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 MAX BEAR's FINEST HOUR

The Charismatic Max Bear, One of Boxing's Zaniest Pugilists.

There was once a heavyweight named Max Bear, born 1909 in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to Livimore, California, just outside of Sacramento. Bear started his career in 1929, and possessed a powerful right hand that made him popular in his trade. He later became the heavyweight champion of the world by defeating Primo Carnera over 15 rounds in 1934. He would lose it a year later at the Jinx (Madison Square Garden) Bowl in Long Island City in an upset loss to the "Cinderella Man" James Braddock. His career ended in 1941 with a loss to Lou Nova.

But perhaps the finest hour of  the "Livermore Larupper", as Bear was known as, didn't occur during his brief championship reign. The pinnacle of Bears career came at Yankee Stadium on the 8th of June 1933, when he was an underdog to the former heavyweight champion, Max Schmeling. Schmeling, known as the "Black Uhlan of the Rhine" won the vacated title from Jack Sharkey in 1930, in a distinctive bout that ended with Sharkey hitting the German below the belt. It was the only time the heavyweight title was awarded on a foul. Schmeling had a successful defense against Young Stribling in 1931, and would drop a disputed decision, and the championship belt, to Sharkey in 1932.

Schmeling would box Mickey Walker in Sept 1932, winning by TKO 8. That set up for the fight with Bear, an up and coming heavyweight who had just defeated Tuffy Griffiths. With a record of 38-7, it was time for Bear to step up his game and battle the former heavyweight champion from Germany.

Schmeling had recently become a controversial figure in boxing because of his association with Germany's Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who was despised by many Americans because of the Nazi persecution of Jews. Baer, though not Jewish, displayed the Star of David on his boxing trunks for the fight with Schmeling. This act made him immensely popular with America's Jewish population and he would keep the star on for the rest of his career. On June 8, 1933, Baer fought the fight of his life. From the opening bell, he charged out aggressively and took immediate control of the fight. By the fifth, Schmeling used his superior boxing skills and employed a dynamic assault to the body. After five rounds, in which Bear won four, the momentum shifted and it looked as if the fight would go Schmeling's way. However Baer regained momentum and lashed out once more. He stunned Schmeling numerous times, and the only thing that Schmeling could do was to neutralize Bear onslaught. The tenth featured more of the same until Baer landed a huge right hand that sent Max careening into the ropes. Another right seconds later dropped the former champion. Barely able to rise at the count of nine, Schmeling was essentially out on his feet. No longer able to defend Baer's storm of punches, Schmeling withered against the ropes and a final shot from Bear caused referee Arthur Donovan to stop the fight.

 

Blow by Blow Between Maxes

Courtesy of the CAMDEN COURIER-POST - June 9, 1933

Round One

They came out cautiously. Neither struck a blow for five seconds. Baer rushed him to the ropes slugging him with rights and lefts to the head and body. Schmeling backed away from another flurry of blows. They clinched. Baer pushed Schmeling into a corner and pummeled him in the body. Baer was cautioned when he seized Schmeling with his left hand around the neck and pummeled him with terrific rights to the ribs. Schmeling sent a left jab to Baer's nose. Baer countered with a right to the jaw. Schmeling laid in a beautiful right cross to Baer's nose. This shook the Californian to his heels. A trickle of blood came from Baer's nose. Baer danced around as he waited for another opening, At the bell both men were slugging and the crowd was in an uproar.

Baer's round.

Round Two

Baer jabbed Schmeling twice in the face. Schmeling danced around and sent two left jabs into Baer's face. Baer crowded Schmeling to the ropes and pounded the back of his head. Baer caught Schmeling with a hard left to the chin. He backed Schmeling up against the ropes again and shot hard rights and lefts into the German's face. Schmeling seemed worried. Baer landed a blow in the stomach, which Schmeling thought was low. Schmeling turned to Referee Donovan but the referee motioned him to continue the fight. Schmeling sent a hard right cross to Baer's jaw but the latter came back with a resounding left hook to the German's' jaw. Schmeling clinched and held. They were broken by Donovan and Baer almost put Schmeling down with half a dozen lefts and rights to the head just before the bell. Schmeling was bleeding slightly from the mouth, and in some distress when he went to his corner.

Baer's round. 

Round Three

Schmeling came out cautiously. Baer let go one that looked a little low to Donovan and he cautioned the Californian. They danced around. Schmeling came in close and pounded the Californian's body. Baer missed a long right by a foot and the crowd laughed. Baer, however, followed this miss right up with a hard right to the pit of the stomach. Schmeling shoved Baer into a corner and landed a right to the heart. They milled about in close, both pounding the body. Baer stepped out of a clinch and chopped a hard left and right to the chin. Schmeling seemed durable and took them without backing up. They were slugging in the middle of the ring at the bell.

