Squeeze a week’s worth of workouts into your weekend? If so, then you’re a “Weekend Warrior”. You have too many work-related things going on during the week to really dedicate a serious amount of time to exercise, so Saturday and Sunday are your days to rise-up and get active.
To help keep you motivated on the weekend, we’re giving you one “Weekend Warrior” feature each week. This week’s pick is the original “Cinderella Man” himself, boxing-legend James Braddock.
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On This Day In Boxing. . 'Cinderella Man' James J Braddock was born on this day, 8th June, in 1905. . Braddock turned pro at the age of 21, fighting as a light heavyweight and making his debut on November 27, 1923. After three years, Braddock had built his record to 44–2–2 with 21 knockouts. . In 1928, he pulled off a major upset by knocking out the highly regarded Tuffy Griffiths. The following year he earned a shot at the title, but narrowly lost a 15 round decision to Tommy Loughran. Greatly depressed by the loss, he had badly fractured his right hand in several places during the fight, and his career suffered as a result due to the injury. . His next 33 fights were significantly less successful, with a 11–20–2 record. With his family in poverty during the Great Depression, Braddock gave up boxing and worked as a longshoreman. He always remembered the humiliation of accepting government relief money, but was inspired by the Catholic Worker Movement, founded 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. . In 1935, Braddock was given a title fight against the World Heavyweight Champion, Max Baer after a string on impressive victories. Considered little more than a journeyman fighter, Braddock was hand-picked by Baer's handlers and seen as an easy payday, despite his recent impressive victories. Instead, on June 13, 1935, at Madison Square Garden Bowl, Braddock won the Heavyweight Championship of the World as the 10-to-1 underdog. . A potential fight with German heavyweight Max Schmeling never happened due to concerns over connections between Schmeling and Adolf Hitler, and the worry that Nazi government would deny American fighters opportunities to fight for the title if Schmeling won. . In his penultimate fight, Braddock would lose his world title to Joe Louis via 8th round TKO, despite having Louis down in the first round. . Braddock died in 1974 at the age of 69, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. . . . #JamesBraddock #CinderellaMan #Boxing
The “Cinderella Man”
Born in “Hell’s Kitchen”, New York City in 1905, Braddock moved to North Bergen, New Jersey where he and his 6 siblings were raised by his parents, both Irish immigrants.
A promising young fighter, Braddock turned pro at the age of 21. He began his boxing career with a record of 42 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses, with 21 knockouts.
In 1928, two years after turning pro, he earned himself a title fight against Tommy Loughlin. In the match, Braddock fractured his right hand in several places and took a hard loss.
Unfortunately, this started a career-slump where he fractured the same hand over and over. As if this career-ending fall from grace wasn’t enough, Braddock’s next fight was against The Great Depression.
Without boxing, Braddock was forced to work on the docks along the Hudson River with the longshoremen doing manual labor. It was here that he was forced to use his left hand, gradually making it stronger and more versatile.
Crippled by the economy, Braddock, his wife, and two children, were forced to live off government-aid which left him humiliated and disheartened.
Despite these misfortunes, Braddock worked with Catholic organizations feeding the homeless.
In 1934, he was given a chance for redemption against John Griffin. However, the match was originally set up as a way to boost Griffin’s profile with an easy win. No one expected Braddock, years out of the ring and plagued by injuries, to win.
John “Corn” Griffin got knocked out in the third round with not a right, but a left-hand punch. In turn, Braddock caught the attention of fight promoters, giving him another shot at his boxing-career.
He went on to fight Art Lasky, John Henry Lewis, and the heavyweight champion Max Baer in Madison Square Garden, a fight made famous by the movie Cinderella Man.
Baer underestimated Braddock and lost the title in 1935. Predicting his win, Braddock said that the match against Baer would be nothing compared to the economic hardships he had already faced. After he won the title, his fight would continue out of the ring.
In 1942, Braddock enlisted in the armed forces to fight in WWII. Stationed in the South Pacific, he trained soldiers in hand-to-hand combat.
Returning from war, Braddock wasn’t content with retirement. In the early 1960’s, he helped construct the Verrazano bridge in New York.
Oh and when he finally worked his family out of poverty, he paid back every penny the government gave him as aid during The Great Depression.
James Braddock is a symbol of American patriotism and grit. He’s a true reminder that you get out of life what you put in. If you are struggling economically, put the work in. If you want success, put the work in. And if you want to get fit, put the work in.
Braddock fought for a living, through The Great Depression and World War II, so we think you can get off the couch and into the gym this weekend.