Which boxer was known as the ‘Cinderella Man’?
The boxer who became known as the ‘Cinderella Man’ was American James Braddock, who was so christened by author Damon Runyon after an unexpected victory over Max Baer in a world heavyweight title fight in 1935. Despite a series of crippling hand injuries, which threatened to end his career, Braddock returned to the ring in 1934 and, after defeating several much touted contenders, earned himself a shot at the heavyweight title. He lined up against Baer as 10/1 underdog, but despite being shaken by a short right hand in the seventh round, kept coming and eventually won the contest by unanimous decision, to complete one of the greatest ‘rags-to-riches’ stories in boxing history.
Braddock made defended his title just once, against leading contender Joe Louis two years later. Once again, he held his own, but eventually succumbed to a powerful right hand, which caught him flush on the jaw and sent him to the canvas; it was his only defeat by knockout in his 86-fight career. Braddock fought just one more, beating Tommy Farr, by split decision, the following January before retiring. Nevertheless, his contract for the Louis fight guaranteed him 10% of Louis’ earnings from future title fights, so Braddock was financially secure for the rest of his life.