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Joe Louis, “the bomber of Detroit”, was born on May 13, 1914 in a cotton hut in Lexington (Alabama, United States). He was the seventh child of a very poor family, and he was orphaned as a father when he was 4 years old.
Louis, ten years old, moves with his stepfather and his new family to Detroit, where he started working as an ice delivery boy and then as an apprentice cabinetmaker. Through a friend he began to attend a gym in which they saw conditions for boxing.
In July 1934, he moved to the professional field with John Roxborough as the manager and Jack Blackburn as coach. Louis played his first match against Jack Kracken, whom he defeated in Chicago in the first round.
His career, since then, was brilliant. On December 14 of that same year he defeated, against the prognosis, Lee Ramage. In 1935 Mike Jacobs convinces his attorneys to accept being his manager, acquiring Joe soon fame and importance becoming the great idol of the masses, especially of the men and women of color who saw in him an opportunity for a man of color became for the first time heavyweight champion after Jack Johnson in 1915.
In 1935 he disputed 15 matches, winning by K.O. twelve of them, some against very qualified rivals like Primo Carnera, King Levinsky, Gus Dorazzio, Max Baer or the Spanish Paulino Uzcudun.
On June 19, 1936 suffers a major setback. He faces German Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in New York and is defeated by K.O. in the twelfth round. Although he calls for a rematch with the German, he faces James J. Braddock first, with the world title at stake on June 24, 1937, achieving victory in the eighth round.
He kept the world record for twelve years (absolute record of years as a heavyweight champion), in which he fought with the best fighters on the world scene, including the desired rematch against Schmeling, held in 1938. A combat vibrant ending in the first assault with the victory of Louis, and Schmeling with two broken ribs. Later they would be excellent friends, although Schmeling was considered by the Nazis a prototype of the Aryan race.
During the world war, he enlists in the army, and goes through the allied camps carrying out boxing exhibitions.
After two defenses against Jersey Joe Walcott, the last one in 1948 tried to retire as champion. However, the US Treasury forces him to return to boxing to pay the million dollars he owed, according to the Treasury. He should never have returned. In 1950 it fights with Ezzard Charles, by the reconquest of the title, and is defeated without palliatives. His last fight took place on October 26, 1951, against Rocky Marciano. They were the principles of the great Martian, who in the end would be the only boxer of the heavyweights to retire unbeaten. In eight rounds, Marciano crushed Louis, who had been his reference in his youth, ending the myth. It was the third fight he lost in his life.
Shortly after leaving boxing definitively, he was totally ruined when his assets were confiscated by the Treasury. Just like years ago Primo Carnera tried to do wrestling, but he failed, as well as in other businesses he tried, until in the 60s he went to Las Vegas where he worked in the public relations area of a famous casino, living of that until in 1969 he collapsed in the middle of the street and in 1970 he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Denver. In 1977, a surgical operation as a result of having the aorta obstructed, put him in a wheelchair. On April 12, 1981, he died as a result of heart failure in Las Vegas, NV. He was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery, at the express wish of President Ronald Reagan. His old friend Max Schmeling paid for his illness and burial. He played a total of 70 fights, with 66 victories (52 by K.O.) and 3 defeats.
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