“People were crying.” How the great Joe Louis lost by knockout
Joe Louis and Max Schmeling remain boxing icons to this day. Perhaps every heavyweight dreams of repeating the path of two great fighters. Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Anthony Joshua, Lennox Lewis and many others are still talking about them with delight . The confrontation between Louis and Schmeling is still one of the main pages in the history of heavyweight today. On the eve of major autumn battles in the royal division, we recall the confrontation between the Brown Bomber and the Black Lancer Rhine.
Prelude to battle
In 1934, Joe Louis made his professional debut. The young boy smashed all his rivals. The American almost always won by knockout and very quickly fell in love with boxing fans. By the summer of 1936, he had 24 victories in 24 battles. At the same time, he already beat Primo Carnera and Max Baer . Before the title was just a little bit. The last obstacle to the belt was considered by many to be Max Schmeling.
The German was 9 years older than his opponent. Experts believed that Louis would easily beat Max, who was already pretty worn out in past fights. In fact, no one believed in the Black Lancer Rhine. But the main thing is that Schmeling himself was not deprived of faith in himself. He diligently prepared for the fight, studied Louis and insisted that he had found his weak point.
Joe, on the other hand, was too sure of himself. He was already talking about the title fight with James Braddock, as if the outcome of the fight with Schmeling had already been decided. With this attitude, Louis neglected training, paid attention to golf, which eventually became his lifelong hobby, walking and anything but preparation for a fight. And this, as it should have, played a cruel joke on him.
The duel between Louis and Schmeling took place in New York, in a crowded arena. Max felt her dislike to the full. He entered the ring under whistles and insulting shouts, which allegedly related to the connection of the German with the political regime in his country.
Joe, as mentioned above, was the clear favorite of the bout. At the start of the fight, he only justified this status. But with each round, Schmeling added and in the fourth three minutes he proved that he did find the opponent’s weak point. Max developed an attack from the right and sent his opponent to the canvas with a weighty straight line. Louis managed to rise, but it is clear that Schmeling then seized the initiative, both sportingly and psychologically. From round to round he looked better. Louis could not find an antidote to the opponent’s right hand and soon “gorged” so that he simply survived in the ring. The denouement came in the 12th round (the fight was 15-round). Schmeling launched another offensive and knocked out Joe with a hard hit from the right. It was a triumph.
The famous American columnist and prose writer Langston Hughes described the American reaction to Louis’ defeat.
“I was walking along Seventh Avenue and saw grown men crying like children. The women sat on the curbs, clasping their heads in their hands. People who heard that Louis had lost cried, ”Hughes recalled.
What happened after
After that glorious victory, Schmeling was greeted in Germany as a true hero. Boxer was personally received by Adolf Hitler , he also fell into the clutches of the main propagandist of that Germany – Joseph Goebbels. The latter tried to turn Schmeling into another tool for zombifying his own people. Max himself did not particularly share the ideology of the country’s leaders. A striking evidence of this is that even under incredible pressure, the boxer did not refuse the services of his manager, who was Jewish by birth.
Be that as it may, in the public consciousness, Schmeling still developed a negative image. Photos with the leader of Nazi Germany did their job, and Max’s reputation around the world suffered. He himself was not delighted with everything that was happening.
In 1938, the boxers had a rematch. Then the US-German relations had already completely cooled down, so that the fight was even more politicized. However, Schmeling did not perceive all this through such a prism and prepared for battle frankly badly. As a result, Louis took a more than convincing revenge, knocking out Black Lancer in the first round. In two minutes, Max was on the canvas several times, a spectacle for Schmeling’s fans was humiliating.
Despite such a difficult relationship in the course of a sports career, subsequently the principal rivals kept in touch. Their relationship was not spoiled by the fact that during the Second World War they were on opposite sides of the barricades. Schmeling served in the Wehrmacht and even took part in the offensive in Crete, and Louis came to the front as an honored guest, kept the soldiers morale, and also raised funds for the army in charity fights.
As a result, great athletes talked to the last. The German supported Louis when he found out that he was facing serious financial problems. Moreover, Schmeling paid for the funeral of a longtime enemy in 1981 and even carried a coffin with the body of the great champion. Max himself outlived Joe by almost a quarter of a century and passed away in 2005.