James J. Braddock

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James J. Braddock
Jim Braddock.jpg
Braddock in 1935
Statistics
Real nameJames Walter Braddock
Nickname(s)Bulldog of Bergen
Pride of the Irish
Pride of New Jersey
Cinderella Man
Weight(s)Middleweight
Light heavyweight
Heavyweight
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Reach75 in (191 cm) [1]
NationalityAmerican
Born(1905-06-07)June 7, 1905
New York, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 29, 1974(1974-11-29) (aged 69)
North Bergen, New Jersey, U.S.
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights88
Wins52
Wins by KO27
Losses26
Draws7
No contests3

James Walter Braddock (June 8,[2] 1905 – November 29, 1974) was an American[3][4] boxer who was the world heavyweight champion from 1935 to 1937.[5]

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), Braddock was known for his spoiling, counterpunching style, powerful right hand and his iron chin. 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. He made a comeback, and 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. He moved to North Bergen, New Jersey at an early age. He was one of seven children[2] being raised by immigrant parents; Irish mother Elizabeth O'Tool and Anglo-Irish father Joseph Braddock.[6] He stated his life's early ambition was to play college football for Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame, though this did not come to pass, as he remarked that he had "more brawn than brains."[7][8]

Career[edit]

Braddock pursued boxing, turning pro at the age of 21, fighting as a light heavyweight. His first fight in a ring occurred on November 27, 1923.[9] After three years, Braddock's record was 44–2–2 (.938), with 21 knockouts.

In 1928, Braddock 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.[3]

His next 33 fights were significantly less successful, with a 11–20–2 (.364) record. With his family in poverty during the Great Depression, Braddock was forced to give up boxing and work 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.[10] 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]

Max Baer fight[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,[11] Braddock was given a title fight against the World Heavyweight Champion, Max Baer.[1][12]

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, despite his recent impressive victories. 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".[3]

During the fight, a dogged Braddock took a few heavy hits from the powerful younger champion (30 years versus 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.[12][13]

Heavyweight Champion[edit]

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 opportunities to fight for the title.[14] Finally, American commentators had expressed opposition to the fight in light of the connections between Schmeling and Adolf Hitler, with whom the German fighter had been associated after his earlier victory over Louis.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Braddock (left) and Joe Gould (center), training as officers at the Atlantic Coast Transportation Corps Officers Training School in Fort Slocum, New York

Braddock married Mae Fox in 1930 and the couple had three children, James (Jay) Jr., Howard and Rosemarie.[16][17]

Braddock enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and became a first lieutenant. He served in the Pacific theater on the island of Saipan, where he trained enlisted men in hand-to-hand combat.[18][17]

Upon return, he worked as a marine equipment surplus supplier and helped construct the Verrazano Bridge in the early 1960s.[19]

Death and legacy[edit]

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

After 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.[20]

