Monday, January 07, 2008

Cinderella Man

I have another movie recommendation for you. The movie is, Cinderella Man, which is based on the life of boxer, James J. Braddock. I'm not a huge fan of boxing. Two people beating each other's brains out doesn't really appeal to me. This movie, however, is really inspiring.

James J. Braddock was an average guy. He was a hard working family man. His promising boxing career fizzled out when he had a string of losses and seemed to end when he shattered his right hand.

Struggling to feed his family during the great depression, James J. Braddock worked as best he could with a broken hand, and finally did something he never intended to do: he went on public assistance. It was the toughest of times for a proud and honorable man.

In 1934, he was given the opportunity to box one more time. In a huge, surprise upset, he beat John "Corn" Griffin on the under-card fight for the heavyweight championship fight between Max Baer and Primo Carnera. Everyone was amazed.

One of the most surprising aspects of that fight was that James had developed an incredibly powerful left punch. It was a result of having to rely on his left hand when working on the docks when his right hand was shattered.

This is perhaps the part of the story that I love the most. He wasn't a good enough fighter to 'go all the way' in the early part of his boxing career. Due to the horrible hardships of the great depression, and his broken right hand, he developed strength and power in his left arm that became the critical difference in his boxing ability. It is a great reminder that sometimes our greatest gifts are born out of our greatest trials. Without the broken hand and the hardship of working the docks as an injured man... he would have never attained the greatness that he went on to achieve.

After the Griffin win, James J. Braddock went on to win a string of additional fights, culminating with taking the heavyweight championship from Max Baer (as a 10 to 1 underdog) in 1935.

James J. Braddock became a beacon of hope to millions of Americans struggling through the hardships of the great depression. He was any man... He was every man... and he did something extraordinary that inspired that masses and gave people hope that things could turn around.

He never gave up. One of the biggest turning points for him was at his lowest moment. His electricity had been shut off, his kids were cold and getting sick, and his wife, in a desperate moment farmed the kids out to relatives. James had promised his children he would never do that. At that moment, he went to his old friends in the fight business and asked for help to pay his electric bill. It was humiliating for him, but he asked for help. That is the moment that his life started to turn around. The opportunity for the fight that resurrected his boxing career was born in that moment. His manager, witnessing the humility it took for James to ask for help, was inspired to get him a fight. He got him that fight, the Griffin fight, and the rest, as they say, is history.

From the James J. Braddock website: It is the "American story of a man who was not so much a great boxer as a great man who boxed his way out of darkness and defeat and into the stuff of immortality."

I wholeheartedly agree. This story is truly inspiring. It is a must see!

James J. Braddock

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