Posts Tagged ‘Joe Louis’

Old Boxing Photos

Margaret Lockwood of NY, US sent in these photos to Malta Boxing News asking for help in identifying the boxers in these pictures, we can make out Jack Dempsey & Joe Louis. Can any of our readers kindly give us more information about Who’s Who in these pictures.


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‘World Boxing Union’ Appoints New Vice President

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The youngest son of heavyweight legend Joe Louis has been officially named Vice President of Operations of the World Boxing Union. Joe Louis Barrow II has stated that he looks forward to making the World Boxing Union a thriving championship organization again. “Since I have accepted this position I plan on making some important changes that I believe will not only revitalize this organization but the sport of boxing as well,” Barrow stated.

Joe Louis Barrow II, not to be confused with Joe Louis’s oldest son, Joe Louis Barrow Jr., is taking his position very seriously. “When my father was champion, he was the only champion. In the 70′s and 80′s when the sanctioning bodies started taking over, it was a bit difficult to figure out who was the real champion. Some fighters unified the titles and were recognized as the ‘Undisputed Champion.’

“That’s all fine and dandy, but today it is a little outrageous. Some organizations don’t want to do business with other organizations for a unification match. It’s despicable. It’s a circus. Organizations now have the world champion, the diamond champion, the super champion, and world champion emeritus. No wonder fight fans are crossing over to MMA. It was one thing to know who the WBA, WBC, and IBF champions were. Now we have to know who the WBA World champ is as well as who the WBA Super champ is. It’s frightening.”

Barrow is in the process of making a Board of Directors, which will include some familiar names in the sport and in politics. “I have Rocky Marciano’s nephew Lou Marciano Jr. coming on board. I plan to reach out to U.S. Senator John McCain as well. It’s about the fighters. If I have the support of legends like Larry Holmes, Eddie Mustapha Muhammad, Irish Micky Ward, Vinny Pazienza, Tommy Hearns and a handful of other boxing greats, the WBU has to be looked at seriously again.”

Barrow is talking about the 90s and the early part of this century when the WBU was based in England. The WBU was a respected organization at the time with champions like Ricky Hatton, Kevin Kelley, Micky Ward, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman and James Toney to name a few. After the death of WBU founder John W. Robinson the company was primarily just making champions in the UK. It eventually ran itself into the ground and was defunct for several years until a business group headed by Don “Moose” Lewis out of Atlanta bought the rights to the company. Since then the WBU has been in the rebuilding process.

Lewis is acting President while Joe Louis Barrow II is running the day to day operations. “We had some problems with the BBB of C when we came back. They originally refused to recognize the WBU in the UK. It’s funny, Charles Giles is the Chairman of the British Boxing Board of Control (BBB of C) and he is also the Vice-President of the WBC and the Vice-Chairman of the EBU. He doesn’t like the fact that the U.S. has taken over a former UK organization I imagine. We are trying to work on relations with them but this is what’s wrong with the sport. Questions need to be raised. Regardless the WBU has a rich history in boxing and we plan on continuing that in the future.”

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Boxers of Yesteryear – Jimmy Braddock “The Cinderella Man”

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By Daniel Ciminera

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Well, with the new year so full of fresh starts and second chances well underway, what better fighter to talk about than Jimmy Braddock. A man who made better use of his second chance than probably any man ever has. Braddock was a first generation American, born to Irish immigrant parents in the summer of 1905 (June the 7th to be precise). He was a simple boy, who lived a typical life of an Irish immigrant in New York. As a youngster he thought he’d grow up to be a fireman, but dreamed of playing college football, but conceded that he did not have the brains for such a path.

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Braddock discovered his love of boxing in the early 1920′s whilst working several jobs and began fighting as an amateur. His amateur career was very successful and this is where he earned his stripes before turning professional in 1926 as a Light-Heavyweight against Al Settle in a draw over 4 rounds. Braddock quickly established himself as one of the top fighters in the Light-Heavyweight division by knocking out his next eleven opponents within the first 3 rounds. Instead of then moving onto tougher opposition, Braddock stayed fighting over 4 or 6 rounds in local Jersey fights and the occasional foray into New York City.

