Skip to comments.LOUIS DEFEATS SCHMELING BY A KNOCKOUT IN FIRST
Posted on 06/23/2008 5:12:27 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The Brown Bomber from Detroit, with the most furious early assault he has ever exhibited here, knocked out Schmeling in the first round of what was to have been a fifteen-round battle to retain the title he won last year from James J. Braddock. He has now defended it successfully four times.
In exactly 2 minutes and 4 seconds of fighting Louis polished off the Black Uhlan from the Rhine, but, though the battle was short, it was furious and savage while it lasted, packed with thrills that held three knockdowns of the ambitious ex-champion, every moment tense for a crowd of about 80,000.
This gathering, truly representative and comparing favorably with the largest crowds in boxings history, paid receipts estimated at between $900,000 and $1,000,000 to see whether Schmeling could repeat the knockout he administered to Louis just two years ago here and be the first ex-heavyweight champion to come back into the title, or whether the Bomber could avenge this defeat as he promised.
As far as the length of the battle was concerned, the investment in seats, which ran to $30 each, was a poor one. But for excitement, for drama, for pulse-throbs, those who came from near and far felt themselves well repaid because they saw a fight that, though it was one of the shortest heavyweight championships on record, was surpassed by few for thrills.
With the right hand that Schmeling held in contempt Louis knocked out his foe. Three times under its impact the German fighter hit the ring floor. The first time Schmeling regained his feet laboriously at the count of three. From the second knockdown Schmeling, dazed but game, bounced up instinctively before the count had gone beyond one.
On the third knockdown Schmelings trainer and closest friend, Max Machon, hurled a towel into the ring, European fashion, admitting defeat for his man. The towel sailed through the air when the count on the prostrate Max had reached three.
The signal is ignored in American boxing, has been for years, and Referee Arthur Donovan, before he had a chance to pick up the count in unison with knockdown timekeeper Eddie Josephs, who was outside the ring, gathered the white emblem in a ball and hurled it through the ropes.
Returning to Schmelings crumpled figure, Donovan took one look and signaled an end of the battle. The count at that time was five on the third knockdown. Further counting was useless. Donovan could have counted off a century and Max could not have regained his feet. The German was thoroughly out.
It was as if he had been pole-axed. His brain was awhirl, his body, his head, his jaws ached and pained, his senses were numbed from that furious, paralyzing punching he had taken even in the short space of time the battle consumed.
Following the bout, Schmeling claimed he was fouled. He said that he was hit a kidney punch, a devastating right, which so shocked his nervous system that he was dazed and his vision was blurred. To observers at the ringside, however, with all due respect to Schmelings thoughts on the subject, the punches which dazed him were thundering blows to the head, jaw and body in bewildering succession, blows of the old Alabama Assassin reincarnate last night for a special occasion.
Louis wanted to erase the memory of that 1936 knockout he suffered in twelve rounds. It was the one blot on his brilliant record. He aimed to square the account and he did.
Because of the excitement attending the finish, Louis, in the records, will be deprived of a clean-cut knockout. It will appear as a technical knockout because Referee Donovan didnt complete the full ten-second count over Schmeling. But this is merely a technicality. No fighter ever was more thoroughly knocked out than was Max lasts night.
Thrilling to the spectacle of this short, savage victory which held so much significance was a gathering that included a member of President Roosevelts Cabinet, Postmaster General James A. Farley; Governors of several States, Mayors of cities in the East, South and Middle West, Representatives and Senators, judges and lawyers, politicians, doctors, figures of prominence in the professional world, leaders of banking, industry and commerce, stars of the stage and screen, ring champions of the past and present, leaders in other sports and other fields all assembled eagerly awaiting the struggle whose appeal drew them from distant parts of the country and from Europe.
In addition to those looking on at the spectacle, there were millions listening in virtually all over the world, for this battle was broadcast in four languages, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese, so intense was the interest in its outcome.
Louis, hero of one of the greatest stories ever written in the ring, owner of a record of thirty-eight victories, in thirty-nine bouts spread over four years, entered the ring the favorite to win at odds of 1 to 2. He won like a 1-to10 shot. The knockout betting was at even money, take your pick. It could have been on Louis at 1 to 10, for Schmeling never had a chance. His number was up from the clang of the opening gong.
Schmeling, 32-year-old campaigner over a period of fourteen years, aspired to the unparalleled distinction of being the first man to regain the heavyweight crown. He suffered, instead, the fate that overtook Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Jim Jeffries and Jack Dempsey, ring immortals all, who tried and failed.
