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 Dailey Motion, we can bring those memorable fights back in time.  

Let’s start off with Joe Louis winning the Heavyweight title from James Braddock.  Who has been brought back to life in the movie “Cinderella Man”.

Joe Louis vs James Braddock 6-22-1936

Comparison between Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis

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.

Both men were small by modern day heavyweight standards.  Louis weighed only 200 pounds when he beat James Braddock for the world championship.  And weighed just 205 for most of his career.  While Dempsey weighed just 187 pounds when he took the world title away from Jess Willard.   At 245 pounds Willard was a six-foot six giant standing five inches over Dempsey.  While Louis and Dempsey shared identical heights of six-foot one inch.  

Here you see Joe Louis easily dispatching Max Baer, the villain of “Cinderella Man”.  Who was the polar opposite of the character depicting Max Baer in the movie.  

Joe Louis vs Max Baer 9-24-1935

The next 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.

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 Muhammad 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.

But I will make this call. Both men. Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis would have massacred all the modern heavyweights of 2023.

Joe Louis vs Primo Carnera 6-25-1935

Joe Louis vs King Levinsky 8-7-1935
Joe Louis vs Max Baer 9-24-1935

Here you see him against Max Schmeling in in the first of their 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.

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling 1 6-19-1936

Joe Louis vs Bob Pastor first fight 1-29-1937

And this is the second classic fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling

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.

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling II 6-22-1938
Joe Louis vs Jack Sharkey 8-18-1936
Joe Louis vs Tony Galento 6-28-1939
Joe Louis vs Tommy Farr 8-30-1939
Joe Louis vs Bob Pastor second fight 9-20-1939
Joe Louis vs Arturo Godoy first fight 2-9-1940
Joe Louis vs Arturo Godoy II 6-20-1940
Joe Louis vs Buddy Baer i 5-23-1941

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.

Joe Louis vs Billy Conn 1 6-18-1941
Joe Louis vs Buddy Baer II 1-9-1942
Joe Louis vs Billy Conn 2 6-19-1946
Joe Louis vs Jersey Joe Walcott 1 12-5-1947
Joe Louis vs Jersey Joe Walcott II 6-25-1948
Joe Louis vs Ezzard Charles 9-27-1950
Joe Louis vs Freddie Beshore 1-3-1951
Joe Louis vs Lee Savold 6-15-1951
Joe Louis vs Rocky Marciano 10-26-1951