Max Baer (boxer)

Last updated

Max Baer Sr.
Max Baer publicity-A.jpg
Baer c. 1935
Born
Maximilian Adelbert Baer

(1909-02-11)February 11, 1909
DiedNovember 21, 1959(1959-11-21) (aged 50)
NationalityAmerican
Other namesThe Livermore Larupper

Madcap Maxie

Clown Prince of Boxing
Children3, including Max Jr.
Statistics
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height6 ft 2+12 in (1.89 m)
Reach81 in (206 cm) [1] [2]
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights81
Wins68
Wins by KO51
Losses13

Maximilian Adelbert Baer (February 11, 1909 – November 21, 1959) was an American professional boxer and the world heavyweight champion from June 14, 1934, to June 13, 1935. He was known in his time as the Livermore Larupper and Madcap Maxie. [3] [4] [5] Two of his fights (a 1933 win over Max Schmeling and a 1935 loss to James J. Braddock) were rated Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine. Baer was also a boxing referee, and had occasional roles in film and television. He was the brother of heavyweight boxing contender Buddy Baer and father of actor Max Baer Jr. Baer is rated #22 on The Ring magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Contents

Early life

Baer was born on February 11, 1909, in Omaha, Nebraska, [6] to Jacob Baer (1875–1938) and Dora Bales (1877–1938). His father was the son of Jewish immigrants from Alsace-Lorraine and his mother was of Scottish descent. [7] His elder sister was Frances May Baer (1905–1991), his younger sister was Bernice Jeanette Baer (1911–1987), his younger brother was boxer-turned-actor Jacob Henry Baer, better known as Buddy Baer (1915–1986), and his adopted brother was August "Augie" Baer. For a while Jacob Baer worked for the Graden Mercantile Company as the manager of their meat-packing plant [8] in Durango, Colorado.

Move to California

In May 1922, tired of the winters that aggravated Frances' rheumatic fever and Jacob's high blood pressure, [9] the Baers drove to the milder climate on the West Coast, where Dora's sister lived in Alameda, California. [10] Jacob's expertise in the meat business led to numerous job offers in the San Francisco Bay Area. While living in Hayward, Max took his first job as a delivery boy for John Lee Wilbur, who ran a grocery store and bought meat from Jacob.

The Baers lived in the Northern Californian towns of Hayward, San Leandro and Galt [10] before moving to Livermore in 1926. Livermore was ranch and cowboy country, surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of open land on which large cattle herds grazed and provided fresh meat to the local area. In 1928, Jacob leased the Twin Oaks Ranch in Murray Township, where he raised more than 2,000 hogs and worked with daughter Frances' husband, Louis Santucci. [10] Baer often credited his work carrying heavy carcasses of meat, stunning cattle with one blow, and working at a gravel pit for the development of his powerful shoulders (an article in the January 1939 edition of Family Circle reported that Baer also took the Charles Atlas exercise course.) [11]

Professional boxing career

Baer turned professional in 1929, progressing steadily through the Pacific Coast ranks. A ring tragedy little more than a year later almost caused Baer to drop out of boxing for good.

Frankie Campbell

Baer fought Frankie Campbell on August 25, 1930, in San Francisco in a ring built over home plate at San Francisco's Recreation Park for the unofficial title of Pacific Coast champion. In the second round, Campbell clipped Baer and Baer slipped to the canvas. Campbell went toward his corner and waved to the crowd, thinking that Baer was getting the count. In response, Baer got up and flew at Campbell, landing a right to Campbell's turned head which sent him to the canvas.

After the round, Campbell said to his trainer "Something feels like it snapped in my head", but he went on to handily win rounds 3 and 4. As Baer rose for the 5th round, Tillie "Kid" Herman, Baer's former friend and trainer, who had switched camps overnight and was now in Campbell's corner, savagely taunted and jeered Baer. In a rage and determined to end the bout with a knockout, Baer soon had Campbell against the ropes. As he hammered him with punch after punch, the ropes were the only thing holding Campbell up. By the time referee Toby Irwin stopped the fight, Campbell collapsed to the canvas. Baer's own seconds reportedly ministered to Campbell, and Baer stayed by his side until an ambulance arrived 30 minutes later. Baer "visited the stricken fighter's bedside", where he offered Frankie's wife Ellie the hand that hit her husband. She took that hand and the two stood speechless for a moment. "It was unfortunate, I'm awfully sorry", said Baer. "It could have been you," she replied. She forgave him. [12]

