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Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man

Laura DiLorenzo, Independent Reading Project

Laura DiLorenzo

on 28 March 2011

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Transcript of Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man

Braddock THE RISE OF THE CINDERELLA MAN Written by: Jim Hague Project by: Laura DiLorenzo James J. Braddock is known as one of
the most respected and inspirational
professional boxers in American history. Nicknamed "the Cinderella Man", Braddock
had an impressive career with a number of
highs, lows, and amazing comebacks. Braddock gave hope to the nation as it struggled
through the Great Depression. He himself had lost
his fortune to it. Braddock fought his way back up to
greatness through his determination to support his
family. Early life... James J. Braddock was born as James
Walter Braddock on June 7, 1906 in Manhattan. He was the son of Irish immigrants. The young Jimmy was 17 years old when he was
introduced to boxing by his brother Joseph. After Braddock's first amateur fight on November 27, 1923, he started to become a sucessful amateur fighter. Braddock moved up the boxing ranks and took part in over 100 bouts. Going Professional... In 1926, Braddock took on a man named Joe
Gould to be his manager. Gould started booking
and promoting his fights. The two men would become
friends and work together for Braddock's entire career. On April 14, 1926, Braddock fought his first bout as a
professional boxer. The fight ended with no one as the
winner. Braddock's second fight took place on April 22 of that same year. He won, and an impressive winning streak began after that. By that November, Braddock won 11 fights by knockout.
He hadn't lost once. On November 12, Braddock fought Lou Barba
in Madison Square Garden. Braddock won, and by the end of 1926,
his record was an undefeated 14-0, with only two of his fights called
no decisions. In 1927, Braddock had a busy schedule and remained undefeated, gaining more fame. At the beginning of 1928, during a winning fight with Paul Swiderski, Braddock got his first serious injury when he broke his right hand. Braddock's right hand was a vital part of his boxing; he took 5 months off to recover. After the hand healed, Braddock continued his winning streak. But soon, Braddock realized his powerful right hand wasn't quite the same. Braddock had his first professional loss against Joe Monte. A Rising Star Becomes the No. 1 Boxing Contender... After the loss, Braddock won another fight. But he then got his second professional loss against Joe Sekyra. Braddock got back on track after that. He won more fights, gaining a large sum of money from each one. It was a good ending to 1928. Additionally, Braddock met his future wife that year. In 1929, Braddock's wins began to lessen. He even lost two fights in a row, a first for the great boxer. People started to question whether or not Braddock had peaked. His right hand was hurting again, and not only was his ability to box questioned, but his love of the sport was too. "We had it tough for a while."... "We had it tough for a while."... In 1929, Braddock's wins began to lessen. People started to wonder whether or not Braddock was peaked. His hand was hurting again, and both his ability and his love for the sport was doubted. Things got even worse when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. The Great Depression had begun. Braddock lost an estimated $300,000 in the crash, totally ruining his carefully planned finances. Braddock was almost broke. Braddock even had to return to his old job working at a dock, which was previously unthinkable. As Braddock lost more fights, people began to label him as a boxing bum who only fought and lost for small pay. Only a fairytale-like miracle could bring Braddock back from the bottom. In a fight against Martin Levandowski, Braddock once again broke his right hand. This time, he was rendered almost useless. The hand required surgery, but Braddock couldn't afford to pay for it. Braddock was reduced to getting government welfare and even deciding to retire from boxing completely. Braddock's Big Comeback... While working at the docks, Braddock was able to strenghten his left arm. This would become very useful for boxing. Braddock now had a powerful punch in both of his arms. Joe Gould was able to get Braddock one last fight in June of 1934. Braddock shockingly won, and Braddock began to earn back the respect of the boxing community. More wins followed, and soon Braddock found himself included in a tournament for the heavyweight championship. Braddock kept winning, and soon he was able to pay back all his welfare and debts. Amazed by Braddock's fairytale-like return to greatness, a reporter nicknamed Braddock "the Cinderella Man." The name was perfect; James Braddock would forever be known as the Cinderella Man. Braddock was set to fight Max Baer for the heavyweight championship on June 19, 1935. Braddock was the underdog, a very familiar term for Braddock. Baer was a vicious fighter, known for actually killing some men in the ring. Braddock won the fight and the heavyweight championship. He had beaten the odds, making that fight one of the most important in boxing history. Just nine months prior to the fight, Braddock was on welfare and in desperate need of any dollar he could get. Now he was the heavyweight champion of the world. The Cinderella Man... In January of 1938, Braddock retired from boxing as a successful and respected man. His professional record was 51 wins and 26 losses, the worst of any heavyweight champion. Yet Braddock was still great. He had come back from total defeat to become the heavyweight champion of the world. He was a symbol of hope for those struggling through the Great Depression. James J. Braddock was truly the Cinderella Man.
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