Professional Boxer. Born in New York City, New York, as James Walter Braddock, the son of Irish-American parents Joseph and Elizabeth O'Tool Braddock. Known as Jim he enjoyed playing marbles, baseball and hanging around the old swimming hole on the edge of the Hudson River or under the Hackensack River Bridge. In the years of 1919 to 1923, Jim worked a series of jobs: A messenger boy for Western Union, a printer's devil, a teamster and an errand boy in a silk mill. It was during this time that Jimmy discovered his passion for boxing. Jim spent a few years honing his skills as a successful amateur fighter throughout New Jersey and in 1926 entered the professional boxing circuit in the light heavyweight division. During his first year, he overwhelmed the competition, knocking out opponent after opponent in the early rounds of most fights. As a top light heavyweight, he thought of moving into the heavyweight class. Problem was that although he stood over six feet, two inches, he seldom weighed over 180 pounds. But even with his trim physique, Jim's powerful right hand was no match for even those opponents that weighed close to 220 pounds. Jim fought light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran in 1929 for the title, but was defeated in a heartbreaking 15-round decision. Following the Loughran fight and the stock market crash of 1929, Jim was down on his luck. He had a hard time struggling to win fights. Jim married Mae Fox in 1930 and the couple had three children. To support his family he hung up his boxing gloves and filed for government relief. In 1934, due to a last minute cancellation, Jim was given the opportunity to fight John "Corn" Griffin on the under card fight for that evening's heavyweight championship fight between Max Baer and Primo Carnera. To the amazement of everyone, he went on to upset Griffin with a third round knockout. His next opportunity came with the fight against John Henry Lewis. Most predicted that Jim wouldn't make it through the fight. However, he proved the critics wrong with a ten round victory. He had earned his nickname, Cinderella Man, from his seemingly fairytale like rise from a poor local fighter to the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Considered little more than a journeyman fighter, Jim 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, Jim won the Heavyweight Championship of the World as the 10-to-1 underdog in one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history. On June 22, 1937, Jim would defend and lose his heavyweight title in an eight round KO to "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis. He retired after winning his final fight against Tommy Farr in 1938. Throughout his career he has 68 bouts and 51 wins, 26 by knockout. Jim was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1964, the Hudson County Hall of Fame in 1991 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. The 2005 biographical film Cinderella Man tells Jim Braddock's story. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Russell Crowe as Jim Braddock and Renée Zellweger as his wife, Mae. Jim died at his home in his sleep at the age of 69.
Bio by: Shock