At noon the next day, with a lit candle laced between his crossed fingers, and his wife and mother beside him, Frankie Campbell was pronounced dead. Upon the surgeon's announcement of Campbell's death, Baer broke down and sobbed inconsolably. Brain specialist Dr. Tilton E. Tillman "declared death had been caused by a succession of blows on the jaw and by any struck on the rear of the head" and that Campbell's brain had been "knocked completely loose from his skull" by Baer's blows. [13]

Ernie Schaaf

The Campbell incident earned Baer the reputation as a "killer" in the ring. This publicity was further sensationalized by Baer's return bout with Ernie Schaaf, on August 31, 1932. Schaaf had bested Baer in a decision during Max's Eastern debut bout at Madison Square Garden on September 19, 1930.

An Associated Press article in the September 9, 1932, sports section of the New York Times describes the end of the return bout as follows:

Two seconds before the fight ended Schaaf was knocked flat on his face, completely knocked out. He was dragged to his corner and his seconds worked on him for three minutes before restoring him to his senses... Baer smashed a heavy right to the jaw that shook Schaaf to his heels, to start the last round, then walked into the Boston fighter, throwing both hands to the head and body. Baer drove three hard rights to the jaw that staggered Schaaf. Baer beat Schaaf around the ring and into the ropes with a savage attack to the head and body. Just before the round ended Baer dropped Schaaf to the canvas, but the bell sounded as Schaaf hit the floor. [14]

Schaaf complained frequently of headaches after that bout. Five months after the Baer fight, on February 11, 1933, Schaaf died in the ring after taking a left jab from the Italian fighter Primo Carnera. The majority of sports editors noted, [15] however, that an autopsy later revealed Schaaf had meningitis, a swelling of the brain, and was still recovering from a severe case of influenza when he touched gloves with Carnera. Schaaf's obituary stated that "just before his bout with Carnera, Schaaf went into reclusion in a religious retreat near Boston to recuperate from an attack of influenza" which produced the meningitis. [16] [17] The death of Campbell and accusations over Schaaf's demise profoundly affected Baer, even though he was ostensibly indestructible and remained a devastating force in the ring. According to his son, actor/director Max Baer Jr. (who was born seven years after the incident):

My father cried about what happened to Frankie Campbell. He had nightmares. In reality, my father was one of the kindest, gentlest men you would ever hope to meet. He treated boxing the way today's professional wrestlers do wrestling: part sport, mostly showmanship. He never deliberately hurt anyone. [18]

In the case of Campbell, Baer was charged with manslaughter. Baer was eventually acquitted of all charges, but the California State Boxing Commission still banned him from any in-ring activity within the state for the next year. Baer gave purses from succeeding bouts to Campbell's family, but lost four of his next six fights. He fared better when Jack Dempsey took him under his wing. [ citation needed ]

Max Schmeling

Boxing has found in Max Baer the kind of fighter who can bring the game back to the old days—the days when big men fought to knock each other out...So I believe that boxing's comeback now rests right on Baer's shoulders. He is only 24 years old, he's the biggest, strongest man fighting today, and he hits with terrible power.

Jack Dempsey,
former world heavyweight champion [19]

On June 8, 1933, Baer fought and defeated German heavyweight and former world champion Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium, by technical knockout. Schmeling was favored to win and was Adolf Hitler's favorite boxer. The Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer publicly attacked Schmeling for fighting a non-Aryan, as Baer's father was Jewish, calling it a "racial and cultural disgrace." [20]

Although the Great Depression, then in full force, had lowered the income of most citizens, sixty thousand people attended the boxing match. [20] NBC radio updated millions nationwide as the match progressed. Baer, who was of half Jewish descent, wore trunks which displayed the Star of David, [21] [22] a symbol he wore in all his future bouts. During the match, he dominated the rugged Schmeling into the tenth round, when Baer knocked Schmeling down and the referee stopped the match. [22] Columnist Westbrook Pegler wrote about Schmeling's loss, "That wasn't a defeat, that was a disaster", while journalist David Margolick claimed that Baer's victory would come to "symbolize Jewry's struggle against the Nazis." [20] Baer became a hero among Jews and those who despised the Nazis. [23]

