WHAT Joey Maxim lacked in power, he made up for with outstanding boxing ability. Although he only scored 21 knockouts in 115 carerr bouts, he managed to beat some of the best fighters of his era.
Maxim turned pro in Cleveland at the age of 18 in 1941. Within his first 11 fights he decisioned contenders Nate Bolden and Red Burman. His sophomore campaign didn't get any easier as Maxim dropped a decision to Jimmy Bivins and two decisions to Ezzard Charles.
While Maxim continued his march toward the top of the light heavyweight division, he would occasionally stray into the heavyweight ranks. In 1946 he beat Jersey Joe Walcott and in '48 he avenged his loss to Bivins, who was now campaigning as a heavyweight.
On February 28, 1949, Maxim dropped another fight to Charles but followed that loss three months later with a 15-round win over Gus Lesnevich for the vacant American light heavyweight title. On January 24, the following yera, Maxim traveled to England to challenge world champion Freddie Mills. Considered a big underdog, Maxim shocked the capacity crowd at Earl's Court in London and knocked Mills out in the 10th round to win the world light heavyweight crown.
On May 30, 1951, Maxim would meet Charles yet again. This time, Charles' heavyweight title was at stake. But the result was the same as Charles scored another points win. In five meetings, Charles was able to get the best of Maxim each time.
Maxim returned to the light heavyweigh ranks and on June 25, 1952, he defended his title against middleweight king Sugar Ray Robinson at Yankee Stadium. There were 48,000 people at the Stadium, enduring 100-degree temperatures, just to watch Robinson attempt to win a world title in a third weight class. Sugar Ray was outboxing Maxim when the summer heat and Maxim's punches began to take their toll. Suffering from fatigue and dehydration, Robinson, who was ahead on the scorecards, failed to answer the bell for the 14th round.
Maxim would lose the light heavyweight crown to Archie Moore on December 17, 1952. He would fight Moore two more times over the next two years -- with the title on the line in each fight -- but Moore managed to decision Maxim in each meeting.
Maxim's last stand was a win over future Hall-of-Famer and future heavyweight king Floyd Patterson on June 7, 1954 at the Eastern Parkway Arena in Brooklyn, New York. He retired in 1958 after losing six straight fights.