History

On This Day: Max Baer sets new record for knockdowns against Primo Carnera

Primo Carnera
Max Baer decks Primo Carnera an astonishing 11 times in 11 rounds

MAX BAER w rsf 11 PRIMO CARNERA
June 14, 1934; Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, NY
AFTER Baer and Carnera [pictured] engaged in a fictional fight in the movie, The Prizefighter and the Lady, the two engaged in a real one that was scarcely believable. Wild and entertaining, it exhibits why Max Baer was so highly regarded and why he ultimately failed to fulfil his potential. Baer, the owner of a hellacious right hand and a wicked sense of humour, scored 11 knockdowns, including six in the opening two rounds, but his clowning and apparent unwillingness to turn the screw allowed Carnera – who won some rounds along the way – to last until the 11th. Once world heavyweight champion, Baer chose to engage in a series of four-round exhibitions rather than defend his title.

DID YOU KNOW? After the bout, former champion Jack Dempsey – who three years earlier had refereed Max’s win over Tom Heeney – said Baer might be the greatest fighter in history and predicted a long reign for the new king. He of course lost to James J. Braddock in his first defence.

WATCH OUT FOR: The 25-minute Max Baer documentary, made after his 1959 death, offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into his life. We hear from his widow, his children, his friends, his brother and the man himself.

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