Film star Greta Garbo considered Baer's defeat of Schmeling to be a "mini victory" over Nazism, and she invited Baer to visit her while she was filming Queen Christina in Hollywood. [24] However, Baer's presence on the set was considered a "sacrilege" in Hollywood, as even MGM studio's head, Louis B. Mayer, wasn't allowed on Garbo's set, since she demanded total privacy while acting. [25] Their friendship led to a romance, which lasted until he returned to New York to train for his next match against Primo Carnera. [24]

World Heavyweight Champion

On June 14, 1934, at the outdoor Madison Square Garden Bowl at Long Island City, New York, Baer defeated the huge reigning world champion Primo Carnera of Italy, who weighed in at 267 pounds. Baer knocked down the champion 11 times before the fight was stopped in the eleventh round by referee Arthur Donovan to save Carnera from further punishment. All the knockdowns occurred in rounds one, two, ten and eleven, which Baer thoroughly dominated. The intervening rounds were competitive. There is some dispute about the number of knockdowns scored, as Carnera slipped to the canvas on several occasions and was wrestled to the canvas other times. Despite this dominant performance over Carnera, Baer would hold the world heavyweight title for just 364 days.

James J. Braddock

On June 13, 1935, one of the greatest upsets in boxing history occurred in Long Island City, New York, as Baer fought down-and-out boxer James J. Braddock in the so-called Cinderella Man bout. 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 one round or three rounds or ten 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." Baer, ever the showman, "brought gales of laughter from the crowd with his antics" the night he stepped between the ropes to meet Braddock. As Braddock "slipped the blue bathrobe from his pink back, he was the sentimental favorite of a Bowl crowd of 30,000, most of whom had bet their money 8-to-1 against him." [ citation needed ]

Baer "undoubtedly paid the penalty for underestimating his challenger beforehand and wasting too much time clowning." At the end of 15 rounds Braddock emerged the victor in a unanimous decision, outpointing Baer 8 rounds to 6 in the "most astounding upset since John L. Sullivan went down before the thrusts of Gentleman Jim Corbett back in the nineties." Braddock took heavy hits from Baer but kept coming at him until he wore Max down. [ citation needed ]

The fight was featured in the 2005 film Cinderella Man . Baer was portrayed by Craig Bierko and Braddock was portrayed by Russell Crowe.

Decline and retirement

Baer and his brother Buddy both lost fights to Joe Louis. In the third round of Max's September 1935 match, Louis knocked Baer down twice, the first time he had ever been knocked to the canvas in his career. A sizzling left hook in the fourth round brought Max to his knee again, and the referee called the bout soon after. [26] [27] It was learned weeks later that Baer fought Louis with a broken right hand that never healed from his fight with James J. Braddock. Max was virtually helpless without his big right hand in the Louis fight. In the first televised heavyweight prizefight, Baer lost to Lou Nova on June 1, 1939, on WNBT-TV in New York.

White Heavyweight Champ

Baer was awarded a belt declaring him the "White Heavyweight Champion of the World" after he scored a first-round TKO over Pat Cominsky in a bout at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey, on September 26, 1940, but it was a publicity stunt. The fight was not promoted as being for the white heavyweight championship, and Cominsky would not have won the belt had he beaten Baer.

The belt was a publicity stunt dreamed up by boxing promoters who were trying to pressure promoter Mike Jacobs into giving the ex-world heavyweight champion a rematch with current champ Joe Louis. Jacobs did not give Baer another bout with Louis. [28] Baer retired after his next fight, on April 4, 1941, when he lost to Lou Nova on a TKO in the eighth round of a scheduled 10-rounder at Madison Square Garden. Nova did get a shot at Joe Louis, losing to the champion by TKO in the sixth round of a scheduled fifteen-round bout held at the Polo Grounds in New York.

Career statistics

Baer boxed in 84 professional fights from 1929 to 1941. In all, his record was 71–13. Fifty-three of those wins were knockouts, making him a member of the exclusive group of boxers to have won 50 or more bouts by knockout. Baer defeated the likes of Ernie Schaaf, Walter Cobb, Kingfish Levinsky, Max Schmeling, Tony Galento, Ben Foord and Tommy Farr. He was Heavyweight Champion of the World from June 14, 1934, to June 13, 1935.

