Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22, 1937: Joe Louis Vs. James Braddock

On June 22, 1937, Joe Louis knocked James Braddock out in the eighth round to become the World Heavyweight Champion. It was a monumental fight, as Louis became the first African American to hold the title since Jack Johnson in 1915. Louis vs. Braddock was held  in front of more than 45,000 people at Comiskey Park in Chicago and they would witness a truly historic bout. Braddock was able to knock Louis down in the first round but couldn't put much together after that. By the seventh round Braddock was looking defeated, he was clearly gassed, and had a cut above his eye as well as a busted lip. The blow that ended it in the eighth was a solid right that put Braddock on the canvas where he laid well after the count was over. The win by Louis was a win for the African American community, all night long parties all across the country were held as his victory was celebrated. On the same date one year later, Louis successfully defended his title against Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium. The fight between Louis and the German Schmeling had political undertones as well as racial undertones, Schmeling had beat Louis in 1936 and the leaders of Nazi Germany claimed it proved their superiority over the African American race. Joe would prove he was superior with a first round knockout.

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