Feb 23, 2010

The Star Of David



















Although Jewish heavyweights in the 1930's occasionally wore the Star of David on their trunks, like Abe Simon, none was more famous than Max Baer, and he wasn't really Jewish. Baer's father was half Jewish, and he was raised as a Catholic. After moving to N.Y.C. to be trained by Jack Demsey, he adopted the Star to fight Max Schmeling, Hitler's boxer of choice. Defeating Schmeling in 1933, set Baer up for a Championship fight with Carnera. Baer, who had a reputation as a party animal, was never the less a notoriously hard hitter.

Shown in the ring with the giant Primo Carnera, Demsey stands behind them. Baer would annihilate Carnera and hold the title for one year until the famous fight with the Cinderella man, James Braddock.
Baer's son, Max Jr, would become famous as Jethro Bodine in The Beverly Hillbillies. There's more, Max(Sr.) had a brother, Buddy, who was 6'7".....

links are the fight films

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holy smokes!

I suppose I knew "Jethro" was Buddy Baer after watching the Beverly Hillbillies a bazillion times through the years.

I had no idea that was Max Baer's brother.

Thanks for putting two and two together.

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The photo shows the definite size disparity between the two boxers.

michael molovinsky said...

jethro was max's son, max jr. buddy was max sr.'s brother and uncle to "jethro"

Anonymous said...

Whoa, this is getting confusing.

Okay, it makes sense Jethro is a son and not a brother.

Either that, or old "Jethro" knew where the fountain of youth was!

I've said it before --- good thing you are around to keep it all straightened out!

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I'm still impressed with the difference in size between the two boxers.

I'd like to see a tape of this Baer vs Carnero fight now.

Can you tell I live in the modern era and take certain technologies for granted?

michael molovinsky said...

click on "annihilate carnera" and you will see the fight

Anonymous said...

Ask and you shall receive!

The video definitely provides the viewer the opportunity to see the size differential between the two fighters again.

The video also shows Baer to be clearly unafraid of the bigger Carnera; Baer is on the attack the whole clip presented.

Never the biggest boxing fan, but this reminds me of Marvin Hagler versus Ray Leonard.

But, if I remember correctly, it was Hagler the bigger who chased the smaller Leonard around the ring most of that fight.

Leonard counterattacked well enough and won the referee's decision (because he was still standing, in my opinion) that night...

...but I do not remember Leonard consistently chasing after the bigger Hagler the way Baer aggressively goes after the bigger Carnera.

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This truly is smashing stuff.

Never paid all that much attention to boxing...but you make things very interesting, MM.

The pop culture from the era always mixed in is always splendid.

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If Baer was only half Jewish and was raised Catholic, then why did he wear the Star of David?

I might be able to take an educated as well as reasonable guess, but I, and perhaps some others out there in Blogosphere will agree, would rather hear it from a master truth-teller.

michael molovinsky said...

the star of david was popular for jewish fighters to wear in n.y.c., which had a large jewish population. the story is that a trainer for baer suggested he wear it against schmeling (german fighter from germany) because the fight was in new york, and hitlers views against the jews were becoming well know. to baer's credit, he decided to wear it hence forth. even actual jewish fighters, such as abe simon, only wore the star in n.y.c. baer was a very hard puncher. he killed a man in the ring in california, and his son claims that it haunted him for the rest of his life.

most of these posts are an outgrowth from wanting to tell the abe simon story. because of max, his giant brother buddy became a fighter, and handed simon one of his few defeats. at the end of the film clip burt sugarman talks about bums. it's easy to call someone a bum when your sitting on a stool,smoking a cigar. journalists called those who fought louis the bum of the month club. in reality they were tough, good fighters who had to go against someone (louis) who had the power of tyson and the skill of Muhammad ali.

Anonymous said...

As luck would have it, my computer does not have sound - so I missed the Bum Of The Month thing.

I'm very glad, too.

I am familiar with the term, "bum", and it could never be, in my opinion, a term of endearment - particularly to a boxer.

So shame on that series. Who does it, ESPN? ESPN was never anywhere near as slick as they think, Mr. Molovinsky.

And that was before ABC got a hold of them.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to professional sports, I believe most people who did not play at higher levels have a hard time understanding how things work as much as they may want to.

A third-string quarterback in the NFL would be referred to as a 'bench warmer' by most fans.

Most people would have no clue how good you have to be just so you can suck in the NFL.

People / teams who make it to a championship game but lose are perhaps the most unfortunate of all in the world of sports...

...people tend to think of those players / teams as 'losers'.

They could not be more ignorant.