Baer was a 1968 inductee into The Ring magazine's Boxing Hall of Fame (disbanded in 1987) and was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995. He was inducted to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. The 1998 Holiday Issue of Ring ranked Baer #20 in "The 50 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time". In Ring Magazine's 100 Greatest Punchers (published in 2003), Baer is ranked number 22.

Acting

Baer and Jean Howard in The Prizefighter and the Lady Baer Loy in The Prizefighter and the Lady.jpg
Baer and Jean Howard in The Prizefighter and the Lady

Baer's motion picture debut was in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) opposite Myrna Loy and Walter Huston. In this MGM movie he played Steven "Steve" Morgan, a bartender that the Professor, played by Huston, begins training for the ring. Steve wins a fight, then marries Belle Mercer, played by Loy. He starts seriously training, but it turns out he has a huge ego and an eye for women. Featured were Baer's upcoming opponent, Primo Carnera, as himself, whom Steve challenges for the championship, and Jack Dempsey, as himself, former heavyweight champion, acting as the referee. [29]

On March 29, 1934, The Prizefighter and the Lady was officially banned in Germany at the behest of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's Minister of Propaganda and Public Entertainment, even though it received favorable reviews in local newspapers as well as in Nazi publications. When contacted for comment at Lake Tahoe, Baer said, "They didn't ban the picture because I have Jewish blood. They banned it because I knocked out Max Schmeling." Baer, along with his brother Buddy, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force when World War II began. [30]

Baer acted in almost 20 movies, including Africa Screams (1949) with Abbott and Costello, and made several television guest appearances. A clown in and out of the ring, Baer also appeared in a vaudeville act and on his own TV variety show. Baer appeared in Humphrey Bogart's final movie, The Harder They Fall (1956), opposite Mike Lane as Toro Moreno, a Hollywood version of Primo Carnera, whom Baer defeated for his heavyweight title. Budd Schulberg, who wrote the book on which the movie was based, portrayed the Baer character, "Buddy Brannen", as bloodthirsty, and the unfounded characterization was reprised in the movie Cinderella Man .

In 1950, Baer teamed up with another titleholder, friend and Light Heavyweight champion (1929–34) and boxer-turned actor/comedian, Maxie Rosenbloom. Together, the two starred in four slapstick comedy shorts for Columbia Pictures (produced by the makers of the Three Stooges comedies) [31] and one feature film, Skipalong Rosenbloom (written by Rosenbloom, uncredited). The team embarked on a comedy tour, billed as "The Two Maxie's". Baer would also take the stage at Rosenbloom's comedy club on Wilshire Blvd, Slapsy Maxie's, which was featured in the film Gangster Squad. Baer and Rosenbloom remained friends until Baer's death in 1959. [29]

Baer additionally worked as a disc jockey for a Sacramento radio station, and for a while he was a wrestler. He served as public relations director for a Sacramento automobile dealership and referee for boxing and wrestling matches.

Family

Baer was married twice, first to actress Dorothy Dunbar (married July 8, 1931 – divorced October 3, 1933) and then to Mary Ellen Sullivan (1903–1978) (married June 29, 1935 – his death 1959), the mother of his three children: actor Max Baer Jr. (b. 1937), best known for playing Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies ; James Manny Baer (1941–2009); and Maudie Marian Baer (b. 1944).

At the time of his death on November 21, 1959, Baer was scheduled to appear in some TV commercials in Los Angeles before returning to his home in Sacramento.

Death

Baer refereeing a match between George Godfrey (left) and Hank Hankinson, 1937 Max Baer referees a boxing match 1937.jpg
Baer refereeing a match between George Godfrey (left) and Hank Hankinson, 1937

On Wednesday, November 18, 1959, Baer refereed a nationally televised 10-round boxing match in Phoenix. At the end of the match, to the applause of the crowd, Baer grasped the ropes and vaulted out of the ring and joined fight fans in a cocktail bar. The next day, he was scheduled to appear in several television commercials in Hollywood, California. On his way, he stopped in Garden Grove, California, to keep a promise he had made thirteen years earlier to the then five-year-old son of his ex-sparring partner, Curly Owens. Baer presented the now 18-year-old with a foreign sports car on his birthday, as he had said he would. [32]

Baer checked into the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel upon his arrival on November 19. Hotel employees said he looked fit but complained of a cold. As he was shaving on the morning of November 21, he experienced chest pains. He called the front desk and asked for a doctor. The desk clerk said that "a house doctor would be right up." "A house doctor?" he replied jokingly, "No, dummy, I need a people doctor".

