International Boxing Hall of Fame

Joey Maxim

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Joey Maxim
 
Statistics
Real name Giuseppe Antonio Berardinelli
Rated at Light heavyweight
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Birth date March 28, 1922(1922-03-28)
Birth place Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Death date June 2, 2001 (aged 79)
Death place West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 115
Wins 82
Wins by KO 21
Losses 29
Draws 4
No contests 0

Giuseppe Antonio Berardinelli, (March 28, 1922 June 2, 2001), was an American boxer. He was a light heavyweight champion of the world. He took the ring-name Joey Maxim from the Maxim gun, the world's first self-acting machine gun, based on his ability to rapidly throw a large number of left jabs.

 Early career

Maxim was born in Cleveland, Ohio, he learned to box at a very young age. Following a successful amateur career, during which he won the Golden Gloves, he turned professional in 1940. He boxed fairly regularly at exhibitions during the war years whilst serving as a military police officer at Miami Beach, Florida.

Maxim becomes world champion

It is somewhat surprising that Maxim had to wait so long for a world title shot, he was 28 and had already fought 87 times as a professional, considering his undoubted ability. His chance came on January 24, 1950, against British boxer Freddie Mills, who was making his first defense, at London's Earl's Court Exhibition Centre. Maxim, very much the underdog against the popular Englishman, won the fight by knockout in the 10th round. After the fight three of Mills's teeth were found embedded in Maxim's left glove, Mills never fought again.

Maxim's next major fight was on May 30, 1951, when he made a bid for Ezzard Charles's world heavyweight title. Maxim was unsuccessful, losing on points.

 June 25 1952: Joey Maxim vs. Sugar Ray Robinson

The most famous fight of Maxim's career was on June 25, 1952, when he made his second defense of his light heavyweight crown, against Sugar Ray Robinson at Yankee Stadium. The fight had originally been scheduled for June 23, but was postponed due to torrential rain. By the time the fight took place New York was in the midst of a record heat wave.

During the fight Robinson built up a large points lead over the champion, but throughout the fight he gradually succumbed to hyperthermia. He collapsed to the canvas at the end of the 13th round, but managed to stagger back to his corner. However, Robinson failed to answer the bell at the start of the 14th, even though he only had to remain on his feet to win the fight and Maxim won by a technical knockout. This was the only time that Robinson was stopped in his 201-fight career.

By this time the original referee, Ruby Goldstein, had himself been forced to retire from the fight after collapsing into the ropes complaining that he could no longer continue. This meant that a substitute referee, Ray Miller, had to be called out to finish to fight. Goldstein and Robinson were not the only people who had to be stretchered from the stadium: several dozen spectators also collapsed during the fight. Between them, the two fighters lost over 20 pounds in weight during the fight.

 Late career

Despite winning, the Robinson fight took a heavy toll on Maxim. He lost his world title six months later to the veteran Archie Moore. Following this loss Maxim, formerly one of the division's most active fighters, fought only 14 fights in the remaining 6 years of his career. These fights included two rematches with "The Old Mongoose," both of which Maxim lost. Maxim retired in 1958 after losing six consecutive fights.

Maxim retired with a record of 82 wins (21 by KO), 29 losses, and 4 draws in his 115 fight career, he was knocked out only once. During his career he defeated such legendary figures as Jersey Joe Walcott, Jimmy Bivins, and Floyd Patterson.

 Life after boxing

After his retirement Maxim spent time as a stand-up comic, restaurateur, taxi driver and a film extra. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

Preceded by
Freddie Mills
World Light Heavyweight Champion
24 January 195017 December 1952
Succeeded by
Archie Moore