Joe Louis Facts

Joe Louis Facts
Joe Louis was an African-American former heavyweight boxing champion. He is thought of by many to be one of, if not the first, blacks to become a cultural icon in the United States to both black and white Americans. He boxed professionally from 1934 to 1951, compiling an astounding record of 66-3, with 52 of those wins coming by knockout. Perhaps the most widely publicized two fights in Louis' career were against German Max Schmeling, who was promoted heavily by the Nazi government. Schmeling won the first fight in New York by knockout in the twelfth round in 1936 in New York City, but Louis won the 1938 rematch with a first round knockout. Louis was born Joe Louis Barrow on May 13, 1914 to Monroe and Lily Barrow in rural Chambers County, Alabama. Joe's family moved to Detroit in 1926, many of the them finding work at the Ford Motor Plant, which is where he lived the rest of his life. Joe married four times and had six children.
Interesting Joe Louis Facts:
Although known as "Joe Louis", those were his first and middle names and became his ring name. He never legally changed his name and there are different theories as to why he only used his first and last name in the ring.
Louis was 50-3 as an amateur boxer.
Louis defeated James Braddock by knockout on June 22, 1937 to become the African-American heavyweight champion since Jack Johnson.
He successfully defended his title in twenty-five fights, which was a record at the time.
Joe's ring nickname was the "Brown Bomber."
Although Joe Louis is today considered to be a positive black role model, he was sometimes mocked during the 1960s by black activists and boxer Muhammad Ali as being too accommodating toward whites.
Louis and Schmeling never fought a third fight, but became good friends after World War II.
Joe was an avid golfer and broke the PGA's color line when he participated in PGA events during the 1950s, becoming the first black golfer to do so.
Perhaps owing to his lack of formal education, most of the $4.6 million in purse money Joe won went to his handlers, leaving him in financial straits for most of the latter part of his life.
Bad business decisions eventually landed Louis in debt with the IRS over $1 million, which he attempted to pay through a variety of media events and stunts, such as taking part in professional wrestling matches.
Louis began a short boxing comeback in 1950 to payback the IRS. The comeback ended when he was knocked out in October 26, 1951 by another boxing legend, Rocky Marciano.
Louis died of a heart attack on April 12, 1981 in Palisades, Nevada at the age of sixty-six. As a military veteran, Louis was buried in Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
In the years after his death, Louis was honored with postage stamps, in movies, and had the Detroit Red Wings hockey team's arena named in his honor.

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