The Magnificent Max Baer

The Magnificent Max Baer


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About the Book

Boxing might not have survived the 1930s if not for Max Baer. A contender for every heavyweight championship 1932–1941, California’s “Glamour Boy” brought back the “million-dollar gate” not seen since the 1920s. His radio voice sold millions of Gillette razor blades; his leading-man appeal made him a heartthrob in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933). The film was banned in Nazi Germany—Baer had worn a Star of David on his trunks when he TKOed German former champ Max Schmeling. Baer defeated 275-pound Primo Carnera in 1934 for the championship, losing it to Jim Braddock the next year. Contrary to Cinderella Man, (2005), Baer—favored 10 to 1—was not a villain and the fight was more controversial than the film suggested. His battle with Joe Louis three months later drew the highest gate of the decade. This first comprehensive biography covers Baer’s complete ring record, his early life, his career on radio, film, stage and television, and his World War II army service.

About the Author(s)

Colleen Aycock, co-editor for the International Boxing Research Organization, was named to the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame and is the author, co-author or co-editor of five books on boxing. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

David W. Wallace is a retired, aerospace systems engineer. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bibliographic Details

Colleen Aycock with David W. Wallace

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 320
Bibliographic Info: 80 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7161-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3290-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
One • The Butcher Boys, 1831 to 1929 5
Two • Livermore Larruper Kills Campbell, 1930 18
Three • New York Meets Lochinvar, 1930, 1931 32
Four • Pied Piper’s Road Back to Contender, 1931 53
Five • Elimination Battles of 1932 65
Six • Battle of the Two Maxes, 1933 80
Seven • The Heavyweight Championship, Carnera, 1934 97
Eight • Championship Year, 1934 to 1935 113
Nine • Clown Prince Loses Crown to Braddock, 1935 126
Ten • Former Champion Meets Louis, 1935 150
Eleven • Madcap Exhibition Tour, 1936 166
Twelve • Baer Storms England, Farr and Foord, 1937, 1938 178
Thirteen • No Clowning for Nova, 1939 197
Fourteen • The Screwball Championship, Galento, 1940 214
Fifteen • The Magnificent’s Last Fights, 1940–1941 228
Sixteen • You’re in the Army Now! 1942 to 1945 241
Seventeen • Glamour Boy in Hollywood, 1933 to 1958 251
Eighteen • Maximilian’s Last Act 270
Postscript 279
Appendix: Ring Record 280
Chapter Notes 284
Bibliography 301
Index 303

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Meticulously researched and entertaining…. All of Baer’s famous fights are here…an enjoyable and informative read, providing boxing fans with the most complete look of its most interesting characters”—Max Boxing
  • “The biography is meticulously researched and includes a great many photographs of Baer from throughout his career”—ProtoView
  • The Magnificent Max Baer is a meticulously researched, richly detailed and absorbing biography of one of the most colorful and extraordinary boxers of the 20th century. Back in the day when boxing rivaled baseball in popularity Max Baer, the “California Adonis” became an international celebrity even before he won the heavyweight championship in 1934. The hugely popular boxer not only hosted his own radio show but also starred in a major Hollywood musical with actress Myrna Loy. As the authors so accurately point out, Baer’s outsized and charismatic personality made him “a bright light on the drab face of the Great Depression in the 1930s.”—Mike Silver, author of The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science