James J. Braddock

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James J. Braddock
Jim Braddock.jpg
Statistics
Real nameJames Walter Braddock
Nickname(s)Bulldog of Bergen,
Pride of the Irish,
Pride of New Jersey, Cinderella Man
Rated atMiddleweight
Light heavyweight
Heavyweight
Height6 ft 2 12 in (1.89 m)
Reach75 in (191 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1905-06-07)June 7, 1905
New York City, New York
DiedNovember 29, 1974(1974-11-29) (aged 69)
North Bergen, New Jersey
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights86
Wins51
Wins by KO26
Losses26
Draws7
No contests2
 
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James J. Braddock
Jim Braddock.jpg
Statistics
Real nameJames Walter Braddock
Nickname(s)Bulldog of Bergen,
Pride of the Irish,
Pride of New Jersey, Cinderella Man
Rated atMiddleweight
Light heavyweight
Heavyweight
Height6 ft 2 12 in (1.89 m)
Reach75 in (191 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1905-06-07)June 7, 1905
New York City, New York
DiedNovember 29, 1974(1974-11-29) (aged 69)
North Bergen, New Jersey
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights86
Wins51
Wins by KO26
Losses26
Draws7
No contests2

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]

ResultRecordOpponentTypeRoundDateLocationNotes
Win51-26-7
2 NC
United Kingdom Tommy FarrSD1021/01/1938United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United StatesReferee had it 4-4-2, but Braddock on points.
Loss50-26-7
2 NC
United States Joe LouisKO8 (15)22/06/1937United States Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, United StatesLost NYSAC & NBA World Heavyweight titles. Louis down in 1st; Braddock in 8th. NYSAC recognized Louis as Champion on June 30; NBA on July 1.
Win50-25-7
2 NC
United States Max BaerUD1513/06/1935United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United StatesWon NYSAC & NBA World Heavyweight titles. Baer feinted a knockdown in the 8th round.
Win49-25-7
2 NC
United States Art LaskyUD1522/03/1935United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win48-25-7
2 NC
United States John Henry LewisPTS1016/11/1934United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win47-25-7
2 NC
United States Corn GriffinTKO3 (5)14/06/1934United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United StatesBoth fighters down in second round.
NC46-25-7
2 NC
United States Abe FeldmanNC6 (10)25/09/1933United States Memorial Field Stadium, Mount Vernon, New York, United StatesBenefit for Mt. Vernon Police Department Home Relief Fund. Braddock broke his right hand.
Win46-25-7
1 NC
United States Chester MatanPTS1021/07/1933United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Win45-25-7
1 NC
United States Les KennedyPTS1021/06/1933United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Loss44-25-7
1 NC
United States Al StillmanUD1019/06/1933United States Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, United StatesStillman down in first; Braddock injured his right hand with the punch. Two judges voted.
Loss44-24-7
1 NC
United States Martin LevandowskiMD1005/04/1933United States Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Win44-23-7
1 NC
United States Al StillmanTKO10 (10)21/03/1933United States Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, United StatesStillman down once in 9th and twice in 10th rounds.
Loss43-23-7
1 NC
United States Al EttoreDQ4 (8)01/03/1933United States Olympia A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United StatesBraddock was disqualified for 'not trying'.
Loss43-22-7
1 NC
Germany Hans BirkiePTS1009/11/1932United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win43-21-7
1 NC
United States Martin LevandowskiPTS1013/01/1933United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss42-21-7
1 NC
United States Lou ScozzaTKO6 (10)09/11/1932United States Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, United StatesBraddock stopped with a cut left eye; he had been cut in the Patrick fight.
Loss42-20-7
1 NC
United States Tom PatrickPTS1021/10/1932United States Legion Stadium, Hollywood, California, United States
Win42-19-7
1 NC
United States Dynamite JacksonPTS1030/09/1932United States Coliseum, San Diego, California, United StatesJackson down in the 1st round.
Loss41-19-7
1 NC
United States John Henry LewisPTS1021/09/1932United States Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, United States
Loss41-18-7
1 NC
United States Tony ShuccoPTS825/07/1932United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States
Win41-17-7
1 NC
Argentina Vicente ParrilePTS521/06/1932United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, United StatesWalk-Out Bout after Sharkey won Schmeling.
Loss40-17-7
1 NC
United States Charley RetzlaffPTS1013/05/1932United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Loss40-16-7
1 NC
United States Baxter CalmesUD1018/03/1932United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss40-15-7
1 NC
United States Al GainerPTS1004/12/1931United States Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
NC40-14-7
1 NC
United States Maxie RosenbloomNC2 (10)10/11/1931United States Minneapolis Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United StatesBraddock 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.
Loss40-14-7United States Joe SekyraPTS1009/10/1931United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Draw40-13-7United States Andy MitchellPTS1003/09/1931United States Navin Field, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Win40-13-6United States Jack KellyPTS1030/03/1931United States New Haven Arena|, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Win39-13-6United States Jack RoperKO1 (6)05/03/1931United States Madison Square Garden Stadium, Miami, Florida, United States
Loss38-13-6United States Ernie SchaafSD1023/01/1931United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win38-12-6United States Phil MercurioKO2 (6)23/01/1931United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, United StatesMercurio went down 3 times in round 1, and then was counted out in the 2nd.
Loss37-12-6United States Babe HuntPTS1011/08/1930United States Braves Field, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Win37-11-6United States Joe MontePTS1002/07/1930United States Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Loss36-11-6United States Harold MaysPTS1005/06/1930United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Loss36-10-6United States Billy JonesUD1007/04/1930United States Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Loss36-9-6United States Leo LomskiSD1017/01/1930United States Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, United StatesLomski knocked down in 2nd and 5th rounds.
