Braddock, James J.


1936 autograph sentiment signed by “The Cinderella Man”, while boxing’s world heavyweight champion



Autograph ID: 7148
Condition: Very good, very slight smudge to top of “w” in sentiment
Description: “(1905-1974) American boxer, World Heavyweight Champion 1935-37, known for his spoiling, counterpunching style, powerful right hand and iron chin. He had lost several bouts due to chronic hand injuries and was forced to work on the docks and collect social assistance to feed his family during Great Depression. He made a comeback, and in 1935 defeated Max Baer for the heavyweight title. For this unlikely feat he was nicknamed “Cinderella Man” by journalist Damon Runyon.

Braddock turned pro at 21, fighting as a light heavyweight, his 1st ring fight in 1923, and after 3 years, his record was 44–2–2 with 21 knockouts. In 1928, he pulled off a major upset by knocking out highly regarded Tuffy Griffiths and in 1929 he narrowly lost the title bout to Tommy Loughran. Greatly depressed by the loss, he badly fractured his right hand in several places. His next 33 fights were far less successful, with a 11–20–2 record. With his family in poverty during the Great Depression, Braddock gave up boxing and worked on the docks. Due to frequent injuries to his right hand, Braddock compensated by using his left hand during his longshoreman work, and it became stronger than his right.

In 1934, Braddock fought John “Corn” Griffin and knocked out the “Ozark Cyclone” in the 3rd round. He then defeated John Henry Lewis, a future light heavyweight champion. After defeating Art Lasky, another highly regarded heavyweight contender, Braddock was given a title fight against World Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. Braddock was hand-picked by Baer’s handlers because he was seen as an easy payday for Baer. On June 13, 1935, at Madison Square Garden, Braddock won the Heavyweight Championship of the World in a unanimous decision as a 10-to-1 underdog in what was called “the greatest fistic upset since John L. Sullivan defeated Jim Corbett”.

On June 27, 1937, Braddock lost the title to Joe Louis and, 7 months later, in his last career fight, he defeated Tommy Farr. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 becoming a 1st lieutenant in the Pacific theater on Saipan, training enlisted men in hand-to-hand combat. He later worked as a marine equipment surplus supplier and helped construct the Verrazano Bridge in the early 1960s. He was a 2001 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The 2005 film “Cinderella Man” starred Russell Crowe as Braddock and Paul Giamatti as his manager Joe Gould.

Autograph sentiment (“Best wishes”) signed on 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ card. With envelope bearing manager Joe Gould’s printed return address, possibly addressed by him, postmarked NYC, March 17 1936.”
Type: Autograph Sentiment Signed

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