Not lightly rests the crown on the brow of the new world’s heavyweight champion.
Max Baer, who is being acclaimed as first Jewish heavyweight champion prizefighter in history, tells a few things about himself in an article written especially for the Yiddish Day, and explains why his sense of responsibility is so great.
“I am the product of a marriage like that described in ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’,” Maxie says. “The only difference is that my father’s name is Jacob, and I should like the world to know that I am a Jew if I am anything. If I were in Germany now I should readily admit that nationally I am a Jew first of all. It’s true that my mother belongs to the ‘Aryan race.’ She’s of Scotch-Irish descent. But I can boast not only of a Jewish Grandmother but also of a Jewish father. You can imagine what the Nazis would have done with me . . .”
Max declares he is very glad to have brought the championship title back to the United States, “which gave me a great deal personally.” The fighter says he takes great pleasure in the fact that the newspapers are writing a great deal about him and his Jewishness, and assures us that “so long as I can raise a hand I’ll do everything to keep the title here in our country . . . I want the world to know that Jews are the best prizefighters.”
Maxie denies he is the very first Jewish heavyweight in the world, recalling Daniel Mendoza, 175-pound English heavyweight of the late 18th century.
“But I am the first true Jewish heavyweight champ,” Baer says, “because my punch is the heaviest of all those of Jewish fighters of all time. We’ve never had heavyweights until recently . . . but we have had lightweights like Benny Leonard, Leach Cross, Abe Attell, Harry Louis and now Barney Ross . . .
“In the days when Corbett and Sullivan were the stars in the fight world, their was a Jew named Joe Choynski, who if he were only twenty pounds heavier could surely have won the championship title. Choynski knew how to punch. He laid low quite a number of excellent fighters and nearly knocked out Corbett. And what about Battling Levinsky, who lost his crown to Carpentier?
“My father was one of the Jewish cattle merchants of Omaha, Nebraska. He was never pious and isn’t today. But he’s a very honest person with a lot of experience learned in the school called ‘life.’
“When I was a little boy (but a big Shaygetz) we moved to Livenmore, California, where I helped my father deliver milk to his customers . . . I liked physical work because it gave me the feeling of being useful . . .
EXPLAINS STAR OF DAVID
“People wonder why I wear a Star of David on my fight trunks. My explanation is very simple: I’m proud I’m a Jew, a child of the people that always helped others. I want to show the world that in the fight ring we Jews excel just as we do in other fields of human activity.
“I know quite a lot about the effeminate Adolf Hitler. If I could just get that prize piece in the ring for one minute I’d settle the whole Nazi question in two punches . . .
“. . . I’m prepared to show the world that an American Jew with a mixture of Scotch-Irish blood can’t be defeated. I have the honor of being the first Jewish heavyweight champion of our time. I won back the crown for the United States. That imposes upon me the duty of keeping my record as high and clean as possible. I owe that to my country and to the Jewish people!”