Contrary to popular belief nowadays, perhaps the 2005 motion picture “Cinderella Man” based on his life as has something to do with this. However, the fact is, Braddock had lost 5 contests prior to his loss to Tommy Loughran at Yankee Stadium on the 18th of July, 1929. Though he had never been knocked out, and had gained some notable victories over Pete Latzo, Tuffy Griffiths by 2nd round TKO at Madison Square Garden, where he also knocked out Jimmy Slattery against heavy odds in the 9th a few month later.

However, the war he engaged in with Tommy Loughran over 15 rounds was to be part of his downfall. Braddock broke his hand in several places during the fight and lost out to a heartbreaking decision in their July ’29 bout. This, along with the stock market crash later that year, ruined Braddock.

With his personal fortune lost in the stock market, Braddock was forced to fight with his badly broken hand in order to put food on the table for his family. This hampered any progress he otherwise would have been capable of making and his record for his next 33 fights was 11 wins, 20 losses, with 1 draw and 1 no contest before the boxing commission revoked his license after a poor bout with Abe Feldman at a police charity event in which Braddock re-broke his right hand once more. This left Braddock with nothing, and he even found getting menial work a struggle due to the state of his hand and the scarceness of any paid work on offer. Eventually he had to swallow his pride and sign on for public relief in order to support his wife and three young children. (He would later famously pay this relief money back.)

Less than one year later though, in June 1934, James J. Braddock’s long term manager Joe Gould offered him one of the greatest lifelines any fighter, or indeed man, has ever been given. He was to stand in as a late replacement against Heavyweight challenger John “Corn” Griffin on the undercard of Max Baer’s World Title fight with Primo Carnera.

With new found physical strength he would later attribute to his time doing manual labour at the docks, Braddock knocked out Griffin in the 3rd round in a fight nobody, including himself, thought he could get through, never mind win. This win gave Braddock the opportunity to start fighting again and in his next bout, he was placed against John Henry Lewis, who had easily outpointed him 2 years previously. Somehow, Braddock managed to pull off the impossible and take his revenge with a 10 round decision.

Seen as a complete inspiration to millions, Braddock then went onto fight Art Lasky, the main challenger to the heavyweight throne at this time who probably saw Jimmy as an easy warm up fight. Braddock again upset the long odds by beating Lasky by unanimous decision to become the top rated heavyweight to face the champion Max Baer, one of the most ferocious punchers of all time, even killing one opponent, Frankie Campbell, in the 5th round of their 1930 contest in San Francisco.

Once again, nobody gave Braddock a chance at winning this bout. It was billed as an execution, with even Baer himself playing up to the fact that he had killed a man previously and talked of handing Braddock the same fate. He was urged by many to back out of the fight, but, undaunted, Braddock ignored this advice and went into the fight with the same dogged determination with which he had done everything in his life and which had got him to where he was currently standing.

Baer was clearly expecting an easy night against “an old man”, but was sourly disappointed when he was met by the determined Braddock, who during the 15 round contest, exhibited everything which made him a great fighter. His granite chin, his awkward crouching stance, good counter punching and his powerful right hand.

One of Braddock’s nicknames was “The Bulldog of Bergen” and he displayed all of a bulldog’s stubborn determination during his 15 rounds with Baer to win a unanimous decision to become the World Heavyweight Champion. The quiet Irishman really had gone from zero to hero and deserved the name given to him by reporter Damon Runyon, who named Braddock “The Cinderella Man”.

Braddock was to go on to fight Jack McCarthy five times all over the country in exhibition bouts before a bout with Max Schmeling was ordered to be cancelled until Braddock had fought Joe Louis. In 1937, Braddock laced up his gloves once more and stepped into the ring against the younger challenger Louis, and after flooring him in the 1st round, went on to both receive strong pain killing medication to combat arthritis, and lose by stoppage for only the second time in his career.

Although Braddock lost this fight, due to a stipulation in his contract, he received 10% of Joe Louis’ earnings for the next ten years and in the following two years alone, made over 150 thousand dollars from this deal.

While possibly not being one of the “hardest hitting”, “most exciting”, “most affluent”, “longest reigning”, or any other title a fighter may be bestowed with, his heart-warming tale and bulldog-like determination to overcome the odds in all aspects of his life make him a most note-worthy boxer in pugilistic history and one as inspirational today as it was during the depression.

