Joe Louis

Joe Louis is considered by many fistic experts and fans as the greatest Heavyweight Boxing Champion in the sport’s history. Born into a poor family, Joe Louis’s mother felt the only way her son could escape poverty was through music. She bought him a violin and sent him off daily to lessons. On his way there, young Joe would pass by a boxing gym. In no time, he was working out at the gym, training for a boxing career. His amateur career started off disastrously, as he was knocked-out down 16 times in losing the fight. However, he was determined to continue and posted an outstanding amateur career with only 5 defeats in 60 fights. He turned professional and quickly racked up one of the most impressive winning streaks in boxing history. He was nicknamed, The Brown Bomber, and became the first boxer to defeat six heavyweight champions (Primo Carnera, Max Baer, Jack Sharkey, Jimmy Braddock, Max Schmeling, and Jersey Joe Walcott). After winning the championship, he held it almost 12 years to set a record, plus set another record with 25 successful title defenses. He retired with a 60-1 record, only to make an unsuccessful and very sad comeback at the age of 37. While champion, Joe Louis volunteered to join the U.S. Army at the height of his career. He made two title defenses in which he donated his entire purses to relief funds to help both the Army and the Navy. He spent almost five years in the service and boxed hundreds of exhibitions. However, after the war, he was hounded by the Internal Revenue Service to pay back taxes on the purses he had donated. He suffered terribly through this ordeal. and soon found himself broke. He launched a “controversial” pro-wrestling career and was undefeated in some 20 matches before retiring with a heart problem. He was helped by his good friend Frank Sinatra and acted in a few films, worked as a host in Las Vegas, and made numerous appearances for boxing. He died a few years after suffering a massive stroke. Joe Louis was buried with full-military honors, and it was said that he was “most” proud of his European-African-Middle Eastern Medal and his Victory Medal World War II. In or out of the ring, Joe Louis was a Champion.

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