Born on February 11, 1909 in Omaha, Nebraska, Max Baer was a boxer whose great potential captured America’s attention. Baer and his family settled in northern California, where Baer quit school and worked on his father’s farm. Through farm labor and magazine exercise courses, Baer built up his strength. After ferocious training, Baer turned professional in 1929. His prowess led him to win 22 out of 24 fights, of which nine he dominated with first round knockouts.
In 1933 Baer defeated Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in front of an audience of 60,000. Baer’s success continued, and in 1934, he overpowered Primo Carnera to clench the world heavyweight title. Baer also garnered attention outside of the ring. He proudly wore the Star of David as the Nazi regime rose to power, he starred in Hollywood films, and he had numerous relationships with celebrities and starlets. With his social life buzzing, Baer was ill-prepared to defend his title in 1935. In a 15-round fight, Baer lost to James Braddock, ending his championship reign. In the following six years, Baer maintained a 30-4 record until his retirement in 1941. He died in 1959 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.