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Boxers of Yesteryear – Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber”

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Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber” is considered to be one of the most powerful and fastest punching heavyweight boxers in ring history. He had great hand speed, a powerful jab, deadly accuracy in his punches and his right cross, thrown short and straight, was sheer dynamite.

Louis is widely regarded as the first African American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States, and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II.

Louis was world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949. He successfully defended his title 25 times (21 by knockout) before retiring in 1949. His service in the U.S. Army during World War II no doubt prevented him from defending his title many more times. He made a post-retirement comeback in 1950.

Joseph Louis Barrow, born on May 13, 1914, was the seventh of eight children of Munroe Barrow and Lily Reese. His father was an Alabama sharecropper and died when Joe was four (records dispute his death in a mental institution). His mother took in washing to support her family. Joe was close to his large family, particularly to his mother, from whom he inherited a deep religious sentiment. His mother married Patrick Brooks, with children of his own, when Joe was seven, and the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1926.

The Depression hit the Louis family hard, but as an alternative to gang activity, Joe began to spend time at a local youth recreation center at 637 Brewster Street in Detroit.Legend has it that he tried to hide his pugilistic ambitions from his mother by carrying his boxing gloves inside his violin case.

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Louis’s amateur debut was probably in early 1932. In 1933, Louis won the Detroit-area Golden Gloves Novice Division championship for the light heavyweight classification against Joe Biskey, later losing in the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions. The next year, competing in the Golden Gloves’ Open Division, he won the light heavyweight classification, this time also winning the Chicago Tournament of Champions. Although a hand injury forced Louis to miss the New York / Chicago Champions’ cross-town bout for the ultimate Golden Gloves championship in 1934, he followed up his Chicago performance by winning the National AAU tournament in St. Louis, Missouri in April of that year. By the end of his amateur career, Louis’s record was 50 wins against 4 losses, with 43 knockouts.

Louis’s impressive amateur performances attracted the interest of professional promoters. Rather than sign with an established promoter, Louis agreed to be represented by a black Detroit-area bookmaker named John Roxborough. As Louis explained it in his autobiography, Roxborough convinced Louis that white managers would have no real interest in seeing a black boxer work his way up to title contention.

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His professional debut came on July 4, 1934 against Jack Kracken in the Bacon Casino on Chicago’s south side. Louis earned $59 for knocking out Kracken in the first round. Louis won all 12 professional fights that year, 10 by way of knockout.

Although Louis’ management was finding him bouts against legitimate heavyweight contenders, no path to the title was forthcoming. Although boxing was not officially segregated, white Americans had become wary of the prospect of another black champion in the wake of Jack Johnson’s highly unpopular “reign of terror” atop the heavyweight division, and an informal barrier existed that kept African American and black  boxers out of title contention.( Biographer Gerald Astor stated that “Joe Louis’ early boxing career was stalked by the spectre of Jack Johnson.”)

A change in management was inevitable. In 1935, boxing promoter Mike Jacobs sought out Louis’ handlers. After Louis’ narrow defeat of Natie Brown on March 29, 1935,

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Jacobs and the Louis team met at the Frog Club, a colored nightclub, and negotiated a three-year exclusive boxing promotion deal. The contract, however, did not keep Roxborough and Black from attempting to cash in as Louis’ managers; when Louis turned 21 on May 13, 1935, Roxborough and Black each signed Louis to an onerous long-term contract that collectively dedicated half of Louis’ future income to the pair.

Louis fought 13 times in 1935. The bout that helped put him in the media spotlight occurred on June 25, when Louis knocked out a former world heavyweight champion, the 6’6″, 265-pound Primo Carnera, in six rounds. Foreshadowing the Louis-Schmeling rivalry to come, the Carnera bout featured a political dimension. Louis’ defeat of Carnera, who symbolized Benito Mussolini’s regime in the popular eye, was seen as a victory for the international community, particularly among African Americans, who were sympathetic to Ethiopia during its occupation by Italy.

By this time, Louis was ranked as the No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division and had won the Associated Press’ “Athlete of the Year” award for 1935.[39] What was considered to be a final tune-up bout before an eventual title shot was scheduled for June 1936 against former world heavyweight champion Max Schmeling.