The fury of Louiss attack explains the result in a nutshell. The defending champion came into the ring geared on high. He never stopped punching until his rival was a crumpled, inert, helpless figure, diving headlong into the resined canvas, rolling over there spasmodically, instinctively, trying to come erect, his spirit willing to return to the attack, his flesh weak, for mind and muscle could not be expected to function harmoniously under the terrific battering Schmeling absorbed in those fleeting two minutes.
Emphasizing the savagery with which Louis went after this victory was Schmelings feeble effort at retaliation. The German ex-champion threw exactly two punches. That is how completely the Bomber established his mastery in this second struggle with the Black Uhlan.
With the opening gong, Louis crept softly out of his corner, pantherlike, eyes alert, arms poised, fists cocked to strike from any angle as he met Schmeling short of the rings center. Max backed carefully toward his own corner, watching Louis intently, his right, the right which thudded so punishingly against Joes jaw and temple two years ago, ready to strike over or under a left guard. At least, that was Schmelings pre-arranged plan.
But Louis wasted only a few seconds in studying his foe, menacing Max meanwhile with a spearing left before quickly going to work.
Like flashes from the blue, the Bombers sharp, powerful left started suddenly pumping into Schmelings face. The blows tilted Maxs head back, made his eyes blink, unquestionably stung him. The Germans head was going backward as if on hinges.
Maxs face was exposed to a left-hook attack and Louis interspersed his onslaught with a few of these blows, gradually forcing Schmeling back to the ropes and preventing the German from making an offensive or counter move, so fast and sharp and true was the opening fire of the defending champion.
Schmeling suddenly shot a right over Louiss left for the jaw, but the blow was short and they went close. At long range again, Joe stuck and stabbed with his left to the face, trying to open a lane through Schmelings protecting arms and gloves for a more forceful shot from the right.
But the opening didnt come immediately. Instead Schmeling again lunged forward, his right arching as it drove for Louiss jaw, and it landed on the champions head as the Schmeling admirers in the tremendous crowd roared encouragement.
Louis, however, only scowled and stepped forward, this time with a terrific right to Schmelings jaw which banged Max against the ropes, his body partly turned toward the right from Louis.
Schmeling shook to his heels under the impact of that blow, but he gave no sign of toppling. And Joe, like a tiger, leaped upon him, driving a right to the ribs as Schmeling half turned apparently the blow Schmeling later claimed was a foul swinging with might and main, lefts and rights, that thudded against Schmelings bobbing head, grazed or cracked on Maxs jaw and swishing murderous looking left hooks into Schmelings stomach as the crumpling ex-champion grimaced in pain, his face wearing the expression of a fighter protesting foul.
Shaken when he first landed against the ropes, Schmeling was rendered groggy under the furious assault to which Louis subjected him while he stood there trying unsuccessfully to avoid the blows or grasp a chance to clinch.
Suddenly the Bombers right, sharp and true with the weight of his 198 ¾ pounds back of it, as well as his knack of driving it home, landed cleanly on Schmelings jaw. Max toppled forward and down. He was hurt and stunned, but gamely the German came erect at the count of three.
Louis was on him in a jiffy, with the fury of a jungle beast. After propping the tottering Schmeling with a jolting left to the face, the Bombers deadly right fist again exploded in Maxs face, and under another crack on the jaw, Schmeling went down. This time, however, the German regained his feet before the count progressed beyond one.
But Schmeling was helpless. He staggered drunkenly for a few backward steps, the crowd in and uproar as Louis stealthily followed and measured his man. Max was an open target. His jaw was unprotected and inviting. His mid-section was a mark for punches. The kill was within Louiss grasp. He lost no time in ceremony.
Spearing Schmeling with blinding straight lefts, numbing Max with powerful left hooks that were sharp, true and destructive, Louis set the stage for one finishing right to the jaw, released the blow and landed in a flash, and the German toppled over in a headlong dive, completely unconscious.
The din of the crowd echoed over the arena, cheers for the conquering Louis, shrieks of entreaty and shouts of advice for Schmeling. But this thunderous roar was unheard by the befogged Schmeling and was ignored by the Bomber, intent only on the destruction of his foe.
In routine fashion, Eddie Josephs, a licensed referee converted into a knockdown timekeeper, started the count over the stricken Schmeling. He counted one, then two, as Referee Donovan went about the duty of signaling Louis to the farthest neutral corner.
At three a white towel sailed aloft form Schmelings corner, hurled by the ever-faithful Machon, who realized, as did every one else in the vast gathering, that Schmeling was knocked out, if he was not, indeed, badly hurt.
