Uploaded on Jul 30, 2008
Here are a selection of British Pathe newsreels concerning the events leading up to, during and after Max Baer's bout against the Welshman, Tommy Farr, which took place at Harringay Arena, London, England on April 15, 1937.
The history leading up to the bout is as follows:
On March 10th, 1937, Max Baer, his wife Mary, his brother Buddy and his entourage arrived at Waterloo Station in London to a crowd of the curious.
Max was so entirely unlike anything staid Londoners had ever beheld they didn't know quite what to make of him. His warmth and wittiness soon completely charmed the public and the British press. His antics regularly crowded news of the Duke of Windsor right off the front pages.
When his name was announced at the Ben Foord- Tommy Farr bout, he received a boisterous round of applause and responded with a deep bow followed by a little dance back to his seat at ringside.
Tommy Farr outpointed Ben Foord to win the title of British Empire Heavyweight Champion, but critics declared the bout an "especially dreary business" and that no previous title fight had ever "been so barren of thrills."
While Tommy Farr had a solid succession of wins under his belt when he stepped into the ring on April 15th, Max was the 3-to-1 favorite going into the bout and the majority of the talk about town centered on him.
In a manuscript found by his son Gary, and published after his death, Tommy Farr wrote fondly about Max: "If there is a better showman I do not know him. But he is not only priceless entertainment, he is 100% sportsman. We have hammered hell out of each other but he is my good friend, as I know that I am his. There is no pettiness in Max. Max may want a deal of understanding, but once you strip him of caps and bells you'll find none of the clown."
Farr outpointed Max in the 12 round bout at Harringay Arena, and while Tommy stated that his win was due to training that had left him "without a physical flaw" and "complete mental serenity" he couldn't help but admire the still monstrous power of Max Baer.
"I did not tire in the least" Farr remembered, "although Max, in the clinches, not only made me feel his enormous strength, but the viciousness of the bite of his short arm punches when we were at close quarters." But "let there be no misunderstanding, when Max gets the full weight of his punches home, something oftener than not either bends or breaks.
While the crowd applauded Max as he left the ring just as enthusiastically as they did Tommy, some members of the American press were particularly cruel in their condemnation of his loss.
Cecil P. Dodge of the Lowell Sun (Massachusetts) stated that "The Englishman [ed: Farr is Welsh] last night offered convincing proof that as a fighter Baer is simply a boasting braggart. The anti-lynch law, passed by Congress yesterday, should be suspended in the case of anyone found attempting to once more foist Max Baer upon the boxing public of this country. And maybe that form of punishment wouldn't be sufficiently severe."
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