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Schmeling prepared intently for the bout. Schmeling had thoroughly studied Louis’s style, and believed he had found a weakness. By exploiting Louis’s habit of dropping his left hand low after a jab, Schmeling handed Louis his first professional loss by knocking him out in Round 12 at Yankee Stadium on June 19, 1936.

After defeating Louis, Schmeling expected a title shot against James J. Braddock, who had unexpectedly defeated Max Baer for the heavyweight title the previous June. Madison Square Garden (MSG) had a contract with Braddock for the title defense and also sought a Braddock-Schmeling title bout. But Jacobs and Braddock’s manager Joe Gould had been planning a Braddock-Louis matchup for months.[49] Schmeling’s victory gave Gould tremendous leverage, however; if he were to offer Schmeling the title chance instead of Louis, there was a very real possibility that Nazi authorities would never allow Louis a shot at the title.

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The stage was set for Louis’s title shot. On the night of the fight, June 22, 1937, Braddock was able to knock Louis down in Round 1, but afterward could accomplish little. After inflicting constant punishment, Louis defeated the “Cinderella Man” by knockout in Round 8. Louis’s ascent to the world heavyweight title was complete.

Louis’s victory was a seminal moment in African American history. Thousands of African Americans stayed up all night across the country in celebration.

Noted author and member of the Harlem Renaissance Langston Hughes described Louis’s effect in these terms: “Each time Joe Louis won a fight in those depression years, even before he became champion, thousands of colored Americans on relief or W.P.A., and poor, would throng out into the streets all across the land to march and cheer and yell and cry because of Joe’s one-man triumphs. No one else in the United States has ever had such an effect on Negro emotions – or on mine. I marched and cheered and yelled and cried, too”.

Despite now being heavyweight champion, Louis was haunted by the earlier defeat to Schmeling. Shortly after winning the title, he was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to be called champ until I whip Max Schmeling.

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Louis vs. Schmeling II — The rematch between Louis and Schmeling is one of the most famous boxing matches of all time, and is remembered as one of the major sports events of the 20th century.[43] Following his defeat of Louis in 1936, Schmeling became a national hero in Germany. Schmeling’s victory over an African American was touted by Nazi officials as proof of their doctrine of Aryan superiority. When the rematch was scheduled, Louis retreated to his boxing camp in New Jersey and trained incessantly for the fight. A few weeks before the bout, Louis visited the White House, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt told him, “Joe, we need muscles like yours to beat Germany.”[43] Louis later admitted: “I knew I had to get Schmeling good. I had my own personal reasons and the whole damned country was depending on me.”

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On the night of June 22, 1938, Louis and Schmeling met for the second time in the boxing ring. The fight was held in Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 70,043. It was broadcast by radio to millions of listeners throughout the world, with radio announcers reporting on the fight in English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Before the bout, Schmeling weighed in at 193 pounds; Louis weighed in at 198¾ pounds - NBC radio announcer Clem McCarthy delivered the blow-by-blow account of the fight, which lasted just two minutes and four seconds. But it was a historic milestone — one that an estimated 70 million people listened to on their radios.

The fight lasted two minutes and four seconds. fter only a few seconds of feinting, Louis unleashed a tireless barrage on Schmeling. Referee Arthur Donovan stopped action for the first time just over one minute and a half into the fight after Louis connected on five left hooks and a body blow to Schmeling’s lower left which had him audibly crying in pain. After sending Louis briefly to his corner, Donovan quickly resumed action, after which Louis went on the attack again, immediately felling the German with a right hook to the face. Schmeling went down this time, arising on the count of three. Louis then resumed his barrage, this time focusing on Schmeling’s head. After connecting on three clean shots to Schmeling’s jaw, the German fell to the canvas again, arising at the count of two. With few defenses left at this point, Louis connected at will, sending Schmeling to the canvas for the third time in short order, this time near the ring’s center. On the third knockdown, Schmeling’s trainer threw in the towel and referee Arthur Donovan stopped the fight. In Germany the Radio Broadcast was actually cut short before the end of the fight.

altThe 1938 boxing rematch between American Joe Louis and German Max Schmeling is believed to have had the largest audience in history for a single radio broadcast.