The towel fell in the ring a few feet from Schmeling. It is the custom in European rings to recognize this gesture as a concession of defeat. It used to be recognized here. But for many years now it has been banned, and Referee Donovan, disregarding the emblem of surrender, tossed it through the ropes and out of the ring.
When he returned to the prostrate figure of Schmeling, moving convulsively on the ring floor doubtless with that instinctive impulse to arise, the count had reached five. One look was enough for Donovan. Instantly he spread his arms in a signal that meant the end of the bout, although Time-keeper Josephs, as he is duty bound to do, continued counting outside the ring.
This led to confusion at the finish. Some thought the third knock-down count was eight. Actually, the bout was ended at the count of five, the three seconds beyond that time being a gesture against emergency that was superfluous. Schmeling could not have arisen inside the legal ten-second stretch. His hopes wee blasted. He was a thoroughly beaten man.
In a few moments, however, as police swarmed into the ring and his handlers worked over him in the corner to which he was assisted, Schmeling returned to consciousness. He was able to smile bravely as he walked across the ring to shake the hand of the conquering Louis, a gesture that carried the impression, somehow, that Max realized at long last that Louis is his master now and for all time.
Louis came out of his corner quickly and wasted little time springing at his foe. He lashed out with two lefts to the face and cracked a right to the jaw. Schmeling tagged the jaw with a right but the punch seemingly had no effect on the champion.
The challenger hooked a left to the head and took a left to the body in return. Louis drove Schmeling to the ropes with a fusillade of rights and lefts to the head. The latter was absorbing punishment about the body without being able to lift a hand in his own defense.
Referee Donovan stepped between them, as if to stop the slaughter, but did nothing but wave Louis back to mid-ring.
Puzzled for a second or two, Louis returned to the attack on shouts from his corner and crashed a right to Schmelings jaw, flooring him for a count of three. The German arose shakily and was submitted to a heavy body fire before taking another right to the jaw, a paunch which put him down for only one second.
Rubber-legged and glassy-eyed, the gallant German sought to hold off his tormentor, but Louis shot both hands to the body with crushing force, drove a sharp left hook to the jaw, then fired a right to the chin that felled Schmeling once more. The challengers instinct drove him to drag himself to all fours, but further he could not move.
The count had reached three when Max Machon, Schmelings trainer, tossed in the towel to signal defeat. At five Referee Donovan waved his hands to signal the end of the battle. The round had gone 2 minutes 4 seconds.
CHICAGO, June 22 (AP). Chicagos Negro section, with a population of 232,000, staged a gay celebration of Joe Louiss one-round victory over Max Schmeling tonight.
Shots were fired in the air, firecrackers set off, trolley poles jerked from street cars and some windows broken.
Crowds poured into the streets a few moments after Schmelings defeat was broadcast from New York. Dancing Negroes covered the pavements and tied up traffic. Night clubs in the district reported the liveliest business since New Years Eve.
Special police details were on duty in the district south of the loop, but no arrests were reported early in the celebration.
Max Baer had a very good vest-pocked criticism of Max Schmelings tactics when the fight was over. In a few thousand well-chosen words the voluble Livermore Larruper discoursed on the battle. The gist of his remarks is found in one sentence.
The trouble with Schmeling, he said, was that he fought Louis the way Baer fought him he did not throw any punches.
Baer revealed that he would sign with Louis today at the commission offices for a fight in September.
Now I feel like the champion.
These were Joe Louiss first words on his arrival in his dressing room.
Ive been waiting a long time for this night, he added, and I sure do feel pretty glad about everything. I was a little bit sore at some of the things Max said. Maybe he didnt say them, maybe they put those words in his mouth, but he didnt deny them, and thats what made me mad.
What Louis referred to, probably, was the statement attributed to Schmeling a month ago, to the effect that the Negro would always be afraid of him. Something must have rankled Joe, for the savagery with which he battered down the German was never displayed in his other bouts here.
Most of Louiss remarks were addressed to Governor Frank Murphy of Michigan, one of the first admitted to the champions dressing room.
The Governor admittedly was full of hero-worship as he shook hands with the Detroit boxer who, on his own account, was immeasurably pleased with Murphys visit.
Youll never know how my heart thumped during that round, Joe, said the Governor.
Im glad I made it short for you, sir, responded the champion, who looked exactly like a wool-gathering youngster standing in awe of royalty, instead of a young man who had just earned about $400,000 in 124 seconds.
Louiss managers, Julian Black and John Roxborough, were incensed at Schmelings claim of foul at first, then laughed it off, saying: Thats for German consumption.
