The Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock, was an impoverished ex-prizefighter. He had hit rock bottom, and his career appeared to be finished. He was unable to pay his bills, and he was forced to go on public relief. Driven by love, honor, and an incredible dose of grit, Braddock never relinquished his determination. In a last-chance bid to help his family, he returned to the ring, where despite the odds he kept winning. Carrying the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised on his shoulders, Braddock rocketed through the ranks, until he took on the heavyweight champion of the world.
James J Braddock earned his nickname, Cinderella Man, from his seemingly fairytale like rise from a poor local fighter to the heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
Braddock, born in New York City, had a powerful right hand and a successful amateur career. He turned pro in 1926. Braddock had victories over fighters like Jimmy Slattery and Pete Latzo. Braddock 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 Braddock was down on his luck. He had a hard time struggling to win fights and put food on the table for his young family.
Eventually Jim's luck began to change. In 1934 he had upset wins against Corn Griffin and John Henry Lewis. With these two wins, Braddock set himself up for a shot for the title against heavyweight champion Max Baer.