In later life, both men became firm friends. Schmeling became chairman of Coca Cola and helped Louis in his later years when the ex-champion experienced financial difficulties. At Joe’s funeral in 1981, Schmeling sent over a large amount of money to which the ex-champion’s widow commented that Schmeling was indeed a true friend.

In the 29 months from January 1939 through May 1941, Louis defended his title thirteen times, a frequency unmatched by any heavyweight champion since the end of the bare-knuckle era. The pace of his title defenses, combined with his convincing wins, earned Louis’ opponents from this era the collective nickname “Bum of the Month Club”. Despite its derogatory nickname, most of the group were top-ten heavyweights. Of the twelve fighters Louis faced during this period, five were rated by The Ring as top-ten heavyweights in the year they fought Louis: Galento (overall #2 heavyweight in 1939), Bob Pastor (#3, 1939), Godoy (#3, 1940), Simon (#6, 1941), and Baer (#8, 1941); four others (Musto, Dorazio, Burman, and Johnny Paycheck) were ranked in the top ten in a different year.

Louis fought a charity bout for the Navy Relief Society against his former opponent Buddy Baer on January 9, 1942, which generated $47,000 for the fund. The next day, he volunteered to enlist as a private in the United States Army at Camp Upton, Long Island. Newsreel cameras recorded his induction, including a staged scene in which a soldier-clerk asked, “What’s your occupation?” and Louis replied in a nervous rush, “Fighting and let us at them Japs.”

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Another military charity bout on March 27, 1942, (against another former opponent, Abe Simon) netted $36,146.] Before the fight, Louis had spoken at a Relief Fund dinner, saying of the war effort: “We’ll win, ’cause we’re on God’s side.” The media widely reported the comment, instigating a surge of popularity for Louis. Slowly, the press would begin to eliminate its stereotypical racial references when covering Louis, and instead treat him as an unqualified sports hero. Despite the public relations boon, Louis’s charitable fights would prove financially costly. Although Louis saw none of the roughly $90,000 raised by these and other charitable fights, the IRS would later credit these amounts as taxable income paid to Louis. After the war, the IRS would pursue the issue.

Louis’s celebrity power was not, however, merely directed toward African Americans. In a famous wartime recruitment slogan, Louis echoed his prior comments of 1942: “We’ll win, because we’re on God’s side.” The publicity of the campaign made Louis widely popular stateside, even outside the world of sports. Never before had white Americans embraced an African American as their representative to the world.

Louis was eventually promoted to the rank of sergeant, and was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for “incalculable contribution to the general morale.” Receipt of the honor qualified Louis for immediate release from military service on October 1, 1945.

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On June 19, 1946, a disappointing 40,000 saw the rematch at Yankee Stadium, against Billy Conn in which Louis was not seriously tested. Conn, whose skills had deteriorated during the long layoff, largely avoided contact until being dispatched by knockout in the eighth round.

On December 5, 1947, Louis met Jersey Joe Walcott, a 33-year-old veteran with a 44-11-2 record. Walcott entered the fight as a 10-to-1 underdog. Nevertheless, Walcott knocked down Louis twice in the first four rounds. Most observers in Madison Square Garden felt Walcott dominated the 15-round fight; when Louis was declared the winner in a split decision, the crowd booed.

The rematch against Walcott was held on June 25, 1948, about 42,000 people came to Yankee Stadium to see the aging champion, who weighed 213½, the heaviest of his career to date. Walcott knocked down Louis in the third round, but Louis survived to knock out Walcott in the eleventh.

Louis would not defend his title again before announcing his retirement from boxing on March 1, 1949.

Problems with the IRS force Louis to return: A match with Ezzard Charles – who had acquired the vacant heavyweight title in June 1949 by outpointing Walcott – was set for September 27, 1950. By then, Louis was 36 years old, and had been away from competitive boxing for two years. Weighing in at 218, Louis was still strong, but his reflexes were gone. Charles repeatedly beat him to the

punch. By the end of the fight, Louis was cut above both eyes, one of which was shut tight by swelling. He knew he had lost even before Charles was declared the winner.

