Max Baer (boxer)

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Max Baer
File:Max Baer at Speculator NY 1935.jpg
Baer in 1935
Real name Maximilian Adelbert Baer
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 2 12 in (1.89 m)
Nationality American
Born (1909-02-11)February 11, 1909
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Died November 21, 1959(1959-11-21) (aged 50)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 81
Wins 68
Wins by KO 59
Losses 13
Draws 0

Max Baer (February 11, 1909 – November 21, 1959) was an American boxer of the 1930s (one-time Heavyweight Champion of the World) as well as a referee, and had an occasional role on film or television. He was the brother of heavyweight boxing contender Buddy Baer and father of actor Max Baer, Jr. (best known as Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies). Baer is rated #22 on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Early life

Maximilian Adelbert Baer was born on June 11, 1909 in Omaha, Nebraska[1] to Jacob Baer (1875–1938), who was half Lutheran German and half Jewish German,[2][3] and Dora Bales (1877–1938), who was of Scots-Irish Protestant American ancestry.[4] Baer was nominally raised in a nonsectarian home.[5] His eldest 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.

Move to California

In May 1922, tired of the Durango, Colorado winters, which aggravated Frances's rheumatic fever and Jacob's high blood pressure,[6] the Baers drove to the milder climes of the West Coast, where Dora's sister lived in Alameda, California.[7] Jacob's expertise in the butcher business led to numerous job offers around the San Francisco Bay Area. While living in Hayward, Max took his first job as a delivery boy for John Lee Wilbur. Wilbur ran a grocery store and bought meat from Jacob.

The Baers lived in the Northern Californian towns of Hayward, San Leandro and Galt[7] before moving to Livermore in 1926. Livermore was cowboy country, surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of rangeland which supported large cattle herds that provided fresh meat to the local area. In 1928, Jacob bought the Twin Oaks Ranch in Murray Township where he raised over 2,000 hogs, and which he worked with daughter Frances's husband, Louis Santucci.[7] Baer often credited working as a butcher boy, carrying heavy carcasses of meat, stunning cattle with one blow, and working at a gravel pit, for developing his powerful shoulders (an article in the January, 1939 edition of The Family Circle Magazine reported that Baer also took the Charles Atlas exercise course.)[8]

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. He thought Baer was getting the count. 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 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 even might have been you, mightn't it?" she replied.[9][10]

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 not 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.[11]

Ernie Schaaf

The Campbell incident earned Max the reputation as a "killer" in the ring. This publicity was further sensationalized by Baer's return bout with Ernie Schaaf, who 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 over for 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."[12]

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,[13] 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.[9][14] 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.[15]

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

File:Max Baer and Max Schmeling.jpg
Baer declared winner in fight against Max Schmeling, 1933

In June 1933, Baer fought and defeated (by a technical knockout) German heavyweight and former world champion, Max Schmeling, at Yankee Stadium. Schmeling was favored to win, and was Adolf Hitler's favorite fighter. The Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer publicly attacked Schmeling for fighting a non-Aryan, calling it a "racial and cultural disgrace."[16]

Hitler summoned Schmeling for a private meeting in April, where he told Schmeling to contact him for help if he had any problems in the U.S., and requested that during any press interviews, he should tell the American public that news reports about Jewish persecution in Germany were untrue. However, a few days after that meeting, Hitler put a national ban on boxing by Jews along with a boycott of all Jewish businesses. When Schmeling arrived in New York, he did as Hitler requested, and denied problems of anti-Semitism existed, adding that many of his neighbors were Jews, as was his manager.[17]

Although the Great Depression, then in full force, had lowered the income of most citizens, sixty thousand people attended the fight.[16] NBC radio updated millions nationwide as the match progressed. Baer, who was one-quarter Jewish, wore trunks which displayed the Star of David,[18] a symbol he wore in all his future bouts. When the fight began, he dominated the rugged Schmeling into the tenth round, when Baer knocked him down and the referee stopped the match.[19] 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 win would come to "symbolize Jewry's struggle against the Nazis."[16]

Baer became a hero among Jews, those who identified with Jews, and those who despised the Nazis.[20] According to biographer David Bret, after the war ended, it was learned that Schmeling had in fact saved the lives of many Jewish children during the war while still serving his country.[21] Swedish film star Greta Garbo considered Baer's defeat of Schmeling to be a "mini-victory" over German fascism, and she invited him to visit her while she was filming Queen Christina in Hollywood, which led to a romance. Their relationship lasted until he had to return to New York to train for his next fight, against Primo Carnera.[21]

World Heavyweight Champion

On June 14, 1934, Baer, after knocking him down 11 times, won by technical knockout over the massive, 275-pound (125-kg) Primo Carnera, Heavyweight Champion of the World, to win the world title, which he would hold for 364 days.

