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American boxer who was the World Heavyweight Champion from 14 June 1934 to 13 June 1935; he often credited working as a butcher boy, carrying heavy carcasses of meat, for developing his powerful shoulders.
Baer, though a gentle man out of the ring, earned a reputation in August 1930 for being a killer, after a fight with Frankie Campbell that led to his opponent’s death the following day. He was charged with manslaughter, and eventually acquitted of all charges, but the California State Boxing Commission still banned him from any in-ring activity within the state for the next year.
On June 14, 1934, at the outdoor Madison Square Garden Bowl at Long Island, NY, Baer defeated the huge reigning world champion Primo Carnera of Italy, who weighed in at 267 pounds. Baer knocked down the champion 11 times before the fight was stopped in the eleventh round by referee Arthur Donovan to save Carnera from further punishment.
Despite this dominant performance, he would hold the world heavyweight title for just 364 days. On June 13, 1935 he fought James Braddock with little preparation for the bout and too much clowning around for the crowd. Underestimating his opponent cost him the fight – at the end of 15 rounds Braddock emerged the victor in a unanimous decision, outpointing Baer 8 rounds to 6.
Baer lost later bouts to Joe Louis and to Lou Nova and retired in April 1941. He boxed in 84 professional fights from 1929 to 1941, and won 71 of those, 53 of which were by knockouts
Baer also enjoyed a modest Hollywood career, appearing in 20 films, the first of which was The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) (opposite Myrna Loy and Walter Huston, 1933) and the last, Once Upon a Horse (1958).
In Hollywood, he bedded enumerable stars of the period, including Myrna Loy, Mae West, Alice Faye, Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow.
His last words after a major heart attack on November 21st, 1959 were “Oh God, here I go”.
This is a very fine vintage sepia photograph (8" x 10"), boldly signed and dated ("Very best wishes, Sincerely, Max Baer 2/15/34") in blue ink, just four months before he became World Heavyweight Champion. The photograph, in very good overall condition, has been laid to board and would make a superb framed and glazed display piece.