James J. Braddock
|James J. Braddock|
|Real name||James Walter Braddock|
|Nickname(s)||Bulldog of Bergen|
Pride of the Irish
Pride of New Jersey
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Reach||75 in (191 cm) |
|Born||June 7, 1905|
Hell's Kitchen, New York, U.S.
|Died||November 29, 1974 (aged 69)|
North Bergen, New Jersey, U.S.
|Wins by KO||27|
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 righthand, 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.
Braddock was born on June 7, 1905 on West 48th Street in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. He moved to North Bergen, New Jersey at an early age. He was one of seven children being raised by immigrant parents; Irish mother Elizabeth O'Tool and Anglo-Irish father Joseph Braddock. 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."
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. 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.
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. 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.
Max Baer fight
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.
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".
During the fight, a dogged Braddock took a few heavy hits from the powerful younger champion (29 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.
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. 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.
Braddock did subsequently fight Louis on June 22, 1937, in his only defense of the title. He lost in the 8th round by a knockout, the only one of his career.
Death and legacy
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.
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. The film had an estimated budget of $88 million and grossed $108.5 million worldwide. 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.
Professional boxing record
|90 fights||52 wins||28 losses|
|88||Win||47–24–4 (13)||Tommy Farr||SD||10||21 Jan 1938||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|87||Loss||46–24–4 (13)||Joe Louis||KO||8 (15)||22 Jun 1937||Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois,, U.S.||Lost NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles|
|86||Win||46–23–4 (13)||Max Baer||UD||15||13 Jun 1935||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.||Won NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles|
|85||Win||45–23–4 (13)||Art Lasky||UD||15||22 Mar 1935||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|84||Win||44–23–4 (13)||John Henry Lewis||PTS||10||16 Nov 1934||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|83||Win||43–23–4 (13)||Corn Griffin||TKO||3 (5), 2:37||14 Jun 1934||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.|
|82||NC||42–23–4 (13)||Abe Feldman||NC||6 (10)||25 Sep 1933||Memorial Field Stadium, Mount Vernom, New York, U.S.|
|81||Win||42–23–4 (12)||Chester Matan||PTS||10||21 Jul 1933||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|80||Win||41–23–4 (12)||Les Kennedy||PTS||10||21 June 1933||Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|79||Loss||40–23–4 (12)||Al Stillman||UD||10||19 May 1933||St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.|
|78||Loss||40–22–4 (12)||Martin Levandowski||MD||10||5 Apr 1933||St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.|
|77||Win||40–21–4 (12)||Al Stillman||TKO||10 (10)||21 Mar 1933||St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.|
|76||Loss||39–21–4 (12)||Al Ettore||DQ||4 (8)||1 Mar 1933||Olympia A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|75||Loss||39–20–4 (12)||Hans Birkie||PTS||10||20 Jan 1933||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|74||Win||39–19–4 (12)||Martin Levandowski||PTS||10||13 Jan 1933||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., U.S.|
|73||Loss||38–19–4 (12)||Lou Scozza||TKO||6 (10)||9 Nov 1932||Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|72||Loss||38–18–4 (12)||Tom Patrick||PTS||10||21 Oct 1932||Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, U.S.|
|71||Win||38–17–4 (12)||Dynamite Jackson||PTS||10||30 Sep 1932||Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|70||Loss||37–17–4 (12)||John Henry Lewis||PTS||10||21 Sep 1932||Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, U.S.|
|69||Loss||37–16–4 (12)||Tony Shucco||PTS||8||25 July 1932||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.|
|68||Win||37–15–4 (12)||Vicente Parrile||PTS||5||21 Jun 1932||Madison Square Garden Bowl, Queens, New York, U.S.|
|67||Loss||36–15–4 (12)||Charley Retzlaff||SD||10||13 May 1932||Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|66||Loss||36–14–4 (12)||Baxter Calmes||UD||10||18 Mar 1932||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., U.S.|
|65||Loss||36–13–4 (12)||Al Gainer||PTS||10||4 Dec 1931||New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.|
|64||NC||36–12–4 (12)||Maxie Rosenbloom||NC||2 (10), 2:43||10 Nov 1931||Minneapolis Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
|63||Loss||36–12–4 (11)||Joe Sekyra||PTS||10||9 Oct 1931||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|62||Draw||36–11–4 (11)||Andy Mitchell||PTS||10||3 Sep 1931||Navin Field, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.|