Win36-8-6United States Jake WarrenKO2 (6)07/12/1929United States Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Loss35-8-6United States Maxie RosenbloomPTS1015/11/1929United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Loss35-7-6United States Yale OkunPTS1027/08/1929United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Loss35-6-6United States Tommy LoughranUD1518/07/1929United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United StatesFor NYSAC World Light Heavyweight titles. In September 1929 Loughran gave up his claim to the Light Heavyweight Title to compete at heavyweight.
Win35-5-6United States Eddie BensonKO1 (8)22/04/1929United States Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, United States
Win34-5-6United States Jimmy SlatteryTKO9 (10)11/03/1929United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win33-5-6United States George GemasKO1 (10)04/02/1929United States Laurel Garden, Newark, New Jersey, United States
Loss32-5-6United States Leo LomskiMD1018/01/1929United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win32-4-6United States Tuffy GriffithsTKO2 (10)30/11/1928United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United StatesGriffiths was floored 4 times in the 2nd round.
Win31-4-6United States Pete LatzoPTS1017/10/1928United States Newark Armory, Newark, New Jersey, United StatesLatzo's jaw was broken, and he was forced to cancel his Nov 30 bout with Tuffy Griffiths. Braddock met Griffiths in his place.
Loss30-4-6United States Joe SekyraPTS1008/08/1928United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, United StatesBraddock cut over left eye in 7th.
Draw30-3-6Italy Nando TassiPTS1025/07/1928United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Draw30-3-5United States Billy VidabeckNWS1027/06/1928United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesNewspaper decision from New York City area newspapers (Jack Kincaid).
Loss30-3-4United States Joe MontePTS1007/06/1928United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win30-2-4United States Jimmy FrancisNWS1016/05/1928United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesNewspaper decision from New York City area newspapers (Jack Kincaid).
Win29-2-4United States Jack DarnellKO4 (10)07/05/1928United States Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win28-2-4United States Paul SwiderskiPTS806/01/1928United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Draw27-2-4United States Joe MontePTS1007/10/1927United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Loss27-2-3Germany Herman HellerNWS1021/09/1927United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesNewspaper decision from New York City area newspapers (Jack Kincaid).
Win27-1-3United States Vic McLaughlinNWS1010/08/1927United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesNewspaper decision from the New York Times.
Win26-1-3United States George LaRoccoUD621/07/1927United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States
Win25-1-3United States Jimmy FrancisNWS1013/07/1927United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesNewspaper decision from the Philadelphia Record.
Win24-1-3United States Jimmy FrancisNWS1008/06/1927United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesNewspaper decision from the New York Times.
Loss23-1-3United States Paul CavalierNWS1027/05/1927United States Arcola Park, Paramus, New Jersey, United StatesHenry Hascup's record for Cavalier in IBRO #55 shows two Newspaper scores for this fight, 7-3 and 8-2 in favor of Cavalier.
Draw23-0-3United States George LaRoccoPTS619/05/1927United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States
Win22-0-2United States Jack StoneNWS1019/05/1927United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United StatesBraddock knocked down for first time in career, but won. (Source: Boxing Blade, May 28, 1927, page 6.)
Win21-0-2United States Stanley SimmonsTKO1 (6)02/05/1927United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United StatesSimmons down 4 times
Win20-0-2United States Frankie LennonTKO3 (6)19/04/1927United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Win19-0-2United States Tom McKiernanKO2 (?)15/03/1927United States United StatesBout held during March; possibly Wilkes-Barre.
Win18-0-2Lebanon Nick FadilPTS608/03/1927United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, United States
Win17-0-2United States Lou BarbaPTS403/03/1927United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win16-0-2United States Jack NelsonPTS615/02/1927United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Win15-0-2United States Johnny AlbertsKO4 (6)01/02/1927United States Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Win14-0-2United States George LaRoccoKO1 (4)28/01/1927United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Draw13-0-2United States Doc ConradNWS420/12/1926United States 4th Regiment Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey, United StatesChristmas Fund Show. Jersey Journal & Hudson Dispatch both called this a draw.
Win13-0-1United States Joe HudsonPTS608/12/1926United States Manhattan A.C., New York City, New York, United States
Win12-0-1United States Al SettlePTS604/12/1926United States Walker A.C., New York City, New York, United States
Win11-0-1United States Lou BarbaPTS612/11/1926United States Pioneer Sporting Club, New York City, New York, United States
Win10-0-1United States Carmine CaggianoKO1 (6)30/09/1926United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Win9-0-1United States Ray KennedyKO1 (6)16/09/1926United States Playgrounds Stadium, West New York, New Jersey, United States
Win8-0-1United States Mike RockKO1 (6)13/09/1926United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win7-0-1United States Gene TraversKO1 (6)07/09/1926United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win6-0-1United States Walter WestmanTKO3 (6)09/07/1926United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win5-0-1United States Jim PearsonTKO2 (?)28/06/1926United States Oakland Arena, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win4-0-1United States Leo DobsonKO1 (4)18/06/1926United States Boyle's Thirty Acres, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win3-0-1United States Willie DailyKO1 (?)03/05/1926United States Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win2-0-1United States Jack O'DayKO1 (?)02/05/1926United States Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win1-0-1United States Phil WeisbergerKO2 (6)22/04/1926United States Knights of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, United StatesDeschner down twice in 1st round.
Draw0-0-1United States Al SettleNWS413/04/1926United States Amsterdam Hall, Union City, New Jersey, United StatesJersey 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