Friday, May 13, 2005

Blogball’s Born On This Day In History

Joseph Louis Barrow Born May 13 1914, better known in the boxing world as Joe Louis and nicknamed The Brown Bomber

Every time I read something or watch a special on Joe Louis I am always more impressed with Joe Louis’s character and class than his impressive boxing record. (Total Bouts: 71 Won: 68 Lost: 3 Drew: 0 KOs: 54) I guess he was best known for his 2 fights against Max Schmeling. During the Nazi up rise. He also served in the Army during WW2. As I was looking through more information on Joe Louis I saw this quote by a reporter named Jimmy Cannon he said, "Louis was a credit to his race ... the human race."

Here’s more on Joe Louis:
Boxer, born in Lafayette, Alabama, USA. His reign as heavyweight champion of 11 years and eight months is the longest in boxing history (1937–49). He turned professional in 1934 and won the heavyweight title in 1937 with a knockout of James J Braddock in the eighth round. He defended his title 25 times, a record for any weight division, and posted a career record of 68 wins, three losses, with 54 knockouts. He retired in 1949, but made a comeback in 1950. He lost the world title fight to Ezzard Charles (1921–75), and had his last fight against Rocky Marciano in 1951. Nicknamed, ‘The Brown Bomber’ he was a devastating puncher with either hand. His grace and seeming invincibility inspired African-Americans and won him fans throughout the world.

Here are some highlights from his memorable fights:

In one of his most memorable bouts, Louis took on light heavyweight champion Billy Conn on June 18, 1941 at the Polo Grounds in New York. Conn, a masterful boxer, was ahead on the scorecards after 12 rounds. But miraculously, Louis scored a 13th-round knockout to save his title. After the war, during which Conn served in the Navy, they met again and Louis scored an eighth-round knockout.
In 1947, Louis was dropped twice by Jersey Joe Walcott but managed to hang onto the title by a controversial split decision. The end was nearing for the great champion and shortly after he knocked Walcott out in a rematch, he announced his retirement.
In 1950, at the age of 36, Louis returned to the ring to challenge heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles but lost a 15-round decision. He fought nine more times over the next year, beating the likes of Lee Savold and Jimmy Bivins but announced his permanent retirement when Rocky Marciano knocked him out on October 26, 1951.

I thought this was interesting too:

A few years after his retirement, a movie about his life, The Joe Louis Story, was filmed in Hollywood. Louis remained a popular celebrity until his twilight years, when he began suffering various illnesses (Pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome) and ran out of money. In his later years, he got a job welcoming tourists to the Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas, where many world boxing champions and legends from other walks of life, including old rival Max Schmeling, would visit him. In fact, they became close personal friends over the years, and the compassionate Schmeling would often send him money. They remained friends until his death, when Schmeling paid for the funeral and was one of the pallbearers.

Joe Louis died of a heart attack in 1981. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

1 comment:

unca said...

It's nice to remember Joe Louis. Even I'm too young to remember any of his career but last night I saw a film of his bout with Rocky Marciano. It was pretty sad and too bad he had to try a comeback. I read somewhere that what made Louis so dangerous was that he didn't need much room to throw a powerful punch - a lot of his knockouts came from close range. I also read somewhere that Louis told Conn after their first fight: I gave you the championship for 12 rounds and you didn't know what to do with it.
By the way, Max Schmelling died very recently -- less than a year ago, I think.