James J. Braddock

On June 13, 1935, one of the greatest upsets in boxing history transpired 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]

Max "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 Baer until he wore Max down.[citation needed]

Decline and retirement

Baer and his brother Buddy both lost fights to Joe Louis. In the second round of Max's September 1935 match, Joe knocked Baer down to one knee, 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.[22] It was learned weeks later that Baer fought Louis with a broken right hand that never healed from his fight with Jimmy 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 T.K.O. over Pat Cominsky in a bout at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey on 26 September 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.[23] Baer retired after his next fight, on 4 April 1941, when he lost to Lou Nova on a T.K.O. in the eighth round of scheduled 10-rounder at Madison Square Garden. Nova did get a shot at Joe Louis.

Career statistics

Max Baer boxed in 84 professional fights from 1929 to 1941. In all, his record was 71–13–0. 53 of those fights 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 inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1968, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1984, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995 and 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.


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.

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 enlisted, as well as his brother Buddy, in the United States Army when World War II began.

Baer acted in almost 20 movies, including Africa Screams (1949) with Abbott and Costello, and made several TV 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 from which the movie was made, portrayed the Baer character, "Buddy Brannen", as blood thirsty, and the unfounded characterization was reprised in the movie Cinderella Man.

In 1951, Baer teamed up with another title holder; friend and Light Heavyweight champion (1929-'34) and boxer-turned actor/comedian, Maxie Rosenbloom. Together, the two starred in SkipAlong Rosenbloom (written by Rosenbloom-uncredited). They embarked on a comedy tour, billed as "The Two Maxie's" on YouTube. 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.

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.


Baer married twice, to actress Dorothy Dunbar (married July 8, 1931-divorced October 6, 1933), and to Mary Ellen Sullivan (1903–1978) (married June 29, 1935-his death 1959), the mother of his 3 children: actor Max Baer, Jr. (born 1937), James Manny Baer (born 1942), and Maudie Marian Baer (born 1944).

Baer never got to see his son perform as an actor on television. Max Baer Jr., played Jethro Bodine in the television series The Beverly Hillbillies and appeared on several other shows.

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.


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.[24]

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, the morning of November 21, he experienced chest pains. He called the front desk and asked for a doctor. The desk clerk said "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 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."[24]


Baer's funeral was one of the largest ever attended in Sacramento, where he had made his home for almost 30 years. "A crowd of more than 1,500 – many with scarred eyebrows and smashed noses bade farewell. Among his mourners were four former world champions, politicians, people in wheelchairs and Cub Scouts. There were 'men of wealth and distinction' – and bums shuffling off skid row. There were women in mink stoles and diamonds – and women in cotton house dresses, and in slacks. There were babies in the arms of their young mothers – and elderly couples, helping each other's halting steps. Hundreds of others, unable to get into the funeral home, crowded around the outside. Some chose vantage points on car roofs and nearby scaffolding. Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey were among his pallbearers. There were tears in the eyes of 'Curly' Owens, his one-time sparring partner, as he took down Max's gloves from a big white floral arrangement". The cemetery service was concluded by an American Legion firing squad, 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.[24] Bowing to his beloved wife's wishes, Max was buried by her faith, Roman Catholic, even though Max was really a non-sectarian believer.


There is a park named for Max Baer in Livermore, California even though he was born in Omaha. There is also a park in Sacramento named after him. 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.

In Grant County, West Virginia, there is a road that is named "Max Baer Road," however, according to Thomas "Duke" Miller, a TV/movie/celebrity expert who resides in that state, there is no reference anywhere that the Baer family ever had any ties with West Virginia.

Selected filmography

Alluded to in:

  • The Tortoise and the Hare (1934) Disney. In this cartoon short, a tortoise is pitted against a hare in a race. The first time the hare appears on screen, he is wearing a robe similar to a boxer's robe. On the back of the robe is emblazoned "Max Hare". This cartoon came out the year that Baer won his heavyweight title.

