US boxer, known as ‘The Brown Bomber’, and world heavyweight champion (1937–49).
Born at Lexington, Alabama, Joe Louis was a Golden Gloves champion and turned professional in 1934. Within three years he had become the second black boxer, after Jack Johnson, to hold the world title when he defeated James J. Braddock. By any standards he was a great boxer, noted for his powerful left jab and knock-out punch. He successfully defended his title twenty-five times and knocked out four other heavyweight champions – Max Schmeling, Jack Sharkey, Primo Carnera, and Max Baer.
He retired from the ring in 1949 but shortage of money forced him to make a comeback. After his third defeat, against Rocky Marciano in 1951, he gave up for good.
Subjects: United States History.