James-J-Braddock James Walter “The Cinderella Man” Braddock (June 7, 1905 – November 29, 1974) was an Irish American boxer who held the world heavyweight championship from 1935 to 1937.
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, granite chin, and his amazing comeback from a floundering career, which saw him lose several bouts before struggling to support his family by working on the docks during the Great Depression, and earned him the nickname “The Cinderella Man” from Damon Runyon. Braddock was managed by Joe Gould.
Baer vs. Braddock
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.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 one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history.
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.
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. Louis was considered to be the more dangerous opponent and the fact he as a black man could be heavyweight champ made many boxing insiders against him getting a title shot. Braddock agreed to the fight with the stipulation that he would receive a percentage of Louis’ future purses. While Braddock was able to knock down Louis in the fight, Louis went on to win. Louis was quoted as saying that Braddock was the bravest man he ever fought.
Holder of the title :June 13, 1935-June 22, 1937
Nickname(s) :Bulldog of Bergen, Pride of the Irish, Pride of New Jersey, Cinderella Man
Height :6 ft 2½ in (1.89 m)
Reach 75 in (191 cm)
Death date :November 29, 1974(1974-11-29) (aged 69)
Death place :North Bergen, New Jersey
Total fights :86
Wins by KO :26
No contests :2
Video from Braddock vs Baer fight