By John J. Raspanti
How many authors can say their father once sparred with a former heavyweight champion of the world?
Colleen Aycock can.
Aycock, along with David D. Wallace, co-authored a new biography intitled The Magnificent Max Baer, a meticulously researched, and entertaining look at the life and times of “Madcap Maxie.”
Baer held the heavyweight championship of the world for only a year, but still managed to make his mark in the annals of boxing history.
All of Baer’s famous fights are here, including his tragic bouts with Franke Campbell and Ernie Schaaf, the brutal knockout of Max Schmeling, his world-title-winning effort over Primo Carnero, the shocking loss to James J. Braddock, and the pummeling at the hands of the great Joe Louis. Later fights with Tommy Farr, Tony Galento and Lou Nova are also explored in detail.
But was there more to those fights and Baer?
You bet there was. Aycock and Wallace reveal a carefree man, dealing with greed and corruption, who loved to entertain, but was also misunderstood. One must recall that Baer’s boxing life occurred during the height of the depression.
With their writing, Aycock and Wallace are able to bring those hard times, and Baer, to life with their investigative reporting.
Baer didn’t particularly like boxing, or the people who controlled it. He did it because he could.
He was born with crunching power in his right hand which ultimately was something of a curse. His rise to the top of the heavyweight division was quick. Baer, who was promoted for a time by legendary Jack Dempsey, was 25 when he captured the heavyweight crown, and to some, he was a has-been a year later.
But he remained in the spotlight entertaining people on radio and in the movies. Max Baer loved to make people happy.
Loaded with a copious collection of photos, The Magnificent Max Baer is an enjoyable and informative read, providing boxing fans with the most complete look at one of its most interesting characters.