Saturday, December 8, 2007

james braddock

-- Someone call the Coast Guard! Jack's (James Tupper) ship has gone down in the Bering Sea, and he has a difficult decision to make if he and Julia (guest star Kelli Williams) are going to survive. (8 p.m., ABC)

CINDERELLA MAN -- This 2005 fact-based drama will have you cheering for boxer Jim Braddock -- perfectly played by Russell Crowe. Sent down to boxing's equivalent of the minors by a string of injuries and bad luck, he turns his career around with the help of a manager who won't take no for an answer. (8 p.m., TNT)

MOVIES ROCK! -- The title of this new special is a bit misleading, as it's not all about rock music in the movies. It's a celebration of the key role that music plays in film, and a galaxy of stars is on hand for the party. Carrie Underwood sings the title song from "The Sound of Music," while Beyonce interprets "Over the Rainbow" and Mary J. Blige teams up with John Legend on "As Time Goes By." (9 p.m., CBS)

CROSSROADS -- They're both in their 20s but sing the old songs like a couple of old pros. In this new episode, country diva LeAnn Rimes shares the stage with British soul, blues and R&B singer Joss Stone. (10 p.m., CMT)

PSYCH -- There's nothing like a murder rap to ruin a holiday with the folks. Shawn and Gus (James Roday and Dule Hill) are spending Christmas with Gus' parents when their neighbor is murdered, and the evidence points to his father (Ernie Hudson). (10 p.m., USA Network)

Arizona State's film library includes the standard X-and-O footage. But there are cuts that go beyond zones, schemes and tendencies. There's Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Kevin Spacey and Chuck Norris.

In Hollywood, that probably is a pretty good starting five. But ASU coach Herb Sendek isn't trying to prepare the Sun Devils for a Crowe-Costner-Connery-Spacey-and-Norris lineup.

Sendek just hopes that some of his favorites can help ASU get ready, and stay ready, throughout a long a season that continues today against Coppin State at Wells Fargo Arena. advertisement

For now, Crowe is the key player on Sendek's lineup card. His portrayal of James Braddock, a Depression-era heavyweight and a gritty champ for gritty times, in Cinderella Man has been near or at the top of the locker-room marquee alongside another Crowe-featured film, Gladiator, since last season, Sendek's first at ASU.

Sendek also is intrigued by Crowe's portrayal of mathematician/economist John Nash's battle against mental illness in A Beautiful Mind. Sendek watched it again the other night. He probably needed to see something other than more of ASU's sobering loss at Nebraska on Sunday.

But in seeking some relief, he discovered something that might turn into a motivational message before the Sun Devils' Dec. 15 game against nationally ranked Xavier or their Pac-10 opener vs. Oregon on Jan. 3.

"Nash did it without medication and overcame it through the power of his own mind," said Sendek, who jokes that he also is partial to the film because Nash studied at his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon.

Sendek has been using film and literature for a long time. At the Maui Invitational, he sent a team manager out at 10 p.m. It was not a late-night search for fast food; Sendek wanted the Sun Devils to see The Usual Suspects, the 1995 film starring Spacey.

"For as long as I've been with him," said ASU assistant Mark Phelps, who was on Sendek's staff at North Carolina State, "Coach always thinks outside of the box, so he gets a message to the players. He has always used different examples that might stick in your mind more than writing something onto a blackboard."

This season has included a scene from The Untouchables, which stars Costner and Connery in a film about Elliot Ness' battle against Chicago gangsters. They ask each other what they're prepared to do. The Sun Devils watched the film. Sendek asked them the question.

"It's different, but I like it," junior forward Jeff Pendergraph said of Sendek's approach. "I've never had a coach who's done it. But it's a good way to learn things."

A Sendek standard over the years has been a scene from Missing In Action 2: The Beginning. Norris' character is hanging upside down with his head in a bag. There's a rat in that bag. Norris fights his way throughout the terrifying situation and survives.

Sendek has shown the scene to his players. But sometimes he just tells them about it and the toughness it signifies. Motivation mined from graphic scenes often is better explained than seen.

"He tells this story about a woman who had only two copper coins," sophomore playmaker Derek Glasser said. "She gave those two coins to somebody who needed them. She gave all she had."

In the bag of motivational tricks, that parable might be better than Norris. Sendek is certain that it's more effective than Sylvester Stallone. Stallone's Rocky series has been a motivational standard. Sendek played Rocky Balboa, the sixth in a series, before an ASU win last year over Southern California, ASU's first Pac-10 victory. Glasser remembered watching a movie, but not the name.

"I must be getting old, because a lot of today's kids don't know about Rocky," he said.