Asked if Schmeling would be considered for a return fight, Black replied, Certainly not. Weve demonstrated tonight that Joe is just too good for Schmeling. Weve had enough of him, and he certainly has had enough of us!
The champions immediate plans are indefinite. Hell stay around to collect his check today, and probably take in the ball game at the Polo Grounds.
A new development in fight weather forecasts was introduced yesterday in connection with the Louis-Schmeling fight and with discouraging results. At the request of Promoter Mike Jacobs, who wanted to allay his fears with a special forecast, the United Air Lines sent W. B. Beckwith, one of its meteorologists, aloft in a plane at noon to the 12,000-foot level., where he could get a forecast based on upper air temperatures and the structure of clouds above this level.
When Beckwith landed he telephoned Jacobs with following:
Continued overcast, with occasional mist or light rain from 6 P. M. to mnidnight.
Jacobs decided thereupon he could have gotten along splendidly without this information.
BERLIN, Thursday, June 23 (AP). All Germany, clustered about it short-wave radio sets in the early morning hours, was thunderstruck and almost unbelieving at the unexpected news that Unser Maxe Schmeling had failed in his heavyweight comeback try, and failed by the knockout route.
Their high hopes of hearing black-browed Schmeling had fought his way back to the heavyweight championship were dashed so suddenly that the ardor of radio parties and café gatherings was quickly dampened.
Heavy-lidded Germans, who had stayed up till 3 A. M. for the short-wave broadcast only to hear a 2:04 minute fight end with dramatic dispatch, climbed into bed a saddened lot at Joe Louiss victory.
All over the Reich they had clustered in homes, restaurants and cafes to hear the fight they hoped would bring the worlds championship to Germany.
It was said Adolf Hitler at his Bavarian mountain retreat was among those who heard the disheartening news.
The maid at Schmelings Berlin home was so disappointed by the knockout she said she would not awaken Maxies movie actress wife, Anny Ondra, who left instructions not to be aroused until after the fight.
I think morning will be time enough to tell her, said the maid, who had stayed up in hope of being able to bear her good news.
The Sportsbar, where Schmeling and his cronies have a regularly reserved table, was like a tomb, a waiter lamented after the radio told the sad story to patrons looking glumly into their beer steins.
Schmelings German pals said their only comment was an echo of what the German announcer said at the close of his broadcast from the Yankee Stadium ringside:
We sympathize with you, Max, although you lost as a fair sportsman.
We will show you on your return that reports in foreign newspapers that you would be thrown into jail are untrue.
K. Metzner, head of the German Boxing Federation, who listened to the broadcast with members of the International European Boxing Federation (FIFA), believed the fight, because of its sudden end, did not give a clear picture of whether Louis or Schmeling was the better fighter.
He said Louis undoubtedly was in excellent form. Schmeling, he thought, watched Louiss left hand too closely, whereas since their last meeting two years ago Louis had developed a powerful right.
He said it was hard to judge whether Trainer Machons action in throwing in the towel was the proper move, thus making the fight end as a technical knockout.
He added Schmeling could be sure of as hearty a reception at home as ever.
Attendance 80,000 Estimated gross receipts - $900,000 Federal tax - $90,000 State tax - $45,000 Louiss share (40 per cent of net) - $306,000 Schmelings share (20 per cent of net) - $153,000 Promoters share, from which all other expenses are deducted - $306,000.
Harlems celebration of the victory of its hero, Joe Louis, over Max Schmeling started off deliriously but more or less peacefully after the fight ended last night, but wound up early this morning with a wholesale throwing of bottles, tin cans and other missiles from roof tops and windows in the vicinity of Seventh avenue and 130th Street that resulted in slight injuries to twenty policemen and ten civilians.
Mounted Patrolman Edward Grout was the only one of the casualties who needed special attention, the others suffering minor cuts and bruises. Grout suffered a concussion of the brain when an ash can cover hit him on the head and knocked him off his horse. He received treatment in the West 123d Street station and remained off duty.
The disturbance at Seventh Avenue and 130th Street was quickly quelled by a number of the extra policemen assigned to special duty in Harlem. Meanwhile, all was peaceful in the German-American quarter around East Eighty-sixth Street, where the reaction to the Negros victory over the German pugilist was one of good-natured joke-on-us laughter.
Emmet Smith, a Negro, 23 years old, of 204 West 133d street, was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct for tossing a bottle into the air from the sidewalk.
The Harlem streets were almost deserted when the fight began. The Brown Bombers admirers were all indoors, listening to the radio descriptions of the historic one-round knockout. No sooner was the Schmeling debacle over than thousands of men, women and children surged out of tenements and radio stores into the Harlem streets, shouting with glee.