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After facing several club-level opponents, the International Boxing Club guaranteed Louis $300,000 to face undefeated heavyweight contender Rocky Marciano on October 26, 1951. Despite his being a 6-to-5 favorite, few boxing insiders believed Louis had a chance. Marciano himself was reluctant to participate in the bout, but was understanding of Louis’s position: “This is the last guy on earth I want to fight.” It was feared, particularly among those who had witnessed Marciano’s punching power first hand, that Louis’s unwillingness to quit would result in serious injury. Fighting back tears, Ferdie Pacheco said in the SportsCentury documentary about his bout with Marciano, “He [Louis] wasn’t just going to lose. He was going to take a vicious, savage beating. Before the eyes of the nation, Joe Louis, an American hero if ever there was one, was going to get beaten up.” Louis was dropped in the eighth round by a Marciano left, and knocked out of the ring less than thirty seconds later.

For income, Louis even became a professional wrestler in the 1950s and 60s, and again as late as 1972.

Personal – Louis had two children by wife Marva Trotter (daughter Jacqueline in 1943 and son Joseph Louis Barrow, Jr. in 1947) and adopted three others. They divorced in March 1945 only to remarry a year later, but were again divorced in February 1949. Marva moved on to acting and modeling career. On Christmas Day 1955, Louis married Rose Morgan, a successful Harlem businesswoman; their marriage was annulled in 1958.  Louis’s final marriage – to Martha Jefferson, a lawyer from Los Angeles, on St. Patrick’s Day 1959 – lasted until his death. They had a child and also named him Joe, Jr. The younger Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. lives in New York city and is involved in boxing.

Unfortunately, drugs took a toll on the once indomitable (not able to be beaten) champion in his final years. In 1969, he was hospitalized after collapsing on a New York City street. While the incident was at first credited to “physical breakdown,” Louis later admitted to cocaine use and fears of a plot against his life. The following year, Louis spent five months in the hospital suffering from paranoid delusions (irrational anxiety and fear toward others). Strokes and heart ailments caused his condition to worsen. He had surgery to correct an aortic aneurysm (abnormal widening of a blood vessel) in 1977 and was thereafter confined to a wheelchair.

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Despite failing health, Louis still found time to attend major boxing events. On April 12, 1981, he sat ringside at the Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick heavyweight championship bout at Caesar’s Palace. Hours after the fight, Louis went into cardiac arrest and died at the age of sixty-six.

Louis died of a heart attack in Desert Springs Hospital on April 12, 1981, just hours after his last public appearance viewing the Larry Holmes-Trevor Berbick heavyweight championship. Ronald Reagan waived the eligibility rules for burial at Arlington National Cemetery, and Louis was buried there with full military honors on April 21, 1981.

” Following Louis’ death, US President Ronald Reagan said, “Joe Louis was more than a sports legend — his career was an indictment of racial bigotry and a source of pride and inspiration to millions of white and black people around the world.”

In 1994, the bronzed boxing glove that Louis used to defeat Max Schmeling was donated to the city of Detroit by the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Dubbed “The Glove That Floored Nazi Germany,” it was enshrined in a plexiglass case at the city’s Cobo Center, a monument to Louis’s enduring legacy.

altRecord - Joe held the Heavyweight Championship longer than any other Champion; Louis scored 43 knockdowns in his first 22 Professional bouts; Only Jack Kranz and Hans Birkie were not floored; He fought as an amateur light-heavyweight (175-lb class); His amateur record reportedly was 50-4 with 43 knockouts

Nat Fleischer ranked Louis as the #6 All-Time Heavyweight; Charley Rose ranked him as the #4 All-Time Heavyweight; Herb Goldman ranked him as the #6 All-Time Heavyweight; Louis was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

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Joe Louis

  • Louis uttered two of boxing’s most famous observations: “He can run, but he can’t hide” and “Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
  • Louis made 25 defenses of his heavyweight title from 1937 to 1948, and was a world champion for 11 years and 10 months. Both are still records in the heavyweight division.
  • His most remarkable record is that he knocked out 23 opponents in 27 title fights, including 5 world champions.
  • Golf, In 1952, Louis was invited to play in the San Diego Open on a sponsor’s exemption, becoming the first African American to play a PGA Tour event.
  • An indoor sports venue is named after him in Detroit, the Joe Louis Arena.
  • Molefi Kete Asante listed Joe Louis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
  • On August 26, 1982, Louis was posthumously approved for the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given to civilians by the U.S. legislative branch.
  • A memorial to Louis was dedicated in Detroit (at Jefferson Avenue & Woodward) on October 16, 1986. The sculpture, commissioned by Time, Inc. and executed by Robert Graham, is a 24-foot-long (7.3 m) arm with a fisted hand suspended by a 24-foot-high (7.3 m) pyramidal framework. It represents the power of his punch both inside and outside the ring.
  • On February 27, 2010, an 8-foot (2.4 m) bronze statue of Louis was unveiled in his Alabama hometown. The statue sits on a base of red granite outside the Chambers County Courthouse.