A doctor gave Baer medicine, and a fire department rescue squad administered oxygen. His chest pains subsided and he was showing signs of recovery when he was stricken with a second heart attack. Just a moment before, he was joking with the doctor, declaring he had come through two similar but lighter attacks earlier in Sacramento, California. Then he slumped on his left side, turned blue and died within a matter of minutes. His last words reportedly were, "Oh God, here I go." [32]

Funeral

Baer's funeral in Sacramento was attended by more than 1,500 mourners. Four former world boxing champions appeared and Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey were among the pallbearers. The cemetery service was concluded by an American Legion honor guard recognizing Baer's service in World War II. Baer's obituary made the front page of The New York Times . He was laid to rest in a garden crypt in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Sacramento.

Legacy

There is a park named for Baer in Livermore, California. There is also a park named for him in Sacramento. He was honored by the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Baer was an active member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. When Max died of a heart attack in 1959, the Eagles created a charity fund as a tribute to his memory and as a means of combating the disease that killed him. The Max Baer Heart Fund is primarily to aid in heart research and education. Since the fund started in 1959, millions of dollars have been donated to universities, medical centers and hospitals across the United States and Canada for heart research and education.

Selected filmography

Carnera, Loy and Baer in The Prizefighter and the Lady Max Baer, Myrna Loy, Primo Carnera 1932.jpg
Carnera, Loy and Baer in The Prizefighter and the Lady

Portrayed in:

TV guest appearances

Professional boxing record

All information in this section is derived from BoxRec, [33] unless otherwise stated.

Official record

81 fights66 wins13 losses
By knockout513
By decision158
By disqualification02
Newspaper decisions/draws 2

All newspaper decisions are officially regarded as "no decision" bouts and are not counted in the win/loss/draw column.