Portrayed in:

TV guest appearances

Professional boxing record

68 Wins (52 knockouts, 16 decisions), 13 Losses (3 knockouts, 10 decisions), 0 Draws [25]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 68-13 United States Lou Nova TKO 8 (10) 1941-04-04 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States Nova was knocked down in the 4th round. Baer was knocked down twice in the 8th. Referee Donovan stopped the bout as the count was at two.
Win 68-12 United States Pat Comiskey TKO 1 (10) 1940-09-26 United States Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Win 67-12 United States Tony Galento TKO 8 (15) 1940-07-02 United States Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States Galento was unable to answer the bell for the 8th round.
Win 66-12 United States Babe Ritchie KO 2 (10) 1939-09-18 United States Fair Park Stadium, Lubbock, Texas, United States Ritchie was knocked down twice.
Win 65-12 United States Big Ed Murphy KO 1 (4) 1939-09-04 United States Silver Peak, Nevada, United States
Loss 64-12 United States Lou Nova TKO 11 (12) 1939-06-01 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States Attendance: 16,778. Fight stopped by the referee because of severe laceration of Baer's lower lip.
Win 64-11 United States Hank Hankinson KO 1 (10) 1938-10-26 United States Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Win 63-11 United Kingdom Tommy Farr UD 12 1938-03-11 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States Farr was knocked down in the 2nd and 3rd.
Win 62-11 South Africa Ben Foord KO 9 (10) 1937-05-27 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London, England, United Kingdom
Loss 61-11 United Kingdom Tommy Farr PTS 12 1937-04-15 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London, England, United Kingdom
Win 61-10 United States Dutch Weimer KO 2 (10) 1936-10-19 Canada Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada A light slap to Weimer's ribs ended the bout, causing the crowd to roar its disgust. Someone threw an empty whiskey bottle at Baer. Leaving the ring, he turned to the crowd and shouted, "Well, you paid to get in – suckers."
Loss 60-10 United States Willie Davies PTS 6 1936-10-08 United States Platteville, Wisconsin, United States The fight was billed as an exhibition, yet Referee Ted Jamieson gave an official decision. Baer floored Davies in the 2nd round.
Win 60–9 United States Tim Charles KO 4 (6) 1936-10-06 United States Evansville, Illinois, United States Charles downed eight times.
Win 59–9 United States Bearcat Wright NWS 6 1936-09-14 United States Des Moines, Iowa, United States Newspaper decision from the Oelwein Daily Register (U.P. wire).
Win 58–9 United States Cowboy Sammy Evans KO 4 (6) 1936-09-07 United States Casper, Wyoming, United States
Win 57–9 United States Cyclone Lynch KO 3 (6) 1936-09-04 United States Rock Springs, Wyoming, United States
Win 56–9 United States Al Gaynor KO 1 (6) 1936-09-02 United States Lincoln Field, Twin Falls, Idaho, United States
Win 55–9 Don Baxter KO 1 (6) 1936-08-31 United States Memorial Ball Park, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Win 54–9 Al Frankco KO 2 (6) 1936-08-29 United States Recreation Park, Lewiston, Idaho, United States
Win 53–9 United States Nails Gorman TKO 2 (?) 1936-08-26 United States Marshfield, Oregon, United States
Win 52–9 United States Cecil Myart PTS 6 1936-08-25 United States Multnomah Stadium, Portland, Oregon, United States
Win 51–9 United States Bob Williams KO 1 (6) 1936-07-24 United States Ogden Stadium, Ogden, Utah, United States
Win 50–9 Cecil Smith PTS 4 1936-07-17 United States Convention Hall, Ada, Oklahoma, United States
Win 49–9 United States Junior Munsell KO 5 (6) 1936-07-16 United States Coliseum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States Munsell down in the 1st round. Munsell reportedly 22-0 entering contest. Source: Tulsa World.
Win 48–9 United States James Merriott KO 2 (6) 1936-07-13 United States Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Win 47–9 United States Buck Rogers KO 3 (6) 1936-07-02 United States Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 46–9 United States Wilson Dunn TKO 3 (6) 1936-06-24 United States Tech Field, San Antonio, Texas, United States Dunn announced at 183, was weighed after the fight and was actually 168. San Antonio Light.
Win 45–9 United States George Brown TKO 4 (6) 1936-06-23 United States Tyler, Texas, United States Brown was floored 3 times in the 4th round before his manager tossed in the towel.
Win 44–9 United States Harold Murphy PTS 6 1936-06-19 United States Armory, Pocatello, Idaho, United States Murphy was floored in the 3rd, 4th & 5th rounds.
Win 43–9 United States Bob Fraser TKO 2 (6) 1936-06-17 United States Ada Co. Fairgrounds, Boise, Idaho, United States
Win 42–9 United States Tony Souza PTS 6 1936-06-15 United States McCullough's Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States Souza was floored 4 times in the bout.
Loss 41–9 United States Joe Louis KO 4 (15) 1935-09-24 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States Attendance: 88,150. Jack Dempsey was in Baer's corner. Baer was knocked down twice in the 3rd round. 1935 Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
Loss 41–8 United States James Braddock UD 15 1935-06-13 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, New York City, New York, United States Lost NYSAC & NBA World Heavyweight titles. Baer feinted a knockdown in the 8th round.
Win 41–7 United States King Levinsky KO 2 (4) 1934-12-28 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States This was scheduled as an exhibition, no decision to be given at the end of four rounds. But Levinsky came out swinging and Baer became extremely angry. In round 2 Baer rushed to meet Levinsky and in less than a minute had pounded him to the canvas dead to the world.
Win 40–7 Kingdom of Italy Primo Carnera TKO 11 (15) 1934-06-14 United States Madison Square Garden Bowl, New York City, New York, United States Won NYSAC & NBA World Heavyweight titles. Baer floored Carnera 11 times, and had him wobbly on his legs, before Referee Donovan stopped the bout to protect Carnera from further punishment.
Win 39–7 Germany Max Schmeling TKO 10 (15) 1933-06-08 United States Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States 1933 Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
Win 38–7 United States Tuffy Griffiths TKO 7 (10) 1932-09-26 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 37–7 United States Ernie Schaaf MD 10 1932-08-31 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States "The bell deprived Baer of a knock-out victory. 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 restoring him to his senses." (Associated Press).
