Date: July 13, 1936
Place: James Avey Outdoor Power of Punch-Oklahoma City, OK
Event: Former Heavyweight Champ of the World Max Baer vs OKC’s Jimmy Merriott- …6 Rounds of Boxing
Before the fight my Dad went into Max Baer’s dressing area and visited with the ex-champ. My Dad was 17 at the time and was a three sport athlete at Classen High School, Oklahoma City. (He would later on graduate and was a two sport scholarship athlete for Centenary College in Shreveport, La.) My Dad told me that Mr. Baer, who had lost two big time fights the year before, one to James J. Braddock (the Cinderella Man) for the title, and the other to the up and coming Joe Louis, was back stage smoking up a storm.
In his short visit with the former champ, my father told Mr. Baer that one of the reasons he lost his crown was that he (Mr. Baer) smoked too much and that he was not in shape, which for an athlete, did not help him in keeping his title. My Dad said the former champ Baer did not like what my Dad said to him and to “get out of the god damn way.” That story was told to me many times by my Dad and the story never changed.