Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Max Baer -vs- Tony “Two Ton” Galento | All Rounds w/Interview

Max Baer -vs- Tony “Two Ton” Galento
(All Rounds w/post-fight Interview)
Roosevelt Stadium, New Jersey
July 2, 1940
16mm Sound Transfer 

This is an update to a previous post.

The Fight
The Max Baer vs Tony Galento fight film is a classic document of pre-war Sports Americana.  In 1940, Max Baer and Tony Galento, the two most colorful boxers of their day, met for a title elimination showdown in Jersey City.  It was a titanic slugfest.  The fight began even before the opening bell as Galento threatened Baer during the referee’s instructions. The two went right to work in the first round, with Galento on the attack. By round 3 however, Baer was taking control, fighting in flurries, in between clowning and taunting the relentless Galento.  After 7 rounds of bruising action, Galento collapses in his corner and cannot answer the bell for the 8th.  It was Baer’s last victory.

The Movie
The film is noteworthy for several reasons.  The fight was among the best filmed bouts of the day.  It was also among the first fight films produced as the interstate traffic of boxing films was lifted.  For the first time since 1910, boxing films could be distributed across state lines and shown across the country.  As a result, fight films became feature productions in theatres, rather than simply newsreels.  In the decade prior to the television boom, movie audiences were treated to complete fight pictures only days after the event.

The Film
This footage in this video is taken from three sources and shows all rounds of the fight.  The opening potion is from a VHS copy that suffers from generation loss.  Despite the lack of quality, I thought it was important to show the ring intros and referee’s instructions, as it includes Galento’s trash talk and threat to get “twice as rough” as Baer, as if Tony ever needed an excuse.  The remaining (and superior) source footage begins after the opening bell, and is taken from an extended 16mm print, with Round 3 taken from the Castle Films highlight.  The final minute includes the famous “after-battle” interview with Max Baer, Lou Costello and Joe Louis.

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