Why? The son of the former Depression-era boxing legend took issue with his father’s depiction in the 2005 film “Cinderella Man.”
Max Baer Sr. was the world heavyweight champion of boxing for a year from 1934-1935. He was a talented boxer who had a deadly right hand. And by that, I mean, he literally killed an opponent named Frankie Campbell with a knockout in 1930.
None of the criminal charges against Baer stuck, however. But he was suspended from fighting for a year.
In 1935, James J. Braddock challenged Baer for the world heavyweight title, and after 15 rounds, Braddock won the fight by decision. The movie “Cinderella Man” followed the story of Braddock—played by Russell Crowe—and was directed by Ron Howard.
According to a 2017 interview the “Beverly Hillbillies” star gave to Fore Magazine, the movie reflected his father poorly. As a result, Baer Jr. didn’t appreciate the people who played a part in making it.
“If Howard and Crowe were sitting here, I’d hit them,” he said.
It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to punch Opie Taylor from “The Andy Griffith Show.” But Ron Howard was grown up when he made “Cinderella Man,” after all. So if that’s the way Max Baer Jr. feels, we can’t blame him.
Not condoning any type of assault, mind you. But if the “Beverly Hillbillies” star feels that his father was misrepresented, it’s an understandable gripe. Moreover, the son of a former world heavyweight champion boxer is not necessarily the person you want to have problems with.
‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Was Profoundly Hurt by Depiction of his Father
The comment Max Baer Jr. made was not an idle one, though. He was truly hurt by the way “Cinderella Man” depicted his father.
In the movie, Max Baer is shown as unsympathetic to the fact that he killed a man during a fight. In reality, however, the boxer temporarily quit the sport after it happened. And when he came back, Baer was reluctant to fight aggressively.
According to IMDB, the fighter was regretful about what happened, and he often cried about taking Frankie Campbell’s life.
Here’s a clip from the movie, showing the fight between Baer and Braddock.