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Boxers of Yesteryear 1940’s Era

The 1940’s were difficult years for boxing in Europe and in many ways reflected worldwide situations that affected other endeavors as well. World War II raged early in the decade.

Because of the war, many world championship divisions were frozen. Sometimes, a title bout was held five years after the last title bout in that division had been held.

Carbo

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In the 1940’s notwithstanding the war years, boxing in America was in its heyday and was big money, mainly because of gambling, and was ruled by gangland boxing czar Frankie Carbo.

In Europe it was a different story for boxing – The European Boxing Union went through difficulties during World War II. Because one of the organization’s most important rules is that every fighter that fights for an EBU title must be a national and a resident of a European country, and all fights must be held in Europe, it became very hard, if not almost impossible, for the European Boxing Union to stage fights. As a consequence, the European Boxing Union suffered financial difficulties during this period.

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Joe Louis

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Joe Louis was the heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1948, in part because major boxing titles were frozen from 1941 to 1946 as four thousand professional boxers joined the military. Louis not only enlisted, he donated over $100,000 to war relief efforts in 1942. Sugar Ray Robinson, Ike Williams and Willie Pep were other big names in boxing. (Louis defended his title 25 times)

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Boxing Highlights of the 1940’s

1941 – January 13 – Anton Christoforidis becomes the first Greek world boxing champion in history, beating Melio Bettina by a fifteen round decision for the National Boxing Association’s vacant world Light-Heavyweight title, in Cleveland.

Christoforidis was born in Messenia prefecture, Greece. His first bout was against Francisco Garcia Lluch in Paris, France which he won by decision. He made his United States debut on January 5, 1940 in Madison Square Garden defeating Willie Pavlovich. At that point Christoforidis settled in Geneva, Ohio.

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1941 – May 23 – In an extremely controversial bout, Joe Louis retains his world Heavyweight title with a seventh round disqualification win over Max Baer’s brother, Buddy Baer. After the bell to end round six, Louis landed a blow that dropped Baer. Said time-keeper Billy Dechard: Joe hit Baer at least three seconds after the bell sounded. Looking for a disqualification win, Baer’s manager announced his fighter would not come out for round seven, and Baer wound up getting disqualified instead. The controversial fight took place in Washington, DC.

Louis’s cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. He is widely regarded as the first African American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States, and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II.

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1941 - July 29 – Freddie Cochrane wins the world Welterweight title, defeating Fritzie Zivoc with a fifteen round decision, in Newark.

Cochrane turned pro in 1933 and was considered the World Welterweight champion in 1941 after beating Fritzie Zivic. Although he technically held the title for more than four years, he did not successfully defend it once due to World War II. In 1945 he fought a war with legendary Rocky Graziano in what was proclaimed 1945 Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine.

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1942 – June 20- Freddie Mills conquers the British version of the world Light-Heavyweight title with a second round knockout over Len Harvey, in London.

Although Mills was not a stylish boxer, he had the necessary talent to gain the world light-heavyweight championship. In handing out punishment he was often prepared to take much punishment himself, something that boxers cannot continue to do over a long career. To make matters worse, he was often matched against heavyweights, conceding large weight advantages to his opponents.

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1943 – February 5- In their second of their classic six fight rivalry, Jake LaMotta defeats Sugar..Ray..Robinson by a ten round unanimous decision, in Detroit. This fight would be portrayed 37 years later in LaMotta’s biographic movie, Raging Bull.

LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws with 30 wins by way of knockout, was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, knocking him down in the first round of their first fight and then outpointing him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry.

