If you want to talk about a roller coaster career of up’s and downs Light Heavyweight champion Joey Maxim had them. He turned professional at 18 after winning the National AAU Middleweight title. He also had won the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament. He was proceeded by another Ohio boxer named and future world champion Ezzard “The Cincinnati Cobra” Charles. They would meet in the pro ranks
Maxim was from Cleveland, OH, and only weighed 167 in his debut in January of 1941 in Cleveland. He would fight mostly in Cleveland and Chicago at the start of his career until his fifteenth fight in Maryland. It was not unusual for him to give up weight. His career spanned from 1941 to 1958 with an 83-29-4 (22) record and like too many boxers fought beyond when he should have losing 8 of his last 9 fights.
Maxim’s biggest win of course was defeating then Middleweight champion “Sugar” Ray Robinson, 132-2-2, when Robinson though ahead on the cards retired on his stool from heat prostration after the thirteenth round. The referee Rudy Goldstein was replaced in the tenth round for the same thing earlier. It was June of 1952 at Yankee Stadium.
Maxim prior to winning the world title from England’s Freddie Mills, 77-17-6, by knockout (with some teeth knocked out) in the tenth round in London, he won the vacant NBA title defeating Gus Lesnevich, 61-13-5, over 15 rounds in May of 1949.
Maxim defeated a good share of heavyweights during his career such as future champion Floyd Patterson, 13-0, Jimmy Bivins, 67-13-1, (split in 2 fights), Ralph DeJohn, 51-13-3, Curtis Shepard, 20-13 (only time Maxim was ko’d but won rematch), Phil Muscato, 36-10 (reversed loss), future world champ “Jersey” Joe Walcott, 40-11-1, and Bob Murphy, 60-05-1.
In the 1940’s Maxim served in the US Army during World War II stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, where he served as a boxing instructor. Born Giuseppe Berardinelli in March of 1922 he passed away in June of 2001 at the age of 79. He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and in 1994 the IBHOF.