Baer's round

Round Four

Baer popped a left into the German's face, Schmeling danced around cautiously, circling to Baer's left. Baer threw in four or five lefts and rights to the face and body. Baer almost pushed Schmeling off his balance and made a gesture of shaking hands in apology. Schmeling poked two lefts to the face followed by a right cross. Baer took them without any seeming annoyance. Schmeling drove a hard right to the jaw. Baer missed a right to the chin. They clinched. They exchanged light lefts to the head. Schmeling buried his head on Baer's shoulders and pounded his opponent's body. They were fighting toe to toe at the bell,

Round even.

Round Five

They rushed into a clinch. They exchanged left jabs to the face, Schmeling pushed his opponent against the ropes and pounded the body with rights. Baer seemed to be taking it easy at this stage. Suddenly Baer opened up and landed two good lefts and a right to the head. Schmeling threw two hard rights which landed on Baer's left ear. The Californian grinned. Baer sank a hard left to the stomach and followed it with three rights to the head. Schmeling caught Baer with a sharp left to the chin. He backed Baer up against the rope and pounded his body. Baer threw a hard right against the German's chin, but Schmeling kept boring in. Schmeling put his head on Baer's neck and pushed his opponent's body. At the bell Baer landed a hard left to the chin.

Schmeling's Round

Round Six

Schmeling landed a light left to the face. Baer countered with three straight lefts, none of the three hurting Schmeling. Schmeling drove Baer into a corner and they pummeled each other in the body. Baer landed a left and then another left to Schmeling's jaw without a return. They clinched. Coming out of the clinch, Baer landed a right to the jaw which sent Schmeling against the ropes. As the German rebounded Baer caught him with a terrific right which shook Schmeling to his heels. Baer poked Schmeling in the face with several lefts. Baer landed a blow in the pit of the stomach which looked low to Referee Donovan. The crowd booed Donovan when he warned Baer. They were in a clinch at the bell.

Baer's round.

Round Seven

They came out cautiously. Both landed hard rights to the head. Baer poked a long left into the German's face. Schmeling pushed Baer against the ropes and belabored his body. Baer sank a hard right into the stomach. They circled around the ring. Schmeling backed Baer into a corner again and shot several hard rights to the heart. Baer backed away as Schmeling threw several authoritative lefts to the body. Schmeling landed a left and right to the head. Baer missed a hard right to the head, almost swinging himself off his feet.

Schmeling's round.

Round Eight

Baer threw a left into the stomach. Baer held his left shoulder high as Schmeling swung several rights to the jaw. Baer landed a solid left hook to the body. They clinched. They pounded each other in close. Baer got Schmeling on the ropes and clouted him with two rights to the head, They clinched. Coming out of the clinch, Schmeling landed a left hook to Baer's chin. Baer grazed Schmeling's chin with a right which he threw from the floor. Baer held out his long left teasingly and smiled as he poked Schmeling several times. 'They roughed each other about a bit at the bell and the crowd booed.

Round even.

Round Nine

Baer poked two lefts to the face. Schmeling did the same thing. Baer missed a right which he telegraphed. He tried again and this time landed right on the button. Schmeling did not like it. Baer rushed Schmeling to the ropes and smacked him several hard rights to the head. Joe Jacob's, Schmeling's manager, began to yell from his corner. Schmeling stopped and turned around. This caused Jacobs to cry, "watch him." Schmeling went into a clinch. Baer pushed the German away and sank a left to the body and followed it with two lefts and two rights to the head. Schmeling crossed a right to Baer's chin but the Californian did not seem to mind it. Baer pushed Schmeling against the ropes again and landed several rights to the head as the bell rang. Baer delivered a backhanded slap just as the bell rang and Schmeling countered with a vicious right. They threw several more punches after the bell rang and the crowd went wild.

Baer's round

Round Ten

Baer rushed out like a madman and threw lefts and rights to the German's head. Schmeling held. They circled about. Schmeling sent a vicious left to Baer's nose which drew blood. Baer threw five successive rights to Schmeling's head and had him groggy against the ropes. Baer floored Schmeling coming out of a clinch Baer floored Schmeling with a right to the chin. Schmeling down. Schmeling came up after a count of seven and Baer rushed out slugging with lefts and rights. The German was out on his feet and Referee Arthur Donovan stopped the fight, awarding the fight to the Californian, Max Baer.

Max Bear Winner TKO 10 (1:51)

Notes:

Venue: Yankee Stadium

Attendance for the bout: 53,000

Purses: Schmeling $78,000, Bear $26,000 (courtesy of Box-Rec)

Schmeling outlived Bear by some 45 years. Bear died suddenly of a heart attack in 1959 at the age of 50, while Schmeling lived till age 99 before his death in 2005.

 

 

NOSTALGIA

 

 

 


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Last updated: 06/19/17.