Digital History
Quotations from Joe Louis
Digital History ID 1076

Author:   Joe Louis

Annotation: He was heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949. His most memorable victory came on June 22, 1938, when he avenged a loss to Germany's Max Schmeling with a first-round knockout at Yankee Stadium. Joe Louis's victory delivered a blow to Adolf Hitler's doctrine Aryan supremacy. At a time when segregation by law and custom was still widespread in the United States, Joe Louis's appeal transcended race.

In 1936, German heavyweight boxer Max Schmeling knocked out previously unbeaten Joe Louis in the 12th round. A year later, in Chicago's Comiskey Park, Louis won the world heavyweight boxing title when he defeated Jim Braddock in an eighth-round knockout, become the first African American heavyweight champ since Jack Johnson, who lost the title in 1915.

A year later he knocked out Max Schmeling just 2 minutes, 4 seconds into the first round at Yankee Stadium.

Document: "He [Billy Conn] can run but he can't hide."

"I just don't know where the money went. I wish I did. I got 50% of each purse and all kinds of expenses came out of my cut."

"When I was boxing I made five million and wound up broke, owing the government a million. If I was boxing today I'd make ten million and wind up broke, owing the government two million."

"Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die."

"I don't like money, actually, but it quiets my nerves."

"I made the most of my ability and I did my best with my title."

"When I had the title I went on the bum-of-the month tour."

"Oh I knew that if I kept on fighting, some guy would come along and take the title away from me, but not this guy, never tonight."

"The whole damned country was depending on me."

"Now I feel like a champion." --Joe Louis

"Joe, we need muscles like yours to beat Germany." --President Franklin Roosevelt

"When you're hit by Louis, it's like a light bulb breaking in your face." --James Braddock

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