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.[21] The film had an estimated budget of $88 million and grossed $108.5 million worldwide.[22] 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. The film received mostly positive reviews.[23]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
86 fights 52 wins 24 losses
By knockout 27 1
By decision 25 22
By disqualification 0 1
Draws 7
No contests 3
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
88 Win 52–26–7 (3) United Kingdom Tommy Farr SD 10 21 Jan 1938 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
87 Loss 51–26–7 (3) United States Joe Louis KO 8 (15) 22 Jun 1937 United States Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois,, U.S. Lost NBA, NYSAC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
86 Win 51–25–7 (3) United States Max Baer UD 15 13 Jun 1935 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S. Won NBA, NYSAC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
85 Win 50–25–7 (3) United States Art Lasky UD 15 22 Mar 1935 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
84 Win 49–25–7 (3) United States John Henry Lewis PTS 10 16 Nov 1934 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
83 Win 48–25–7 (3) United States Corn Griffin TKO 3 (5), 2:37 14 Jun 1934 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.
82 NC 47–25–7 (3) United States Abe Feldman NC 6 (10) 25 Sep 1933 United States Memorial Field Stadium, Mount Vernom, New York, U.S.
81 Win 47–25–7 (2) United States Chester Matan PTS 10 21 Jul 1933 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
80 Win 46–25–7 (2) United States Les Kennedy PTS 10 21 June 1933 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
79 Loss 45–25–7 (2) United States Al Stillman UD 10 19 May 1933 United States St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
78 Loss 45–24–7 (2) United States Martin Levandowski MD 10 5 Apr 1933 United States St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
77 Win 45–23–7 (2) United States Al Stillman TKO 10 (10) 21 Mar 1933 United States St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
76 Loss 44–23–7 (2) United States Al Ettore DQ 4 (8) 1 Mar 1933 United States Olympia A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
75 Loss 44–22–7 (2) Germany Hans Birkie PTS 10 20 Jan 1933 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
74 Win 44–21–7 (2) United States Martin Levandowski PTS 10 13 Jan 1933 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., U.S.
73 Loss 43–21–7 (2) United States Lou Scozza TKO 6 (10) 9 Nov 1932 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
72 Loss 43–20–7 (2) United States Tom Patrick PTS 10 21 Oct 1932 United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.
71 Win 43–19–7 (2) United States Dynamite Jackson PTS 10 30 Sep 1932 United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.
70 Loss 42–19–7 (2) United States John Henry Lewis PTS 10 21 Sep 1932 United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, U.S.
69 Loss 42–18–7 (2) United States Tony Shucco PTS 8 25 July 1932 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.
68 Win 42–17–7 (2) Argentina Vicente Parrile PTS 5 21 Jun 1932 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.
67 Loss 41–17–7 (2) United States Charley Retzlaff SD 10 13 May 1932 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
66 Loss 41–16–7 (2) United States Baxter Calmes UD 10 18 Mar 1932 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., U.S.
65 Loss 41–15–7 (2) United States Al Gainer PTS 10 4 Dec 1931 United States New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
64 NC 41–14–7 (2) United States Maxie Rosenbloom NC 2 (10), 2:43 10 Nov 1931 United States Minneapolis Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
63 Loss 41–14–7 (1) United States Joe Sekyra PTS 10 9 Oct 1931 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
62 Draw 41–13–7 (1) United States Andy Mitchell PTS 10 3 Sep 1931 United States Navin Field, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
61 Win 41–13–6 (1) United States Jack Kelly PTS 10 30 Mar 1931 United States New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
60 Win 40–13–6 (1) United States Jack Roper KO 1 (6), 1:08 5 Mar 1931 United States Madison Square Garden Stadium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
59 Loss 39–13–6 (1) United States Ernie Schaaf SD 10 23 Jan 1931 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
58 Win 39–12–6 (1) United States Phil Mercurio KO 2 (10) 19 Sep 1930 United States Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
57 Loss 38–12–6 (1) United States Babe Hunt PTS 10 11 Aug 1930 United States Braves Field, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
56 Win 38–11–6 (1) United States Joe Monte PTS 10 2 Jul 1930 United States Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
55 Loss 37–11–6 (1) United States Harold Mays PTS 10 5 Jun 1930 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