No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
81Loss66–13 (2) Lou Nova TKO8 (10), 2:18April 4, 1941Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
80Win66–12 (2)Pat ComiskeyTKO1 (10), 2:39September 26, 1940Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
79Win65–12 (2) Tony Galento RTD7 (15)July 2, 1940 Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
78Win64–12 (2)Babe RitchieKO2 (10), 1:10September 18, 1939 Fair Park Stadium, Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
77Win63–12 (2)Big Ed MurphyKO1 (4), 1:40September 4, 1939 Silver Peak, Nevada, U.S.
76Loss62–12 (2) Lou Nova TKO11 (12), 1:21June 1, 1939Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
75Win62–11 (2)Hank HankinsonKO1 (10), 0:48October 26, 1938 Civic Auditorium, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
74Win61–11 (2) Tommy Farr UD15March 11, 1938Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
73Win60–11 (2) Ben Foord TKO9 (10)May 27, 1937Harringay Arena, London, England
72Loss59–11 (2) Tommy Farr PTS12April 15, 1937 Harringay Arena, London, England
71Win59–10 (2)Dutch WeimerKO2 (10), 1:30October 19, 1936 Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
70Loss58–10 (2)Willie DaviesPTS6October 8, 1936 Platteville, Wisconsin, U.S.
69Win58–9 (2)Tim CharlesKO4 (6)October 6, 1936 Coliseum, Evansville, Illinois, U.S.
68Win57–9 (2)Andy MillerNWS6September 21, 1936 Sheldon, Iowa, Iowa, U.S.
67Win57–9 (1)Bearcat WrightNWS6September 14, 1936 Des Moines Coliseum, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
66Win57–9Cowboy Sammy EvansKO3 (6)September 7, 1936Elks Hall, Casper, Wyoming, U.S.
65Win56–9Cyclone LynchKO3 (6)September 4, 1936 Rock Springs, Wyoming, U.S.
64Win55–9Al GaynorKO1 (6)September 2, 1936Lincoln Field, Twin Falls, Idaho, U.S.
63Win54–9Don BaxterKO1 (6)August 31, 1936Memorial Ball Park, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, U.S.
62Win53–9Al FrankcoKO2 (6)August 29, 1936Recreation Park, Lewiston, Idaho, U.S.
61Win52–9Cecil MyartPTS6August 25, 1936 Multnomah Stadium, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
60Win51–9Nails GormanTKO3 (6)August 24, 1936Armory, Marshfield, Wisconsin, U.S.
59Win50–9Bob WilliamsKO1 (6), 3:00July 24, 1936 Ogden Stadium, Ogden, Utah, U.S.
58Win49–9Cecil SmithPTS4July 17, 1936Convention Hall, Ada, Oklahoma, U.S.
57Win48–9Junior MunsellKO5 (6), 0:45July 16, 1936 Tulsa Coliseum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
56Win47–9James MerriottKO2 (6)July 13, 1936Avey's Open-Air Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
55Win46–9Buck RogersKO3 (6)July 2, 1936 Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
54Win45–9Wilson DunnTKO3 (6)June 24, 1936 Tech Field, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
53Win44–9George BrownTKO4 (6)June 23, 1936 Tyler, Texas, U.S.
52Win43–9Harold MurphyPTS6June 19, 1936Pocatello Armory, Pocatello, Idaho, U.S.
51Win42–9Bob FraserTKO2 (6)June 17, 1936Ada Co. Fairgrounds, Boise, Idaho, U.S.
50Win41–9Tony SouzaPTS6June 15, 1936McCullough's Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
49Loss40–9 Joe Louis KO4 (15), 3:09September 24, 1935Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
48Loss40–8 James J. Braddock UD15June 13, 1935Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, New York, U.S.Lost NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
47Win40–7 Primo Carnera TKO11 (15), 2:16June 14, 1934 Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, New York, U.S.Won NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
46Win39–7 Max Schmeling TKO10 (15), 1:51June 8, 1933 Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
45Win38–7 Tuffy Griffiths TKO7 (10), 0:58September 26, 1932Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
44Win37–7 Ernie Schaaf MD10August 31, 1932 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
43Win36–7 King Levinsky PTS20July 4, 1932Dempsey's Bowl, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
42Win35–7Walter CobbTKO4 (10)May 11, 1932Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
41Win34–7Paul SwiderskiTKO6 (10)April 26, 1932Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
40Win33–7 Tom Heeney PTS10February 22, 1932Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
39Win32–7 King Levinsky UD10January 29, 1932Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
38Win31–7Arthur De KuhPTS10December 30, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
37Win30–7Les KennedyKO3 (10)November 23, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
36Win29–7Johnny RiskoPTS10November 9, 1931 Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
35Win28–7 Santa Camarão KO10 (10)October 21, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
34Win27–7Jack Van NoyTKO8 (10)September 23, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
33Loss26–7 Paulino Uzcudun PTS20July 4, 1931Race Track Arena, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
32Loss26–6Johnny RiskoUD10May 5, 1931 Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
31Win26–5Ernie OwensKO2 (10)April 7, 1931 Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
30Loss25–5 Tommy Loughran UD10February 6, 1931Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
29Win25–4 Tom Heeney KO3 (10)January 16, 1931Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
28Loss24–4 Ernie Schaaf UD10December 19, 1930 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
27Win24–3 Frankie Campbell TKO5 (10)August 25, 1930 Recreation Park, San Francisco, California, U.S.Campbell died of injuries sustained from the fight. [34]
26Win23–3KO ChristnerKO2 (10)August 11, 1930 Oaks Ballpark, Emeryville, California, U.S.
25Loss22–3Les KennedyPTS10July 15, 1930Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
24Win22–2Ernie OwensKO5 (10)June 25, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
23Win21–2Buck WeaverKO1 (10)June 11, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
22Win20–2Jack LinkhornKO1 (10)May 28, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
21Win19–2Tom TonerTKO6 (10)May 7, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
20Win18–2Ernie OwensPTS10April 22, 1930 Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
19Win17–2Jack StewartKO2 (10)April 9, 1930 Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
18Win16–2Tiny AbbottKO6 (10)January 29, 1930 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
17Loss15–2Tiny AbbottDQ3 (10)January 15, 1930Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
16Win15–1Tony FuenteKO1 (10)December 30, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
15Win14–1Chet ShandelKO2 (10)December 4, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
14Win13–1Tillie TavernaKO2 (10)November 20, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
13Win12–1Natie BrownPTS6November 6, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
12Win11–1Alex RoweKO1 (6)October 30, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
11Win10–1Chief CaribouTKO1 (6)October 16, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
10Win9–1George CarrollTKO1 (6)October 2, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
9Win8–1Frank RudzenskiKO3 (6)September 25, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
8Loss7–1Jack McCarthyDQ3 (6)September 4, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
7Win7–0Al Red LedfordKO2 (6)August 8, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
6Win6–0Benny HillPTS4July 31, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
5Win5–0Benny HillPTS4July 24, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
4Win4–0Al Red LedfordKO1 (4), 2:02July 18, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.
3Win3–0Tillie TavernaKO1 (4), 2:01July 4, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.
2Win2–0Sailor LeedsTKO1 (4), 1:30June 6, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.
1Win1–0Chief CaribouTKO2 (4)May 16, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.

