Why did Braddock wait 2 years to defend his title?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Saintpat, Jul 7, 2019.


  1. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    The Cinderella Man put the world’ most prestigious athletic championship in the freezer for two whole years after beating Max Baer. He finally took a big payday to fight Joe Louis, and we all know what happened.

    Braddock has been painted as the Everyman, the popular people’s champ who overcame the odds to show that ‘one of us’ could do something great during the tough times of the Great Depression. Yet the people’s champ didn’t do anything with the belt after he won it.

    Why?

    I know there was talk of a fight with Schmeling and many did not want the heavyweight crown landing in Hitler’s lap, which is understandable. But Max wasn’t the only possible challenger out there — a Baer rematch or a couple of easy defenses to please the public could surely have been arranged.

    Anyone have any insight into why he put the belt on the shelf?
     
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  2. SolomonDeedes

    SolomonDeedes Active Member Full Member

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    He was supposed to defend the title against Schmeling in September 1936, but that got postponed, supposedly because Braddock had arthritis in his left hand. Conveniently, the delay gave Louis time to rebuild his reputation after his loss to Schmeling, and Braddock took the big money for a defence against him instead.
     
  3. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Boxing Junkie booted Full Member

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    Long story short, Braddock sat out his contract with Madison Square Garden Corp until it expired.

    Jim Braddock signed a contract with the Madison Square Garden Corporation that stated if he won the title against Max Baer in June 1935, he couldn't defend against anyone except an opponent of MSG Corporation's choice. And he had to make that defense by September 1936.

    MSG Corp wanted a big opponent. They didn't want to waste their deal on Braddock making an easy defense against a nobody.

    When Schmeling won what was essentially an eliminator against Louis in June 1936, MSG Corp said Braddock had to fight the #1 contender Schmeling by September 1936.

    Braddock then claimed he'd injured his hand in training and couldn't fight in September.

    The deal with MSG expired on June 3, 1937. So MSG was getting anxious. They felt like they were about to get screwed, and they were. Braddock delayed and delayed.

    Then, in the spring of 1937, Braddock and his manager announced they were fighting Joe Louis on June 22, 1937 in Chicago, just after the deal with MSG would expire.

    MSG sued Braddock. But the fight went ahead anyway.

    It would basically be like if before Andy Ruiz upset Anthony Joshua he'd signed a deal saying he'd defend against anyone of Eddie Hearn's choice if he won ... then (after winning) Ruiz claimed an injury and sat out for two years until his contract with Hearn expired ... and then Ruiz announced (while he was still under contract with Hearn) that he was fighting Deontay Wilder two weeks after his deal with Hearn expired.

    Here are the details.

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  4. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Thanks for the background. Should have worked with him to give Braddock one easy gimme and then his choice of Max or Joe.
     
  5. KasimirKid

    KasimirKid Member Full Member

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    Not sure any credible challenger for Braddock would have been a "gimme." MSG was not a charitable organization, they would have held out for an opponent good enough to insure a reasonable profit. Also Braddock knew his limitations and was looking for one big money shot.
     
  6. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Braddock basically knew that his next title defense would be his last.

    The only way that he could have a gimme fight, would have been to fight somebody like Ben Foord, which his contract would never have allowed.

    His options were:

    A. Cash out against Schmeling
    B. Cash out against Louis
    C. Try to beat one of them

    In the end he decided to cash out against the man who brought the most money to the table, and why not have a go at beating him while you are at it?
     
  7. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    To keep it and ring every possible financial advantage he could out of it, without actually risking his crown. I think Joe Gould knew in his heart Schmeling would beat Braddock ,so they went for Mike Jacobs pension plan, a percentage of Jacobs promotional earnings involving the heavyweight title at MSG.
     
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  8. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    He’s been painted as this wildly popular guy with the masses. Seems like he could have drawn a big house against a credible but relatively harmless challenger.
     
  9. KasimirKid

    KasimirKid Member Full Member

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    He was popular because of the circumstances surrounding his victory over Baer. IMO, he was not that popular as an exciting fighter. In those days, it took a good fight to draw fans. Braddock himself was not that big a draw. His fan base was the casual boxing fan who followed the fights reading the fanciful articles about the Cinderella Man in the newspaper. They were still in the throes of the Depression and weren't apt to spend their money on just any old fight that they could hear for free on the radio.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  10. Chuck1052

    Chuck1052 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    James J. Braddock, due to being a very limited fighter for a world heavyweight champion, had to get the best payday possible in his first defense of the title. Making a so-called easy defense of the title would have be a huge risk for a fighter of Braddock's ability. During the hard economic times of the 1930s, a so-called easy defense may not have drawn a large gate for title bout, reducing the chance of Braddock getting a massive payday.

    Joe Louis was far and away the biggest gate attraction of the 1930s. As a result, Braddock was more likely to get his massive payday making a title defense in a bout with Louis.

    - Chuck Johnston
     
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  11. Dempsey1238

    Dempsey1238 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    And ten percent of Louis's purse for the next ten years didn't hurt either.
     
  12. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Ten percent of Mike Jacobs earnings from the heavyweight title actually.
     
  13. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti The Ad Wolgast of Googling Stuff Full Member

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    On the other hand Braddock had been plagued with hand issues before his come back, so it's not unbelievable he'd postpone due to hand issues.
     
  14. sweetsci

    sweetsci Active Member Full Member

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    The consensus seems to be that Braddock would likely lose the title to whomever they put him in with. But Louis' first defense was against Tommy Farr, then Braddock decisioned Farr a few months after that. So what about a Braddock defense against Farr? Or did Louis soften up Farr for Braddock?
     
  15. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Do you buy it?
     


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