|61||Win||36–11–3 (11)||Jack Kelly||PTS||10||30 Mar 1931||New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.|
|60||Win||35–11–3 (11)||Jack Roper||KO||1 (6), 1:08||5 Mar 1931||Madison Square Garden Stadium, Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|59||Loss||34–11–3 (11)||Ernie Schaaf||SD||10||23 Jan 1931||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|58||Win||34–10–3 (11)||Phil Mercurio||KO||2 (10)||19 Sep 1930||Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.|
|57||Loss||33–10–3 (11)||Babe Hunt||PTS||10||11 Aug 1930||Braves Field, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|56||Win||33–9–3 (11)||Joe Monte||PTS||10||2 Jul 1930||Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|55||Loss||32–9–3 (11)||Harold Mays||PTS||10||5 Jun 1930||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|54||Loss||32–8–3 (11)||Billy Jones||UD||10||7 Apr 1930||Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|53||Loss||32–7–3 (11)||Leo Lomski||SD||10||17 Jan 1930||Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|52||Win||32–6–3 (11)||Jake Warren||KO||2 (6)||7 Dec 1929||Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.|
|51||Loss||31–6–3 (11)||Maxie Rosenbloom||PTS||10||15 Nov 1929||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|50||Loss||31–5–3 (11)||Yale Okun||PTS||10||27 Aug 1929||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|49||Loss||31–4–3 (11)||Tommy Loughran||UD||15||18 Jul 1929||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.||For NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring light-heavyweight titles|
|48||Win||31–3–3 (11)||Eddie Benson||KO||1 (10)||22 Apr 1929||Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.|
|47||Win||30–3–3 (11)||Jimmy Slattery||TKO||9 (10)||11 Mar 1929||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|46||Win||29–3–3 (11)||George Gemas||KO||1 (10)||4 Feb 1929||Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.|
|45||Loss||28–3–3 (11)||Leo Lomski||MD||10||18 Jan 1929||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|44||Win||28–2–3 (11)||Tuffy Griffiths||TKO||2 (10), 1:40||30 Nov 1928||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|43||Win||27–2–3 (11)||Pete Latzo||PTS||10||17 Oct 1928||Newark Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|42||Loss||26–2–3 (11)||Joe Sekyra||PTS||10||8 Aug 1928||Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.|
|41||Draw||26–1–3 (11)||Nando Tassi||PTS||10||25 Jul 1928||Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.|
|40||Draw||26–1–2 (11)||Billy Vidabeck||NWS||10||27 Jun 1928||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|39||Loss||26–1–2 (10)||Joe Monte||PTS||10||7 Jun 1928||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|38||Win||26–0–2 (10)||Jimmy Francis||NWS||10||16 May 1928||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|37||Win||26–0–2 (9)||Jack Darnell||KO||4 (10)||7 May 1928||Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|36||Win||25–0–2 (9)||Paul Swiderski||PTS||8||6 Jan 1928||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|35||Draw||24–0–2 (9)||Joe Monte||PTS||10||7 Oct 1927||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|34||Loss||24–0–1 (9)||Herman Heller||NWS||10||31 Aug 1927||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|33||Win||24–0–1 (8)||Vic McLaughlin||NWS||10||10 Aug 1927||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|32||Win||24–0–1 (7)||George LaRocco||UD||6||21 Jul 1927||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.|
|31||Win||23–0–1 (7)||Jimmy Francis||NWS||10||13 Jul 1927||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|30||Win||23–0–1 (6)||Jimmy Francis||NWS||10||8 Jun 1927||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|29||Loss||23–0–1 (5)||Paul Cavalier||NWS||10||27 May 1927||Arcola Park, Paramus, New Jersey, U.S.|
|28||Draw||23–0–1 (4)||George LaRocco||PTS||10||20 May 1927||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.|
|27||Win||23–0 (4)||Jack Stone||NWS||10||11 May 1927||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|26||Win||23–0 (3)||Stanley Simmons||TKO||1 (6), 2:32||2 May 1927||Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|25||Win||22–0 (3)||Frankie Lennon||TKO||3 (6)||19 Apr 1927||South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|24||Win||21–0 (3)||Jack O'Day||KO||3 (10)||22 Mar 1927||Union City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|23||Win||20–0 (3)||Tom McKiernan||KO||2 (10)||15 Mar 1927||Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|22||Win||19–0 (3)||Nick Fadil||PTS||6||8 Mar 1927||Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|21||Win||18–0 (3)||Lou Barba||PTS||4||3 Mar 1927||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|20||Win||17–0 (3)||Jack Nelson||UD||6||15 Feb 1927||South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|19||Win||16–0 (3)||Johnny Alberts||KO||4 (6)||1 Feb 1927||South Main Street Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|18||Win||15–0 (3)||George LaRocco||KO||1 (4), 1:12||28 Jan 1927||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|17||Win||14–0 (3)||Tom McKiernan||TKO||3 (8)||13 Jan 1927||Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|16||Draw||13–0 (3)||Doc Conrad||NWS||4||20 Dec 1926||4th Regiment Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|15||Win||13–0 (2)||Joe Hudson||PTS||6||8 Dec 1926||Manhattan A.C., New York City, New York, U.S.|
