June 22 1937 was a defining night for the heavyweight division. A chance for a fighter to become an icon for all races across America and for the record books a twelve year dominance was born as The “Brown Bomber” Joe Louis knocked out Jim Braddock in the eighth round to win the world heavyweight title.
With his powerful left jab and devastating knock out power, Louis defeated all twenty-five challengers that were put in front of him. After beating the “Cinderella Man” Braddock, all Louis could think about was exacting revenge against the German hero Max Schmeling who had defeated him prior to the Braddock fight.
In 1938 70,000 packed into the Yankee Stadium to witness not only a battle between two fighters but a battle between two countries, the United States of America versus Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. A personal phone call just before the fight from Hitler himself was not enough for Schmeling as Louis destroyed him in 124 seconds instantly becoming an American hero.
The wins continued for Louis until 1950 when Ezzard Charles defeated him via a fifteen round decision. After the Charles defeat a now ageing Louis strung together eight wins before having his last fight against the undefeated and in time the great Rocky Marciano. Louis was beaten well and a shadow of his former great self.
Louis retired from boxing with a record of 66-3-0-1 (52).
Joe Louis will always be remembered for his brutal power and holding the record for the most defences of the world heavyweight title.
Sports writer Jimmy Cannon said “Louis is a credit to his race..The human race”.