Win 36–7 United States King Levinsky PTS 20 1932-07-04 United States Dempsey's Bowl, Reno, Nevada, United States Attendance: 8,000 "Baer piled up a big lead throughout the fight." (AP).
Win 35–7 United States Walter Cobb TKO 4 (10) 1932-05-11 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 34–7 United States Paul Swiderski TKO 6 (10) 1932-04-26 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 33–7 New Zealand Tom Heeney PTS 10 1932-02-22 United States Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California, United States
Win 32–7 United States King Levinsky PTS 10 1932-01-29 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 31–7 United States Arthur De Kuh PTS 10 1931-12-30 United States Olympic Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 30–7 United States Les Kennedy KO 3 (10) 1931-11-23 United States Olympic Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 29–7 United States Johnny Risko PTS 10 1931-11-09 United States Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California, United States
Win 28–7 Portugal Jose Santa KO 10 (10) 1931-10-21 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Win 27–7 United States Jack Van Noy TKO 8 (10) 1931-09-23 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Loss 26–7 Second Spanish Republic Paulino Uzcudun PTS 20 1931-07-04 United States Race Track Arena, Reno, Nevada, United States
Loss 26–6 United States Johnny Risko PTS 10 1931-05-05 United States Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Win 26–5 United States Ernie Owens KO 2 (10) 1931-04-07 United States Auditorium, Portland, Oregon, United States Owens was down at the end of the 1st round from a right hand. After two more knockdowns in the 2nd, referee Tom Louttit raised Baer’s hand.
Loss 25–5 United States Tommy Loughran UD 10 1931-02-06 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Win 25–4 New Zealand Tom Heeney KO 3 (10) 1931-01-16 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States Referee Jack Dempsey picked up the count incorrectly. Knockdown time-keeper Arthur Donovan signaled Heeney out at Dempsey's count of 8. Heeney was waiting to hear "9" before arising. When he learned he had been counted out, he "protested strenuously," and the crowd "broke into a deafening roar of disapproval." New York Times.
Loss 24–4 United States Ernie Schaaf UD 10 1930-12-19 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States Schaaf "battered the Coast invader as thoroughly as ever a boxer has been pounded, to win a decision in as exciting a heavyweight encounter as has been seen here for some time". (James P. Douglas, New York Times).
Win 24–3 United States Frankie Campbell TKO 5 (10) 1930-08-25 United States Recreation Park, San Francisco, California, United States Onlookers claimed that Baer slugged Campbell after he was already unconscious but had held onto his feet by the ropes. Doctors worked over Campbell for half an hour and, failing to revive him, took him to a local hospital where other physicians and nurses worked over him for several hours. Campbell died from a severe concussion of the brain. CSAC soon suspended Referee for his failure to stop the fight.
Win 23–3 United States K O Christner KO 2 (10) 1930-08-11 United States Oaks Ballpark, Emeryville, California, United States Baer sent Christner to the floor three times in the 2nd stanza.
Loss 22–3 United States Les Kennedy PTS 10 1930-07-15 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 22–2 United States Ernie Owens KO 5 (10) 1930-06-25 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 21–2 United States Buck Weaver KO 1 (10) 1930-06-11 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 20–2 United States Jack Linkhorn KO 1 (10) 1930-05-28 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States Linkhorn down 3 times.
Win 19–2 Republic of Ireland Tom Toner KO 6 (10) 1930-05-07 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 18–2 United States Ernie Owens PTS 10 1930-04-22 United States Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States Owens knocked down for first time in career.
Win 17–2 United States Jack Stewart KO 2 (10) 1930-04-09 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 16–2 United States Tiny Abbott KO 6 (10) 1930-01-29 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Loss 15–2 United States Tiny Abbott DQ 3 (10) 1930-01-15 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States Baer was disqualified for hitting Abbott while he was being given a count; fined $100 for fouls.
Win 15–1 Mexico Tony Fuente KO 1 (10) 1929-12-30 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Win 14–1 United States Chet Shandel KO 2 (6) 1929-12-30 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Win 13–1 United States Tillie Taverna KO 2 (20) 1929-11-20 United States East Bay A.C., Oakland, California, United States
Win 12–1 United States Natie Brown PTS 6 1929-11-06 United States East Bay A.C., Oakland, California, United States
Win 11–1 United States Alex Rowe KO 1 (6) 1929-10-30 United States East Bay A.C., Oakland, California, United States
Win 10–1 United States Chief Caribou KO 1 (6) 1929-10-16 United States East Bay A.C., Oakland, California, United States
Win 9–1 United States George Carroll KO 1 (6) 1929-10-02 United States Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States
Win 8–1 United States Frank Rudzenski KO 3 (6) 1929-09-25 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States "Frank succumbed to a vicious left hook after being knocked half out of the ring with a right." (Hayward Review).
Loss 7–1 United States Jack McCarthy DQ 3 (6) 1929-09-04 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Win 7–0 United States Al Red Ledford KO 2 (6) 1929-08-28 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Win 6–0 United States Benny Hill PTS 4 1929-07-31 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Win 5–0 United States Benny Hill PTS 4 1929-07-24 United States East Bay A.C., Oakland, California, United States
Win 4–0 United States Al Red Ledford KO 1 (4) 1929-07-18 United States Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, United States
Win 3–0 United States Tillie Taverna KO 1 (4) 1929-07-04 United States Stockton, California, United States
Win 2–0 Sailor Leeds KO 1 (4) 1929-06-06 United States Stockton, California, United States
Win 1–0 United States Chief Caribou KO 2 (4) 1929-05-16 United States Oak Park Arena, Stockton, California, United States

