Joey Maxim, born Giuseppe Antonio Berardinelli, wasn’t a bruiser, but he was an extremely effective boxer in the light-heavy and heavyweight divisions of the ‘40s and ‘50s.
At the end of his career, Joey Maxim had fought all the toughest competitors of both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, taking on such legendary fighters such as Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson and Sugar Ray Robinson. In all, he’d fight 115 times, with a style that relied on skill and elusiveness.
Maxim began his pro career in 1941 at age 18. Within two years, he’d lost a handful of decisions, but those came at the hands of some of the best of the day. Righting his career, he moved up-and-down between heavyweight and light-heavyweight and defeated Walcott and Jimmy Bivins in 1946 and 1948, respectively. Wins like those moved him into title contention.
By 1949, he captured the American version of the light-heavyweight title. In 1950, he defeated Freddie Mills in London, to capture the world’s title as a light-heavyweight. He defended the belt against Robinson and won, but finally succumbed to Archie Moore in late 1952.
In a last-stand of sorts, he defeated future heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. He’d eventually retire for good in 1958.
Joey was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1979, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.
He died on June 2, 2001.