Monday, February 17, 2014

Louis Knocks Out Dorazio

On Feb. 17, 1941, Joe Louis knocks out Gus Dorazio in the second round for Heavyweight boxing title. Louis remarked of Dorazio, "At least he tried," after being leveled by a short right hand in the second round at Philadelphia's Convention Hall.

Joe Louis was an American professional boxer and the World Heavyweight Champion from 1937 to 1949. He is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. 

A young Joe Louis in 1938.

Nicknamed the Brown Bomber, Louis helped elevate boxing from a nadir in popularity in the post-Jack Dempsey era by establishing a reputation as an honest, hardworking fighter at a time when the sport was dominated by gambling interests.

Louis' championship reign lasted 140 consecutive months, during which he participated in 26 championship fights; fight no. 27 was against Ezzard Charles and was a challenge to Charles' Heavyweight title and so is not included in Louis' reign. 

All in all, Joe was victorious in 25 successful title defenses, a record for the heavyweight division. In 2005, Louis was ranked as the no. 1 heavyweight of all-time by the International Boxing Research Organization, and was ranked no. 1 on The Ring's list of the 100 Greatest Punchers of All-Time.

Louis' career ncluded 72 total fights, with 69 wins, 57 by knockout, and only three losses. He had one no contest, and no draws.

His most remarkable record is that he knocked out 23 opponents in 27 title fights, including 5 world champions. In addition to his accomplishments inside the ring, Louis uttered two of boxing's most famous observations: "He can run, but he can't hide" and "Everyone has a plan until they've been hit.”

Louis is also remembered in sports outside of boxing. An indoor sports venue is named after him in Detroit, the Joe Louis Arena, where the Detroit Red Wings play their NHL games.

In 1936, a beat writer for the Winnipeg Tribune used Joe Louis's nickname to refer to the Winnipeg Football Club after a game. From that point, the team became known popularly as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

His recognition also transcends the sporting world. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Joe Louis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

On Aug. 26, 1982, Louis was posthumously approved for the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given to civilians by the U.S. legislative branch.

Congress stated that he "did so much to bolster the spirit of the American people during one of the most crucial times in American history and which have endured throughout the years as a symbol of strength for the nation."

Following Louis' death, President Ronald Reagan said, "Joe Louis was more than a sports legend -- his career was an indictment of racial bigotry and a source of pride and inspiration to millions of white and black people around the world."

In 1993, he became the first boxer to be honored on a postage stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service.