) 07/05/1928 United States Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 28-2-4 United States Paul Swiderski PTS 8 06/01/1928 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Draw 27-2-4 United States Joe Monte PTS 10 07/10/1927 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Loss 27-2-3 Germany Herman Heller NWS 10 21/09/1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Newspaper decision from New York City area newspapers (Jack Kincaid).
Win 27-1-3 United States Vic McLaughlin NWS 10 10/08/1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Newspaper decision from the New York Times.
Win 26-1-3 United States George LaRocco UD 6 21/07/1927 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States
Win 25-1-3 United States Jimmy Francis NWS 10 13/07/1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Newspaper decision from the Philadelphia Record.
Win 24-1-3 United States Jimmy Francis NWS 10 08/06/1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Newspaper decision from the New York Times.
Loss 23-1-3 United States Paul Cavalier NWS 10 27/05/1927 United States Arcola Park, Paramus, New Jersey, United States Henry Hascup's record for Cavalier in IBRO #55 shows two Newspaper scores for this fight, 7-3 and 8-2 in favor of Cavalier.
Draw 23-0-3 United States George LaRocco PTS 6 19/05/1927 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States
Win 22-0-2 United States Jack Stone NWS 10 19/05/1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States Braddock knocked down for first time in career, but won. (Source: Boxing Blade, May 28, 1927, page 6.)
Win 21-0-2 United States Stanley Simmons TKO 1 (6) 02/05/1927 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States Simmons down 4 times
Win 20-0-2 United States Frankie Lennon TKO 3 (6) 19/04/1927 United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 19-0-2 United States Tom McKiernan KO 2 (?) 15/03/1927 United States United States Bout held during March; possibly Wilkes-Barre.
Win 18-0-2 Lebanon Nick Fadil PTS 6 08/03/1927 United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, United States
Win 17-0-2 United States Lou Barba PTS 4 03/03/1927 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 16-0-2 United States Jack Nelson PTS 6 15/02/1927 United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 15-0-2 United States Johnny Alberts KO 4 (6) 01/02/1927 United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 14-0-2 United States George LaRocco KO 1 (4) 28/01/1927 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Draw 13-0-2 United States Doc Conrad NWS 4 20/12/1926 United States 4th Regiment Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States Christmas Fund Show. Jersey Journal & Hudson Dispatch both called this a draw.
Win 13-0-1 United States Joe Hudson PTS 6 08/12/1926 United States Manhattan A.C., New York City, New York, United States
Win 12-0-1 United States Al Settle PTS 6 04/12/1926 United States Walker A.C., New York City, New York, United States
Win 11-0-1 United States Lou Barba PTS 6 12/11/1926 United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, United States
Win 10-0-1 United States Carmine Caggiano KO 1 (6) 30/09/1926 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Win 9-0-1 United States Ray Kennedy KO 1 (6) 16/09/1926 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Win 8-0-1 United States Mike Rock KO 1 (6) 13/09/1926 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 7-0-1 United States Gene Travers KO 1 (6) 07/09/1926 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 6-0-1 United States Walter Westman TKO 3 (6) 09/07/1926 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 5-0-1 United States Jim Pearson TKO 2 (?) 28/06/1926 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 4-0-1 United States Leo Dobson KO 1 (4) 18/06/1926 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 3-0-1 United States Willie Daily KO 1 (?) 03/05/1926 United States Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 2-0-1 United States Jack O'Day KO 1 (?) 02/05/1926 United States Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 1-0-1 United States Phil Weisberger KO 2 (6) 22/04/1926 United States Knights of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, United States Deschner down twice in 1st round.
Draw 0-0-1 United States Al Settle NWS 4 13/04/1926 United States Amsterdam Hall, Union City, New Jersey, United States Jersey Journal & Hudson Dispatch both called this a draw. Pro debut for Braddock.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Ned (June 16, 1935). "Life's Been No Rose Bed for New Heavy Champ". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 1. Archived at Google News. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Cinderella Man - James J Braddock". Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  3. ^ James J. Braddock.Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9: 1971-1975. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994
  4. ^ Rounds, Kate. "James J. Braddock Park—North Bergen" Palisade magazine; Summer 2010. p. 16
  5. ^ "Jimmy Braddock Climbed Fast: Hit Top of Fight Ladder in Three Years". Associated Press/The Milwaukee Journal. June 19, 1935. p. 1. Archived at Google News. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  6. ^ Cinderella Man at The Numbers
  7. ^ "Cinderella Man (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ Maisel, Ivan (November 20, 2007). "Carr beloved by fellow coaches". ESPN.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Max Baer
World Heavyweight Champion
1935–1937
Succeeded by
Joe Louis