|14||Win||12–0 (2)||Al Settle||PTS||6||4 Dec 1926||Walker A.C., New York City, New York, U.S.|
|13||NC||11–0 (2)||Willie Daly||NC||1 (6)||18 Nov 1926||Floral Park Arena, North Bergen, New Jersey, U.S.|
|12||Win||11–0 (1)||Lou Barba||PTS||6||12 Nov 1926||Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|11||Win||10–0 (1)||Jack O'Day||KO||1 (8)||27 Oct 1926||Stanley Theater, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|10||Win||9–0 (1)||Carmine Caggiano||KO||1 (6), 0:49||30 Sep 1926||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|9||Win||8–0 (1)||Ray Kennedy||KO||1 (6)||16 Sep 1926||Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, U.S.|
|8||Win||7–0 (1)||Mike Rock||KO||1 (6), 1:05||13 Sep 1926||Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|7||Win||6–0 (1)||Gene Travers||KO||1 (6), 0:24||7 Sep 1926||Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|6||Win||5–0 (1)||Walter Westman||TKO||3 (6)||9 Jul 1926||Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|5||Win||4–0 (1)||Jim Pearson||TKO||2 (4)||28 Jun 1926||Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|4||Win||3–0 (1)||Lee Dobson||KO||1 (4)||18 Jun 1926||Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|3||Win||2–0 (1)||Phil Weisberger||TKO||1||1 May 1926||Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|2||Win||1–0 (1)||George Deschner||KO||2 (6)||22 Apr 1926||Knights of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, U.S.|
|1||Draw||0–0 (1)||Al Settle||NWS||4||13 Apr 1926||Amsterdam Hall, Union City, New Jersey, U.S.|
- List of heavyweight boxing champions
- Boyle's Thirty Acres
- Joe Louis Arena (located in Detroit, Michigan)
- "Max Baer 5 to 1 favorite to beat Jimmy Braddock tonight". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. June 13, 1935. p. 6, part 2.
- "Cinderella Man – James J Braddock". Retrieved 2014-10-18.
- 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.
- "Braddock's death recalls ups and downs of career". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 30, 1974. p. 14.
- Augustyn, Adam, ed. (June 3, 2020). "James J. Braddock". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
- 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.
- Brown, Ned (June 16, 1935). "Life's been no rose bed for new Heavy champ". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, sports.
- 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.
- Traynor, Jessica (December 5, 2018). "'Cinderella Man' James Braddock, the Irish-American boxer who became world champion". The Irish Times. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- Schaap (2005), p. 12
- Schaap (2005), p. 165
- Brietz, Eddie (March 23, 1935). "Braddock decisive victor over Lasky". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 1, sports.
- Rice, Grantland (June 14, 1935). "Braddock beats Baer; Max Schmeling to get title shot in 1936". Milwaukee Journal. p. 8, part 2.
- Neil, Edward J. (June 14, 1935). "Verdict for Braddock unanimous". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 13.
- Walsh, Davis J. (January 14, 1937). "Proposed boycott of Braddock-Schmeling fight gains ground". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). INS. p. 12.
- Pegler, Westbrook (January 14, 1937). "Fair Enough". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. (Florida). p. 3.
- Schaap (2005), p. 35.
- "Braddock, Who Beat Baer for Title Dies". The New York Times. November 30, 1974. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Estate of James J. Braddock, James J. Braddock.com Bio
- James J. Braddock.Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9: 1971–1975. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994
- Rounds, Kate. "James J. Braddock Park—North Bergen" Palisade magazine; Summer 2010. p. 16
- "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.
- Cinderella Man at The Numbers
- "Cinderella Man (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- Joe Louis, Edna Rust, Art Rust Jr., Joe Louis: My Life
- "Cinderella Man" by Eminem, 2010
- Joe Louis, 66, Heavyweight King Who Reigned 12 Years, Is Dead, Obituary, New York Times, April 13, 1981.
- Louis' TAX issues
- Jenny Nolan, "The Brown Bomber – The Man Behind The Fist", The Detroit News
- "Remembering Joe Louis", WTVM
- "The Long Loneliness", by Dorothy Day, 1952
- Boxing record for James J. Braddock from BoxRec
- James J. Braddock – CBZ Profile
- Boxing Hall of Fame
- Official James J. Braddock website (includes videos of some rounds of Braddock's fights with Baer and Louis)
- Braddock's career record – from the Official James J. Braddock website
- "James J. Braddock". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- Collection of critical opinion of Cinderella Man at Rotten Tomatoes
- James Braddock vs Max Baer, 13 June 1935, all rounds
- James Braddock vs Joe Louis, 22 June 1937, all rounds
- Quits Docks To Win Three Great Fights: Half Starved, Braddock Battles His Way To Scrap With Baer, by Harry Grayson, Sports Editor, NEA Service, June 5, 1935