Joe Louis had won his previous 23 fights, and was expected to do the same against Germany's Max Schmeling in June of 1936. Instead, the large crowd at Yankee Stadium saw the older Schmeling, a former World Champion, outscore Louis, and then knock him out in the 12th. Schmeling would go back to Hitler's Germany a national hero. Louis would go on to beat the Cinderella Man, James Braddock, for the World Championship. The stage was set for the most anticipated rematch in history. The famous 1938 fight, again at Yankee Stadium, was a sellout. Louis and Schmeling embodied everything about the pending war between the two countries. They were given pep talks by no less than Roosevelt and Hitler themselves. Louis carried the mantle for all Americans, but especially Black Americans, in the late 1930's. He would leave nobody down, by knocking out Schmeling in the first round.top photo of German toy produced between the first and second fights
bottom photo, one of three first round knockdowns in 1938
reprinted from March 2012
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