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Greatest Knockouts in Boxing History: 4. Joe Louis Vs Max Schmeling II

joe louis vs max schmeling II

Joe Louis Vs Max Schmeling II

June 22, 1938
Bronx, New York
Venue: Yankee Stadium


When Joe Louis stepped in the ring the first time against Max Schmeling on June 19, 1936, Adolf Hitler had already begun his reign of terror in Europe. Hitler’s goal was world domination and the extinction of non-Aryan people. When Schmeling shocked the world by knocking out the 22-year-old Black sensation in the 12th round that night, Hitler made Schmeling a symbol of Aryan pride. According to the tyrannical dictator, Schmeling was the perfect example of Aryan people being superior to Black people. That theory would be proven completely false two months later when Jesse Owens easily won four gold medals in Track and Field at the Berlin Olympics as Hitler watched in complete disgust.

Louis rebounded by knocking out James J. Braddock to become heavyweight champion of the world almost exactly a year later. It was highly unfair that Louis got the shot at Braddock before Schmeling. The reason this occurred was that Braddock’s manager Joe Gould got Louis’s managers to agree to give up 10 percent of Joe’s fight purses for the next 10 years to Braddock; one of the biggest larcenies in the history of boxing. Braddock won one more fight after losing to Louis and then retired. In retirement, he was able to sit back and collect hundreds of thousands of dollars without having to lift a finger.

After successfully defending his title three times, Louis and Schmeling signed for their much anticipated rematch. Nazi Germany was steamrolling Europe as Hitler’s dream was possibly becoming a reality in ruling the entire world. Schmeling had become a symbol of Nazi Germany’s thirst for world domination. Another knockout of the Black American superhero would be a massive boost to the egos of Hitler and the Aryan race he proclaimed was the master race. Louis had other ideas.

Over 70,000 fans attended the Louis-Schmeling rematch on a hot, muggy night in The Bronx’s cathedral Yankee Stadium. It was one of the biggest one-sided massacres in boxing history. Less than a minute into the fight, Louis staggered Schmeling with his signature right cross and only the ropes kept the German challenger from falling to the canvas. Soon after, Louis dropped Schmeling for the first time with another vicious right cross. Schmeling immediately got up and Louis quickly dropped him again with another right cross. Schmeling got up one more time but he was completely out on his feet. Louis again landed a thudding right cross that dropped Schmeling for a third and final time. As Schmeling went down like a sack of potatoes, Schmeling’s corner threw in the towel. Referee Arthur Donovan waved the fight off and instantly Louis became the first Black athlete to be embraced by Americans all across the board.

Louis’ reign as heavyweight champion lasted another 11 years before he retired 1949. Unfortunately, Louis would end up dead broke and was forced to make a comeback. That comeback saw him get battered by Ezzard Charles and knocked completely out of the ring by Rocky Marciano. Schmeling, after being called a disgrace by Hitler and Nazi Germany, would begin working for Coca Cola, eventually becoming a stockholder. This was the result in a very lucrative post fight career for Max before dying at the ripe age of 99 in 2005. The irony of ironies is that the men who were the greatest wins of Louis’s career would both wind up financially set for life while Louis died broke.

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