Category Archives: Prize Fighters Joe Louis

Joe Louis had it all. Finesse, patience, great ring generalship, and quick reflexes. But above all he had explosive punching power from both hands that he could deliver from  just 18 inches away.

Was Joe Louis the best Heavy Weight Champion of all time?

Was Joe Louis the best Heavy Weight Champion of all time or was it Muhammed Ali?  or Jack Dempsey, Foreman, Marciano, Liston?

Neither was Heavy Weight Champion in 1936
Joe Louis vs Schemling in their first fight in 1936

You be the judge because we are showing the videos of the finest heavyweight champions of all time.

Here’s some of my thoughts though.  Joe Louis’s style was  beautiful. With his hands held high where they should be, Louis was the epitome of economy as he stalked his opponents.  His punches were short and to the point. Accurate and lethal, he delivered them on que with what his mind was calculating.  Although obviously fast, Louis seemed more methodical than quick.  Joe Louis was confident and businesslike with none of the bravado of a Muhammed Ali.  A master finisher, Joe Louis  took his opponents out with punches that seemed  effortless.

The six foot one 197 pound Joe Louis won the heavyweight title from James Braddock.   This put him on the small side compared to most modern heavyweight champions.  From 1937 to 1948 Louis successfully defended his title 25 times. Of those, only three of his opponents went the distance.  Out of 68 professional fights, he lost only three times, while scoring 54 knockouts for an average 80 percent Knockout ratio .   As impressive as these numbers are, they are still just numbers.  To get the full measure of Louis as heavyweight champion and how he stacks up against other great champions, you must watch him fight. Thanks to You Tube, we can bring those memorable fights back in time.

The first is of Joe Louis winning the heavy weight title against the heavy weight champion, James Braddock, who had captured the adoration of his fans as the Cinderella Man. It takes one punch for Louis to finalize the bout, and he delivers that  single punch perfectly.

CLICK HERE FOR THE YOU TUBE VIDEO OF JOE LOUIS VS JIM BRADDOCK 6-22-1937

The next fight pits Joe Louis against ex heavy weight champion Max Baer, a formidable puncher who had lost his title against Braddock.

CLICK HERE FOR MAX BAER VS JOE LOUIS SEPT 24, 1935 YOU TUBE VIDEO

Here you see him against Max Schmeling in two all time classics. In the first fight (1938),  the German, who had been knocked out by Max Baer in an earlier bout, knocks Louis out in  the 12th round.

CLICK HERE FOR THE MAX SCHMELING VS JOE LOUIS 1937 FIGHT ON YOU TUBE

In the return match held in June, 1938,  Louis now Heavy Weight Champion after his knockout victory over James Braddock,  easily dispatches Schmeling in just 2 minutes and 4 seconds.

CLICK HERE FOR JOE LOUIS VS MAX SCHMELING II ON YOU TUBE

One of Joe Louis’s most memorable heavyweight championship fights  was against the Light Heavyweight champion,  Billy Conn.  Louis weighed 199 pounds to the brash Irishman’s 169. The fight went 12 rounds with Conn well ahead of Louis on points. Instead of coasting to what might have been one of the most outstanding boxing upsets of all time, the audacious Irishman threw all caution to the wind and went for the knockout. It was a very unwise decision and Louis turned the tables  by knocking Conn senseless with a perfectly timed right uppercut followed by a left hook.

CLICK HERE FOR THE JOE LOUIS VS BILLY CONN 6/18/1941 FIGHT ON YOU TUBE

This last fight pitted Joe Louis against Primo Carnera, the six foot six giant who had been slaughtered earlier by Max Baer. You might want to compare this fight against Jack Dempsey’s championship bout against Jess Willard who equaled Carnera in size.

CLICK HERE FOR THE 6/25/1935 JOE LOUIS VS PRIMO CARNERA FIGHT ON YOU TUBE 

In some ways Dempsey and Louis were similar heavy weight champions. Both could easily take an opponent out with a punch measuring no more than six inches. Both men were among the very heaviest punchers the heavyweight division had ever seen. But whereas Louis was a methodical and patient fighter who would masterfully set his opponent up, Dempsey was pure aggression incarnate. His savagery was palpable. So who would win if Louis and Dempsey could have fought each other in their prime? And how would either of them have fared against Muhammed Ali, who was the fastest heavyweight champion the world had ever seen? Well–it’s going to be awhile before I get those videos up of Dempsey and Ali, but when I do, I’ll let you make that call. Because I won’t.