54 Loss 37–10–6 (1) United States Billy Jones UD 10 7 Apr 1930 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
53 Loss 37–9–6 (1) United States Leo Lomski SD 10 17 Jan 1930 United States Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
52 Win 37–8–6 (1) United States Jake Warren KO 2 (6) 7 Dec 1929 United States Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
51 Loss 36–8–6 (1) United States Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 15 Nov 1929 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
50 Loss 36–7–6 (1) United States Yale Okun PTS 10 27 Aug 1929 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
49 Loss 36–6–6 (1) United States Tommy Loughran UD 15 18 Jul 1929 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S. For NYSAC, and lineal light-heavyweight titles
48 Win 36–5–6 (1) United States Eddie Benson KO 1 (10) 22 Apr 1929 United States Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
47 Win 35–5–6 (1) United States Jimmy Slattery TKO 9 (10) 11 Mar 1929 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
46 Win 34–5–6 (1) United States George Gemas KO 1 (10) 4 Feb 1929 United States Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
45 Loss 33–5–6 (1) United States Leo Lomski MD 10 18 Jan 1929 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
44 Win 33–4–6 (1) United States Tuffy Griffiths TKO 2 (10), 1:40 30 Nov 1928 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
43 Win 32–4–6 (1) United States Pete Latzo PTS 10 17 Oct 1928 United States Newark Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
42 Loss 31–4–6 (1) United States Joe Sekyra PTS 10 8 Aug 1928 United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
41 Draw 31–3–6 (1) Italy Nando Tassi PTS 10 25 Jul 1928 United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
40 Draw 31–3–5 (1) United States Billy Vidabeck NWS 10 27 Jun 1928 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
39 Loss 31–3–4 (1) United States Joe Monte PTS 10 7 Jun 1928 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
38 Win 31–2–4 (1) United States Jimmy Francis NWS 10 16 May 1928 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
37 Win 30–2–4 (1) United States Jack Darnell KO 4 (10) 7 May 1928 United States Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
36 Win 29–2–4 (1) United States Paul Swiderski PTS 8 6 Jan 1928 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
35 Draw 28–2–4 (1) United States Joe Monte PTS 10 7 Oct 1927 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
34 Loss 28–2–3 (1) Germany Herman Heller NWS 10 31 Aug 1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
33 Win 28–1–3 (1) United States Vic McLaughlin NWS 10 10 Aug 1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
32 Win 27–1–3 (1) United States George LaRocco UD 6 21 Jul 1927 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
31 Win 26–1–3 (1) United States Jimmy Francis NWS 10 13 Jul 1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
30 Win 25–1–3 (1) United States Jimmy Francis NWS 10 8 Jun 1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
29 Loss 24–1–3 (1) United States Paul Cavalier NWS 10 27 May 1927 United States Arcola Park, Paramus, New Jersey, U.S.
28 Draw 24–0–3 (1) United States George LaRocco PTS 10 20 May 1927 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
27 Win 24–0–2 (1) United States Jack Stone NWS 10 11 May 1927 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
26 Win 23–0–2 (1) United States Stanley Simmons TKO 1 (6), 2:32 2 May 1927 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
25 Win 22–0–2 (1) United States Frankie Lennon TKO 3 (6) 19 Apr 1927 United States South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.
24 Win 21–0–2 (1) United States Jack O'Day KO 3 (10) 22 Mar 1927 United States Union City, New Jersey, U.S.
23 Win 20–0–2 (1) United States Tom McKiernan KO 2 (10) 15 Mar 1927 United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.
22 Win 19–0–2 (1) Lebanon Nick Fadil PTS 6 8 Mar 1927 United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, U.S.
21 Win 18–0–2 (1) United States Lou Barba PTS 4 3 Mar 1927 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
20 Win 17–0–2 (1) United States Jack Nelson UD 6 15 Feb 1927 United States South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.
19 Win 16–0–2 (1) United States Johnny Alberts KO 4 (6) 1 Feb 1927 United States South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.
18 Win 15–0–2 (1) United States George LaRocco KO 1 (4), 1:12 28 Jan 1927 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
17 Win 14–0–2 (1) United States Tom McKiernan TKO 3 (8) 13 Jan 1927 United States Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
16 Draw 13–0–2 (1) United States Doc Conrad NWS 4 20 Dec 1926 United States 4th Regiment Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
15 Win 13–0–1 (1) United States Joe Hudson PTS 6 8 Dec 1926 United States Manhattan A.C., New York City, New York, U.S.
