“Atrocities make some men to break, and some to break records” Well that’s really the story of our “Cinderella Man”
This tale is about an American boxer, struggling and striving, to scrap out of a pile of jeopardies and his perseverance, his optimism, that hauled him out of this plight.
James J Braddock was born in hell’s kitchen in New York city, a bastion of poor wrecking class of Irish Americans. With “more brawns than brains”, Braddock pursued boxing, turning pro at the age of 21, fighting as a light heavy weight.
With buckets of sweat, and tons of labor, the man was a self made being, known for his sturdy right hand and the solid chin. As goes by the rule of thumb, ‘love what you do and do what you love’, Braddock was knee deep in the arena, ready to take upon whatever came ahead.
In 1928, he pulled off a major upset by knocking out a highly regarded combatant. But just when the odds were befriending his side, the following year he lost a match narrowly. The battle was brutal, it hit not only his conscience, but his worthy armour, his right hand, had been rendered dysfunctional.
He lost several bouts due to his chronic hand injuries. The persistent defeats finally got to him and his disposition; he was tossed out of the league. Out of money and out of strength, he had to resort to alternative sources of livelihood.
The man didn’t lose his head, he flung in a different direction till he could find another way back in.
He worked on the docks and collected social assistance to survive the great depression, during his longshore work, Braddock would use his left hand to compensate for the other one.
Just as the airplane takes off against the wind, and not with it, the obstacles had paved a way for the left hand to dominate over the other. He always remembered the humiliation of having to accept government relief money, but to him, it wasn’t a blow to his ego, it as rather an incentive to begin all over again. A Christian social justice organization aiding the hungry haggard had inspired him to let the bygones be bygones. Failure was simply an opportunity to start again, this time more intelligently, he had wisely learnt.
In the doozie year of 1935, he fought for the heavyweight title with Max Baer and won.
Baer had hardly trained for the bout, but Braddock was training hard, ”I’m training for a fight. Not a boxing contest or a clownin’ contest or a dance,” he said. “Whether it goes 1 round or 3 rounds or 10 rounds, it will be a fight and a fight all the way… When you’ve been through what I’ve had to face in the last two years, a Max Baer or a Bengal Tiger looks like a house pet. He might come at me with a cannon and a blackjack and he would still be a picnic compared to what I’ve had to face.”
During the fight, a dogged Braddock took a few heavy hits from the powerful younger champion, but Braddock kept coming, wearing down Baer, who seemed perplexed by Braddock’s ability to take a punch. In the end, the judges gave Braddock the title with a unanimous decision. Braddock was the original Rocky Balboa.
This conquest was out of ordinary, it spoke of the exceptional James J Braddock, and from there on “ the Cinderella man”
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but rising every time we fail.
This inspirational saga justifies it all!
The man was a true leader, his actions still inspire the posterity to dream more, learn more and become more.