See also


  1. "Omaha Nebraska". Retrieved June 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Fellerath, David (2005-06-02). "Fight Snub". Slate. Retrieved 2010-01-02. "My father is Jewish and my mother is Scotch-Irish" said Baer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. [1]
  6. Livermore Heritage Guild
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Brumbelow, Joseph, S. "Buddy Baer – Autobiography" 2003
  8. Muscles by Mail, Stewart Robertson, Family Circle Magazine, January 20, 1939, Vol.14, No. 3
  9. 9.0 9.1 Welcome to
  10. Shand, Bob, Oakland Tribune, September 26–31, 1930
  11. Oakland Tribune, September 26, 1930
  12. Associated Press, September 9, 1932
  13. Genealogy, Newspaper Archives, Family History Records
  14. Burying The ""
  15. "Jethro says Opie distorts Baer facts". New York Daily News. 2005-06-03. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Margolick, David. Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink, Knopf Doubleday Publishing (2005) pp. 39–40
  17. video: documentary film
  18. Max Baer profile at
  19. video: "Max Baer vs Max Schmeling (short)"
  20. Cavanaugh, Jack. Tunney: Boxing's Brainiest Champ and His Upset of the Great Jack Dempsey, Ballantine Books (2009) e-book
  21. 21.0 21.1 Bret, David. Greta Garbo: A Divine Star, Robson Press, U.K. (2012) e-book
  22. Moehringer, J.R. (January 7, 2007). "Mad Max – Los Angeles Times". Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Marcus, Norman. "Gunboat Smith: "White Heavyweight Champion of the World"". Retrieved 5 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Welcome to
  25. "Max Baer – Boxer". Retrieved 2013-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Other sources

External links

Preceded by
Primo Carnera
World Heavyweight Champion
June 14, 1934 – June 13, 1935
Succeeded by
James J. Braddock
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bob Fitzsimmons
Youngest Dying Heavyweight Champion

November 21, 1959 – August 31, 1969
Succeeded by
Rocky Marciano