14 Win 12–0–1 (1) United States Al Settle PTS 6 4 Dec 1926 United States Walker A.C., New York City, New York, U.S.
13 NC 11–0–1 (1) United States Willie Daly NC 1 (6) 18 Nov 1926 United States Floral Park Arena, North Bergen, New Jersey, U.S.
12 Win 11–0–1 United States Lou Barba PTS 6 12 Nov 1926 United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, U.S.
11 Win 10–0–1 United States Jack O'Day KO 1 (8) 27 Oct 1926 United States Stanley Theater, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
10 Win 9–0–1 United States Carmine Caggiano KO 1 (6), 0:49 30 Sep 1926 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
9 Win 8–0–1 United States Ray Kennedy KO 1 (6) 16 Sep 1926 United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.
8 Win 7–0–1 United States Mike Rock KO 1 (6), 1:05 13 Sep 1926 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
7 Win 6–0–1 United States Gene Travers KO 1 (6), 0:24 7 Sep 1926 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
6 Win 5–0–1 United States Walter Westman TKO 3 (6) 9 Jul 1926 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
5 Win 4–0–1 United States Jim Pearson TKO 2 (4) 28 Jun 1926 United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
4 Win 3–0–1 United States Lee Dobson KO 1 (4) 18 Jun 1926 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
3 Win 2–0–1 United States Phil Weisberger TKO 1 1 May 1926 United States Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
2 Win 1–0–1 United States George Deschner KO 2 (6) 22 Apr 1926 United States Knights of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, U.S.
1 Draw 0–0–1 United States Al Settle NWS 4 13 Apr 1926 United States Amsterdam Hall, Union City, New Jersey, U.S.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Max Baer 5 to 1 favorite to beat Jimmy Braddock tonight". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. June 13, 1935. p. 6, part 2.
  2. ^ a b Schaap, Jeremy (2005). Cinderella Man: James J. Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 4–6. ISBN 0-618-55117-4.
  3. ^ a b c "Cinderella Man – James J Braddock". Retrieved 2014-10-18.
  4. ^ Watson, William E.; Halus Jr., Eugene J. (2014-11-25). Irish Americans: The History and Culture of a People: The History and Culture of a People. ABC-CLIO. p. 253. ISBN 9781610694674. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Braddock's death recalls ups and downs of career". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 30, 1974. p. 14.
  6. ^ Brown, Ned (June 16, 1935). "Life's been no rose bed for new Heavy champ". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, sports.
  7. ^ Albeck, Maurer, Ellen (May 2, 2016). "more+brawn+than+brains."&source=bl&ots=y0RywRdUYn&sig=ACfU3U2oBqX_L9tS1ZCYFUi88ihn2DRs1A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiir6mTt57iAhXiSt8KHRECBUEQ6AEwD3oECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=james%20j.%20braddock%2C%20notre%20dame%2C%20%22more%20brawn%20than%20brains.%22&f=false Snicklefritz: Winifred Elizabeth Manning Allbeck Tells Stories from an Earlier Time. p. 305. Hillcrest Publishing Group. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Traynor, Jessica (December 5, 2018). "'Cinderella Man' James Braddock, the Irish-American boxer who became world champion". The Irish Times. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Schaap (2005), p. 12
  10. ^ Schaap (2005), p. 165
  11. ^ Brietz, Eddie (March 23, 1935). "Braddock decisive victor over Lasky". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 1, sports.
  12. ^ a b Rice, Grantland (June 14, 1935). "Braddock beats Baer; Max Schmeling to get title shot in 1936". Milwaukee Journal. p. 8, part 2.
  13. ^ Neil, Edward J. (June 14, 1935). "Verdict for Braddock unanimous". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 13.
  14. ^ a b Walsh, Davis J. (January 14, 1937). "Proposed boycott of Braddock-Schmeling fight gains ground". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). INS. p. 12.
  15. ^ Pegler, Westbrook (January 14, 1937). "Fair Enough". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. (Florida). p. 3.
  16. ^ Schaap (2005), p. 35.
  17. ^ a b "Braddock, Who Beat Baer for Title Dies". The New York Times. November 30, 1974. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  18. ^ Estate of James J. Braddock, James J. Braddock.com Bio
  19. ^ James J. Braddock.Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9: 1971–1975. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994
  20. ^ Rounds, Kate. "James J. Braddock Park—North Bergen" Palisade magazine; Summer 2010. p. 16
  21. ^ "Jimmy Braddock climbed fast: Hit top of fight ladder in three years". Border Cities Star. Windsor, Ontario. Associated Press. June 19, 1935. p. 1, sports.
  22. ^ Cinderella Man at The Numbers
  23. ^ "Cinderella Man (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2014.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Max Baer
World Heavyweight Champion
June 13, 1935 – June 22, 1937
Succeeded by
Joe Louis