Joe Louis: One of the Greatest African-American Heavyweight Boxers of all Time

1 Posted by - January 31, 2023 - BLACK MEN, SPORTS

Joseph Louis Barrow, who is popularly known as Joe Louis was an African-American professional boxer who remained active from 1934 to 1951. Louis was nicknamed as “Brown Bomber” because of his overpowering personality. He continued being a world heavyweight champion for about 11 years from 1937 to 1949 and is considered one of the deadliest and greatest heavyweight champions of all time.

Born on May 13, 1914, in Lafayette, Alabama, Joe Louis was a grandson of slaves and one of the eight children of Lillie Barrow and Munn. His family faced extreme financial issues during his childhood. All his brothers and sisters used to sleep on a bed or two, and when he turned two, his father got admitted to an asylum due to some mental conditions. Louis was a quiet and shy child with limited education, who eventually developed the problem to stammer. Soon after, his mother got married to a widower, and they moved to Detroit. After some time, Louis started to have his training as a cabinet maker from the Bronson Trade School but soon left to do some odd jobs because of his stepfather’s unemployment.

Louis was going through the hard patch of his life, and to overcome this he started hanging out with the local gang. His mother always had a keen on eye on him and to avoid such activities she made him join violin classes. However, one of his friends introduced him to boxing and used his violin money to get training from Brewster Recreation Center. In 1932, he somehow started his professional career but didn’t get early success. But in 1934, he won an amazing light-heavyweight title at the Detroit Golden Gloves. This was the beginning of his successful life and turned out a professional boxer that year.

By the end of the year 1935, this amateur boxer dispatched many heavyweight champions, winning some $370,000 in prize money. Sadly, on June 19, 1936, he faced his very first professional defeat from one of the former heavyweight champions from Germany. In 1938, Louis got the chance to have a rematch with the same German heavyweight champion and made his nation proud by winning with the first-round knockout. He spent around 11 years of glory in the boxing ring with more wins and fewer defeats. After his retirement, Louis went through a severe financial crisis due to unpaid taxes, and on April 12, 1981, he passed away from cardiac arrest leaving behind some untold stories and unforgettable memories.

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