Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Happy 100th Birthday, Joe Louis!
We do have a lot of Beltway news to get to and we will get to it throughout the day, However, I would be somewhat remiss if I did not celebrate a special birthday.
Today is the 100th birthday of "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis. No, Louis was not a Beltway Boxer, however, his excellence inside the ring and the social significance he carried outside the ring helped shape the entire world of boxing.
The bulk of Joe Louis's story has been told many times so I won't go into detail on that. As some of you may remember, I saw an opera on his life back in April of 2010. Here's my review on this if you would like to take a look: http://boxingalongthebeltway.blogspot.com/2010/04/shadowboxer-provides-unique-take-on.html
However, Louis did fight two relatively meaningful bouts in the Beltway Region. On May 23, 1941, Louis made his 13th defense of the World Heavyweight championship in front of what may be a DC fight attendance record of 35,000 fans at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC when he faced Buddy Baer, the younger brother of Max Baer whom Louis beat almost six years earlier. (the two are pictured above)
Louis was knocked down in the first round but came back to drop Baer three times in the sixth. After the bell rang to end the sixth round, Baer's manager, Ancil Hoffman complained Louis hit Baer with a late hit and would not leave the ring as the seventh round was getting ready to begin. Referee Arthur Donovan, Sr. disqualified Baer because of his manager's insubordination. The two would meet again in January of 1942 and Louis would knock out Baer in the first round at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Louis's last pro win also took place in the Beltway Region on August 15, 1951 when he fought Jimmy Bivins at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, MD (pictured above). Louis would win a 10-round unanimous decision. One bout later, Louis would end his career after his eighth-round TKO loss to Rocky Marciano in October of 1951.
Many of you also know that after Louis passed away at the age of 66 on April 12, 1981, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.
On this, the 100th anniversary of his birth, "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis continues to be, as the legendary sportswriter Jimmy Cannon once said, "a credit to his race..the human race."