Unofficial record

81 fights68 wins13 losses
By knockout513
By decision178
By disqualification02

Record with the inclusion of newspaper decisions in the win/loss/draw column.

No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
81Loss68–13 Lou Nova TKO8 (10), 2:18Apr 4, 1941Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
80Win68–12Pat ComiskeyTKO1 (10), 2:39Sep 26, 1940Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
79Win67–12 Tony Galento RTD7 (15)Jul 2, 1940 Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
78Win66–12Babe RitchieKO2 (10), 1:10Sep 18, 1939 Fair Park Stadium, Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
77Win65–12Big Ed MurphyKO1 (4), 1:40Sep 4, 1939 Silver Peak, Nevada, U.S.
76Loss64–12 Lou Nova TKO11 (12), 1:21Jun 1, 1939Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
75Win64–11Hank HankinsonKO1 (10), 0:48Oct 26, 1938 Civic Auditorium, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
74Win63–11 Tommy Farr UD15Mar 11, 1938Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
73Win62–11 Ben Foord TKO9 (10)May 27, 1937Harringay Arena, London, England
72Loss61–11 Tommy Farr PTS12Apr 15, 1937 Harringay Arena, London, England
71Win61–10Dutch WeimerKO2 (10), 1:30Oct 19, 1936 Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
70Loss60–10Willie DaviesPTS6Oct 8, 1936 Platteville, Wisconsin, U.S.
69Win60–9Tim CharlesKO4 (6)Oct 6, 1936 Coliseum, Evansville, Illinois, U.S.
68Win59–9Andy MillerNWS6Sep 21, 1936 Sheldon, Iowa, Iowa, U.S.
67Win58–9Bearcat WrightNWS6Sep 14, 1936 Des Moines Coliseum, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
66Win57–9Cowboy Sammy EvansKO3 (6)Sep 7, 1936Elks Hall, Casper, Wyoming, U.S.
65Win56–9Cyclone LynchKO3 (6)Sep 4, 1936 Rock Springs, Wyoming, U.S.
64Win55–9Al GaynorKO1 (6)Sep 2, 1936Lincoln Field, Twin Falls, Idaho, U.S.
63Win54–9Don BaxterKO1 (6)Aug 31, 1936Memorial Ball Park, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, U.S.
62Win53–9Al FrankcoKO2 (6)Aug 29, 1936Recreation Park, Lewiston, Idaho, U.S.
61Win52–9Cecil MyartPTS6Aug 25, 1936 Multnomah Stadium, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
60Win51–9Nails GormanTKO3 (6)Aug 24, 1936Armory, Marshfield, Wisconsin, U.S.
59Win50–9Bob WilliamsKO1 (6), 3:00Jul 24, 1936 Ogden Stadium, Ogden, Utah, U.S.
58Win49–9Cecil SmithPTS4Jul 17, 1936Convention Hall, Ada, Oklahoma, U.S.
57Win48–9Junior MunsellKO5 (6), 0:45Jul 16, 1936 Tulsa Coliseum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
56Win47–9James MerriottKO2 (6)Jul 13, 1936Avey's Open-Air Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
55Win46–9Buck RogersKO3 (6)Jul 2, 1936 Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
54Win45–9Wilson DunnTKO3 (6)Jun 24, 1936 Tech Field, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
53Win44–9George BrownTKO4 (6)Jun 23, 1936 Tyler, Texas, U.S.
52Win43–9Harold MurphyPTS6Jun 19, 1936Pocatello Armory, Pocatello, Idaho, U.S.
51Win42–9Bob FraserTKO2 (6)Jun 17, 1936Ada Co. Fairgrounds, Boise, Idaho, U.S.
50Win41–9Tony SouzaPTS6Jun 15, 1936McCullough's Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
49Loss40–9 Joe Louis KO4 (15), 3:09Sep 24, 1935Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
48Loss40–8 James J. Braddock UD15Jun 13, 1935Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, New York, U.S.Lost NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
47Win40–7 Primo Carnera TKO11 (15), 2:16Jun 14, 1934 Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, New York, U.S.Won NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
46Win39–7 Max Schmeling TKO10 (15), 1:51Jun 8, 1933 Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
45Win38–7 Tuffy Griffiths TKO7 (10), 0:58Sep 26, 1932Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
44Win37–7 Ernie Schaaf MD10Aug 31, 1932 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
43Win36–7 King Levinsky PTS20Jul 4, 1932Dempsey's Bowl, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
42Win35–7Walter CobbTKO4 (10)May 11, 1932Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
41Win34–7Paul SwiderskiTKO6 (10)Apr 26, 1932Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
