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Max Baer
Max Baer ©Harry Schaffer/Raven Schaffer

    Max Baer, Boxer

    Born: 1909 | Died: 1959

    Maximillian Adelbert Baer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to German immigrant parents. His father was a butcher, and Baer often credited his powerful shoulders to working as a butcher.

    Baer became a professional boxer in 1929. In 1930 Baer fought Frankie Campell in San Fransisco and knocked him out in two blows. Campell died hours later in a hospital and Baer was charged with manslaughter, but was eventually acquitted by the California State Boxing Commission. Baer himself has said that he was deeply affected by the tragic incident.

    One of Baer's finest performances was a 10-round knockout of former heavyweight champion Max Schmeling on June 8, 1933. Baer displayed a Star of David on his shorts because his grandfather was Jewish. During Baer's boxing career (1929-41) he won 70 out of 83 fights, of which 52 were by knockout. He is considered to be one of the hardest right-hand punchers in boxing history.

    Over the years Baer starred in several movies, most notably "The Prize Fighter and the Lady." His life story provided the background for the 2005 movie "Cinderella Man," starring Russell Crowe as the underdog James J. Braddock, who took the heavyweight championship from Baer in 1935. Baer died in Hollywood ten years prior to being inducted into "Ring" magazine's Boxing Hall of Fame in 1969.