That's OK, coach. Crowe was a much more believable as a fighter than Stallone ever was.

James J. Braddock
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James W. Braddock

Real name James Walter Braddock
Nickname(s) Bulldog of Bergen, Pride of the Irish,
Pride of New Jersey, Cinderella Man
Rated at Heavyweight
Nationality American
Birth date June 7, 1905(1905-06-07)
Birth place New York, New York
Death date November 29, 1974 (aged 69)
Death place North Bergen, New Jersey
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 86
Wins 51
Wins by KO 26
Losses 26
Draws 7
No contests 2
James Walter Braddock (June 7, 1905 � November 29, 1974) was an American heavyweight boxing champion.

Fighting under the name James J. Braddock (ostensibly to follow the pattern set by two prior champions, James J. Corbett and James J. Jeffries), his amazing comeback from a floundering career (that saw him lose several bouts before struggling to support his family by working on the docks during the Great Depression) earned him the nickname The Cinderella Man from Damon Runyon. His manager was Joe Gould.

1 Early life and boxing career
2 Baer vs. Braddock
2.1 James Braddock vs. Joe Louis
2.2 Retirement, World War II
3 The film: Cinderella Man
4 See also
5 References
6 External links

[edit] Early life and boxing career
James Walter Braddock was born in Hell's Kitchen in New York City on West 48th Street within a couple of blocks of the Madison Square Garden venue that made him famous. His Irish Catholic family was poor and wasn't able to provide him with a formal education or with any luxuries of life. Like most Irish Catholic boys of his era, his desire was to play football for Knute Rockne's "Fighting Irish" of Notre Dame. However, poverty and a need to feed his family prevented Braddock from following his dream. After a successful amateur boxing career during which he simultaneously held the amateur championships of New Jersey in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, James Braddock turned pro at the age of 21, fighting as a light heavyweight. After three years, Braddock's record was 34-5-7 with 21 knockouts.

In 1928, he pulled off a major upset by knocking out highly regarded Tuffy Griffiths. The following year he earned a chance to fight for the championship, but he narrowly lost to Tommy Loughran in a fifteen-round decision. Braddock was greatly depressed by the loss and badly fractured his right hand in several places in the process. His career suffered as a result, as did Braddock's disposition.

His record for the next thirty-three fights fell to 11-20-2, fighting with what close friends described as "generalized indifference."[citation needed] With his family in poverty during the Great Depression, Braddock had to give up boxing for a time and worked as a longshoreman. Due to frequent injuries to his right hand, Braddock compensated by using his left hand during his longshoreman work, and it gradually became stronger than his right. He always remembered the humiliation of having to accept government relief money, but was inspired by Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, a Christian anarchist organization founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933 to help the homeless and hungry. After his boxing comeback, Braddock returned the welfare money he had received and made frequent donations to various Catholic Worker Houses, including feeding homeless guests with his family.[1]

[edit] Baer vs. Braddock
In 1934, Braddock was given a fight with the highly touted John "Corn" Griffin. Although Braddock was intended simply as a stepping stone in Griffin's career, he knocked out the "Ozark Cyclone" in the third round. Braddock then fought John Henry Lewis, a future light heavyweight champion (and friend of future heavyweight champion Joe Louis) who had previously defeated Braddock. He won in one of the most important fights of his career. After defeating another highly regarded heavyweight contender, Art Lasky, whose nose he broke during the bout on March 22, 1935, Braddock was given a title fight against the World Heavyweight Champion, Max Baer.

Considered little more than a journeyman fighter, Braddock was hand-picked by Baer's handlers because he was seen as an easy payday for the champion. Instead, on June 13, 1935, at Madison Square Garden Bowl, Braddock won the heavyweight championship of the world as the 10-to-1 underdog in one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history. Baer admitted afterwards that he had underestimated Braddock as "a chump" and had received the worst pummeling of his professional career.

During the fight, a dogged Braddock took heavy hits from the powerful younger champion (30 years vs 26 years for Baer), but Braddock kept coming, wearing down Baer, who seemed perplexed by Braddock's ability to take a punch. In the end, the judges gave Braddock the title with a unanimous decision. James Braddock suffered from problems with his arthritic hands after injuries throughout his career, and in 1936 his title defense in Madison Square Garden against the German Max Schmeling was cancelled in suspicious circumstances. Braddock argued he would have received only a US$25,000 purse against Schmeling, compared to $250,000 against rising star Joe Louis. It was also likely that Braddock's manager, Joe Gould, did not want a potential German victory to be used as Nazi propaganda.