40Win33–7 Tom Heeney PTS10Feb 22, 1932Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
39Win32–7 King Levinsky UD10Jan 29, 1932Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
38Win31–7Arthur De KuhPTS10Dec 30, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
37Win30–7Les KennedyKO3 (10)Nov 23, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
36Win29–7Johnny RiskoPTS10Nov 9, 1931 Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
35Win28–7 Santa Camarão KO10 (10)Oct 21, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
34Win27–7Jack Van NoyTKO8 (10)Sep 23, 1931Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
33Loss26–7 Paulino Uzcudun PTS20Jul 4, 1931Race Track Arena, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
32Loss26–6Johnny RiskoUD10May 5, 1931 Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
31Win26–5Ernie OwensKO2 (10)Apr 7, 1931 Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
30Loss25–5 Tommy Loughran UD10Feb 6, 1931Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
29Win25–4 Tom Heeney KO3 (10)Jan 16, 1931Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
28Loss24–4 Ernie Schaaf UD10Dec 19, 1930 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
27Win24–3 Frankie Campbell TKO5 (10)Aug 25, 1930 Recreation Park, San Francisco, California, U.S.Campbell died of injuries sustained from the fight. [34]
26Win23–3KO ChristnerKO2 (10)Aug 11, 1930 Oaks Ballpark, Emeryville, California, U.S.
25Loss22–3Les KennedyPTS10Jul 15, 1930Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
24Win22–2Ernie OwensKO5 (10)Jun 25, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
23Win21–2Buck WeaverKO1 (10)Jun 11, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
22Win20–2Jack LinkhornKO1 (10)May 28, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
21Win19–2Tom TonerTKO6 (10)May 7, 1930Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
20Win18–2Ernie OwensPTS10Apr 22, 1930 Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
19Win17–2Jack StewartKO2 (10)Apr 9, 1930 Oakland Civic Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
18Win16–2Tiny AbbottKO6 (10)Jan 29, 1930 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
17Loss15–2Tiny AbbottDQ3 (10)Jan 15, 1930Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
16Win15–1Tony FuenteKO1 (10)Dec 30, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
15Win14–1Chet ShandelKO2 (10)Dec 4, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
14Win13–1Tillie TavernaKO2 (10)Nov 20, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
13Win12–1Natie BrownPTS6Nov 6, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
12Win11–1Alex RoweKO1 (6)Oct 30, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
11Win10–1Chief CaribouTKO1 (6)Oct 16, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
10Win9–1George CarrollTKO1 (6)Oct 2, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
9Win8–1Frank RudzenskiKO3 (6)Sep 25, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
8Loss7–1Jack McCarthyDQ3 (6)Sep 4, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
7Win7–0Al Red LedfordKO2 (6)Aug 8, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
6Win6–0Benny HillPTS4Jul 31, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
5Win5–0Benny HillPTS4Jul 24, 1929Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, U.S.
4Win4–0Al Red LedfordKO1 (4), 2:02Jul 18, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.
3Win3–0Tillie TavernaKO1 (4), 2:01Jul 4, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.
2Win2–0Sailor LeedsTKO1 (4), 1:30Jun 6, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.
1Win1–0Chief CaribouTKO2 (4)May 16, 1929Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, U.S.

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Other sources

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Preceded by NYSAC heavyweight champion
June 14, 1934 – June 13, 1935
Succeeded by
NBA heavyweight champion
June 14, 1934 – June 13, 1935
The Ring heavyweight champion
June 14, 1934 – June 13, 1935
Undisputed heavyweight champion
June 14, 1934 – June 13, 1935
Records
Preceded by Youngest world heavyweight champion
to have died
Age 50

November 21, 1959 – August 31, 1969
Succeeded by