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Jackie Paterson 1943 – June 19- Jackie Patterson wins the world’s Flyweight title with a first round knockout of defending champion Peter Kane, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Jackie Paterson (5 September 1920, Springside, Ayrshire – 19 November 1966) was a Scottish boxer who was world flyweight boxing champion. He was also British champion at flyweight and bantamweight.

He was a southpaw with a knockout punch in either hand, his most lethal weapon being his left hook. He was comparatively broadly built for a flyweight, and often struggled to make the eight stone flyweight limit. In the latter stages of his career, he fought as a bantamweight.

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1944 – March 3 - The third chapter of the Bob Montgomery-Beau Jack rivalry, as Montgomery beats Jack by a fifteen round decision, at New York.

1944 – August 4 - Beau Jack wins a ten round decision over arch-rival Bob Montgomery in New York. A few w Joe Louis eeks later, they were both drafted on the same day by the Army.

1945: because of the events of World War II during this year, there were only two world championship boxing bouts in 1945.

1945 – February – Willie Pep retains his world Featherweight title with a fifteen round decision over Phil Terranova, in New York.

Guglielmo Papaleo (September 19, 1922 – November 23, 2006) was an Italian-American boxer who was better known as Willie Pep. Pep boxed a total of 1956 rounds in the 241 bouts during his 26 year career, a considerable number of rounds and fights even for a fighter of his era. His final record was 229-11-1 with 65 knockouts.

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1945 – September 28- Rocky Graziano stops Harold Green in two rounds at New York. Green later claimed he was paid to lose the fight.

1946 – December 20- Sugar Ray Robinson becomes world champion for the first time, defeating Tommy Bell by a fifteen round unanimous decision for the vacant world Welterweight championship, in New York.

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1947 – July 16- Rocky Graziano becomes world Middleweight champion, knocking out Tony Zale in round six of the second chapter of their boxing rivalry.

Rocky Graziano, born Thomas Rocco Barbella in New York City (1 January 1919 – May 22, 1990), was an outstanding Italian-American boxer. Graziano was considered one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, often displaying the capacity to take his opponent out with a single punch. He was ranked 23rd on Ring Magazine’s list of the greatest punchers of all time.

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1947 – December 5- Joe Louis retains his world Heavyweight title for the 24th. time, with a fifteen round split decision over Jersey Joe Walcott, in New York.

1948 – February 20- Tragedy strikes, as Ezzard Charles defeats Sam Baroudi in Chicago, by a knockout in round ten. Baroudi died as a consequence of the blows suffered, on February 21.

1948 – June 25- Joe Louis retains his world Heavyweight title for the twenty-fifth and final time, this time knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott in round eleven of their New York rematch. Louis would retire, officially leaving the title, in 1949.

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1948 – September 23- Marcel Cerdan conquers the world Middleweight title with a twelfth round knockout win over Tony Zale, in Jersey City.

Marcellin “Marcel” Cerdan (July 22, 1916 – October 28, 1949 ) was a French pied noir world boxing champion who was considered by many boxing experts and fans to be France’s as well as Europe’s greatest boxer, and beyond to be one of the best to have learned his craft in Africa. His life was marked by his sporting achievements, social

lifestyle and ultimately, tragedy.Cerdan’s record was 113 wins and 4 losses, with 66 wins by knockout.

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1949 – June 16- Jake LaMotta wins the world Middleweight championship, knocking out Marcel Cerdan in ten rounds, at Detroit.

LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws with 30 wins by way of knockout, was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, knocking him down in the first round of their first fight and then outpointing him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry.

October 27 – Marcel Cerdan dies when his plane, an Air France Constellation, crashes over the Azores when he was returning to the United States for a rematch with Jake LaMotta.

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1949 – July 11- Sugar Ray Robinson retains the world Welterweight title with a fifteen round unanimous decision over future world champion Kid Gavilan, in Philadelphia.

Robinson was named the greatest fighter of the 20th century by the Associated Press, and the greatest boxer in history by ESPN.com in 2007. The Ring magazine rated him the best pound for pound boxer of all-time in 1997, and its “Fighter of the Decade” for the 1950s. Muhammad Ali, who repeatedly called himself “The Greatest” throughout his career, ranked Robinson as the greatest boxer of all time.

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