[edit] James Braddock vs. Joe Louis

When ready to fight, the thirty-two-year-old Braddock chose to defend his title against the 23-year-old star Joe Louis. Realizing that Louis would be a heavy favorite and being an astute businessman, Joe Gould negotiated an agreement whereby Braddock would receive 10% of Louis's future earnings. At Comiskey Park, in front of fifty thousand fans, Braddock knocked Louis down in the first round of their June 22, 1937 bout, but Louis recovered and dominated the bout, winning by an eighth round stoppage. According to Braddock, Louis threw far more punches than Braddock.

Although Braddock never complained, few knew that during the fight for Louis, Braddock actually received medication for arthritis. Braddock barely lifted his left during the fight because the medicine numbed him like a muscle relaxant. Braddock's only lucky punch happened in an uppercut, simply since he failed to raise his left over his head. His follow up punch missed Louis's chin, and slammed into Joe's chest. The punch cracked around the auditorium. Only an inch short kept Braddock from retaining the title. Joe Louis worked Braddock over in the subsequent rounds, added twenty-three stitches, and moving a tooth right through his mouthpiece and into his lip. Joe Louis is on record as saying Braddock was "the most courageous fighter I ever fought." Braddock is purported to have aided Louis with some of his tax problems with the IRS later in life and the two developed an abiding friendship.

[edit] Retirement, World War II
Braddock always said he wanted his hand raised in his final fight. His last ring performance was in 1938, when he fought Welsh boxer Tommy Farr. Braddock came from behind to win a unanimous decision, breaking and bloodying Farr's nose, cracking two of his ribs, and knocking him down three times. The last two rounds were considered by many sportswriters to be the best of Braddock's life.

Following his retirement, Braddock and manager Joe Gould both enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1942, where they became first lieutenants. Before the war ended, Braddock served on the island of Saipan, where he trained enlisted men in hand-to-hand combat. In 1944, he received the James J. Walker Award in recognition of his long and meritorious service to the boxing industry.

Later in life, working as an Operating Engineer in Local 825, he helped to construct the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and also worked as a marine equipment surplus supplier, running generators and welding equipment. Braddock and his wife Mae raised their three children, Jay, Howard and Rosemarie, in a house they bought in North Bergen, New Jersey.[2]

On his passing in 1974 at the age of 69, James W. Braddock was interred in the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Tenafly, New Jersey. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. The James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park in North Bergen is named in his honor.

[edit] The film: Cinderella Man
The 2005 biographical film Cinderella Man tells the story of James J. Braddock. Directed by Ron Howard, and starring Russell Crowe as Braddock with Renée Zellweger as his wife Mae, the movie had an estimated budget of $88 million, but only managed to gross $108.5 million world-wide. Paul Giamatti, playing Braddock's manager Joe Gould, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The role of neighbor Sara Wilson was played by Rosemarie DeWitt, who is Braddock's real-life granddaughter (daughter of Braddock's daughter Rosemarie Braddock and husband Kenny DeWitt).

Although the film received many positive reviews (80% were positive according to, some critics argued that part of Braddock's journey was glamorized too much by director Ron Howard.[citation needed] One example is that throughout the film, Max Baer (Braddock's final opponent at the climax of the movie) is portrayed in a semi-hostile (and inaccurate) manner. The character of Baer in the movie is portrayed as an arrogant villain who shows no remorse after killing men in the ring. In reality, Baer was badly shaken by the one death he caused, giving money to the family of his victim and putting the victim's children through at the University of Notre Dame, which Baer regarded as the best Catholic university in America.[citation needed] Baer's son, actor Max Baer Jr. of The Beverly Hillbillies fame, has stated that he remembered his father having nightmares over the bout. [3]

Max Baer was flamboyant and high spirited, laughing and joking with regularity. However, this was more for show than to be malicious. In reality he was regarded by those who knew him best as humble, gentle, and sensitive, once remarking, "The only thing I don't like about boxing is that usually some guy gets hurt, and it's not me."

However, short of this one discredit, the film was said to be fairly accurate, though the film is seen from the perspective of Braddock, who viewed Baer in this way, particularly after the disparaging remarks made by Baer about Braddock's wife during the fight.[citation needed]

Braddock once remarked, "If he said those things to upset me, he succeeded, and he also lost. The guy obviously didn't know what kind of a guy I am, or he would have kept his gloves up and his mouth shut."[citation needed] These words are themselves paraphrased in the movie toward the end of one round. The scene in which Baer quarrels with Braddock at a restaurant was also based on a real life incident,[citation needed] although the true circumstances of the altercation remain unclear.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home