During WWII, Schmeling fought as a paratrooper in the German army and was injured during the assault of Crete in 1941. In 1947-48, he returned to boxing, winning three of five matches in Germany before retiring at the age of 43. He died in July 1958.
Max Schmeling was born on January 19, 1895 in Löwenberg, Prussia (now Włocławek, Poland). His father was a police officer who later became a taxi driver and his mother was a housewife. He had two sisters. When he was only nine years old, his family moved to Berlin where his father found work as a security guard. Here, young Max began to take an interest in sports, especially soccer and handball. In 1909, when he was 12 years old, the family moved again, this time to Kiel where his father found work as a ship's cook. It was while they were living here that Max first started to box as a hobby. He trained with local sparring partners and entered some amateur contests but never really committed himself fully to it until 1920, when he turned professional.
That same year, he won his first title: the German light heavyweight championship from Karl Bohne using only one hand because of a injury he had received earlier in the contest. He defended this title seven times between 1921 and 1928 before losing it to Bohne again.
99 years old (1905-2005) Death Age/Max Schmeling Max Schmeling, the German boxer whose legendary 1938 heavyweight title fight against Joe Louis was dubbed "the undercard of World War II," died Wednesday at his home in Hollenstedt, Germany, near Hamburg. He was 99 years old at the time.
Schmeling was born on Jan. 18, 1905, in Lüneburg, Germany. His father was a police officer who later became a boxing trainer. When Max was 10 years old, he moved with his family to Hamburg, where his father found work as a security guard. Within a few years, though, the family had fallen on hard times and was forced to return to Lüneburg, where Max's father was given a job as a police officer.
He must have been a good policeman because he was eventually promoted to detective. In 1923, when Max was 19 years old, he traveled back to Hamburg to live with his parents. A year later, he started training for a professional boxing license. In 1926, after winning several local titles, he went to Berlin to compete in the national championships. At the end of that same year, he received an offer to travel to America as a fighter but declined it because he didn't have the necessary paperwork.
In 1927, after returning to Germany, he fought his first international match against another German boxer named Hans Kuhlmann.
He's just 24 years old. He's the largest, strongest man fighting right now, and he hits with devastating power. Baer beat German heavyweight and former world champion Max Schmeling (by technical knockout) in Yankee Stadium on June 8, 1933. Schmeling was considered the favorite combatant of Adolf Hitler. The match was very controversial because American sports writers had no choice but to write about it even though Germany and America were enemies at the time.
Baer took up wrestling in high school and competed throughout his college career at Ohio State University before turning pro. After winning his first eight fights, he dropped down in weight to fight Schmeling. At the time, boxing in the United States was limited to men who weighed no more than 175 pounds while Germany allowed their heavyweights to reach 200 pounds. Baer said after the fight that he came to fight and expand America's audience so they would buy more products from American companies. He succeeded beyond all expectations, drawing crowds of 20,000 or more across America for his fights. Baer is also known for saying after defeating Schmeling that "America has a new king", which some historians say was an attempt by Baer to woo American fans back home after seeing him as their hero against the dictator. However, others believe it was simply a spontaneous thing he said without thinking much about it.
Baer was born on January 4th, 1895 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Schmeling was set to face Cinderella Man James Braddock for the championship, but by 1936-37, no one wanted to give a "Nazi" a crack at the title. To be sure, Schmeling did return to Germany as a national hero following the Louis bout and was feted by the Nazi Party and its bigwigs. He didn't ignore their attention, but how could he? After all, he knew what would happen to him if he didn't please them.
As it turned out, Schmeling's career wasn't ruined by his refusal to fight in America, but he did have trouble finding work after 1945. And yet, he continued to enjoy some degree of fame until his death in 1962 at the age of 70.
In America, Braddock's story has been overshadowed by that of Joe Louis. But both men deserved better than they got from their countries. As for Schmeling, he's now regarded as a great boxer who lost his chance at redemption when he refused to fight Louis.