Ernie Schaaf

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Ernie Schaaf
Real nameErnie Schaaf
Nickname(s)Frederick Ernest
Nationality United States American
BornSeptember 27, 1908
Elizabeth, New Jersey
DiedFebruary 14, 1933(1933-02-14) (aged 24)
New York City
Boxing record
Total fights75
Wins by KO23
No contests5

Ernie Schaaf (September 27, 1908 in Elizabeth, NJ – February 14, 1933) was a professional boxer who was a heavyweight contender in the 1930s but died after a bout.



Schaaf weighed 200–210 lbs in his prime which was average in that era. In the 1930s he went 2 wins, 1 loss with Tommy Loughran, easily outpointed two future heavyweight world champions in Max Baer in their first fight in 1930 and James J. Braddock in 1931. He also outpointed future title challengers Young Stribling and Tony Galento in 1932.

During a second fight with Baer, on 31 August 1932, Schaaf suffered a severe beating and knockout in the final round, hitting the mat two seconds before the final bell, which saved him from an official knockout Baer won on points. It took several minutes for Schaaf to be revived. Schaaf complained of headaches thereafter, and some observers believe that he suffered brain damage.

Six months later, on 10 February 1933, Schaaf fought the huge (250 lbs+) Primo Carnera, and suffered a knockout loss in the 13th round of 15. He fell into a coma, and was rushed to the hospital to undergo surgery. He died on Valentine's Day. An autopsy revealed that Schaaf had meningitis, a swelling of the brain, and he was still recovering from a severe case of influenza when he entered the ring with Carnera. [1] [2]


Schaaf has an official record of 55–13–2 with 1 no contest and 4 no decisions, but the no-decision bouts are due to the scoring practices of the era. Newspaper reports indicate that he won 3 of those, and lost one.

  1. Johnson, Catherine. "FAQs". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  2. Hunnicutt, Michael (2005-04-05). "Max Baer and the Death of Ernie Schaaf". International Boxing Research Organization. Archived from the original on 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2018-11-26.