Their exuberance at first took the form of hopping upon the running boards and tops of passing taxicabs and private cars, knocking over ash cans and traffic signs and yelling plaudits of their hero.
On his way home from the fight Police Commissioner Valentine stopped at the West 135th Street station to get reports on the Harlem situation. Learning that everything was peaceful, the Commissioner ordered all traffic on Seventh Avenue between 125th and 145th Streets shut off so that the celebrants could cut all the capers why pleased.
This is their night, let them have their fun, said the Commissioner.
Residents of Yorkville conceded that the better man had won and ruefully counted up their betting losses. Negro bettors had descended on Yorkville for several days offering varying odds on Louis and finding plenty of takers. When the fight began, German-American beer dispensaries and restaurants were crowded with eager radio-listeners. When the fight ended there was an almost universal silence and then bursts of laughter that sounded sheepish to some observers.
CLEVELAND, June 22 (AP). Police used tear gas to quell a riotous crowd tonight in the Negro section here celebrating Joe Louiss victory over Max Schmeling.
Charity Hospital was filled with injured and attendants notified police to take others to other hospitals.
One man was shot, probably fatally; two policemen were felled by flying bricks, a street car was stoned, passengers were hurt and sirens screamed at man false alarms.
At one busy intersection jammed with celebrants and spectators general fighting broke out. Knives flashed, clubs swung and missiles flew. All available police squads rushed to the scene and tear gas scattered the melee.
There was only momentary silence after the knockout. Then a din burst loose that could be heard many blocks from the celebration center.
Old men and women did the Big Apple in the streets with the youngsters. Thousands were attracted by the general jamboree and hundreds of police were rushed to the district.
Prominent German clubs were crowded with families drinking beer in silence.
DETROIT, June 22 (AP). Negro residents of Detroits Paradise Valley, who had confidently petitioned the City Council two weeks ago for permission to do so, danced and sang in roped-off streets tonight in celebration of Joe Louiss knockout victory over Max Schmeling.
Police estimated the crowd in the vicinity of St. Antoine and Beacon Streets at 10,000. Celebrations were staged, however, in Negro neighborhoods throughout the city.
Old and young danced in the streets, some in couples and others in rings with locked hands. A swing band played until a late hour.
Albert Pakeman, acting Mayor of the Valley, said there had not been much betting because the boys couldnt find any Schmeling money.
WINCHESTER, Ind., June 22 (AP). Excitement over the Louis-Schmeling championship fight proved fatal tonight to Richard Hall, 65, Winchester laborer, who suffered a heart attack at the conclusion of a radio broadcast.
The Independent Subway had special expresses running from Forty-second street right to the Stadium station, ordinarily a local stop. The same system worked in reverse on the return trip.
The bill is designed to suspend all commercial, industrial and governmental activities to permit attendance at a demonstration being organized for the Fourth of July as homage to the United States.
Plans for the demonstration, which will be held under the auspices of the cultural, social, economic and patriotic groups of the island, were launched last week.
The committee has asserted that homage is being paid to the United States solely to cultivate and strengthen the sentiment of friendship and close relations that have always existed between the two peoples.
I understand the German's took heavy casualties during that operation. It was sort of a shock to those in the high command who were used to easier operations like Holland and Denmark.
From reply #11:
Schemling hated Hitler and Hitler returned the favor by putting Schemling in the paratroops hoping he be killed.
Have you heard about this before?
First, the German paratroop units took very heavy casualties in capturing Crete. The invasion did not go as the Germans planned. Crete was to be a combined airborne/amphibious assault, same as Allied assaults in Normandy & Sicily. However, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force destroyed and/or turned back the amphibious element, leaving the lightly armed paratroops to take the island on their own. That they did was a testament to their fighting ability. And no surprise they suffered high casualties.
The casualties were so high Hitler forbade the mass use of paratroops in airborne assaults from that time forward. Of course, it was also very difficult for the Germans to secure local air superiority after mid-1943 to make it feasible.
As to Schmeling, I don’t think so. He was never a member of the Nazi Party. However, to state he “hated” Hitler is a stretch. 90% of Germans hated Hitler...in 1946. And I don’t think Hitler put him in the Fallschirmjaeger to have him killed. Had Hitler wanted that outcome, he would have parachuted him into Stalingrad after the encirclement. No, I think Schmeling was merely a patriot doing what he honorably believed was his duty to his country.
What! Where is the YouTube?
This post and this whole thread have been quite a treat.
I have made some progress on Barbara Tuchman's book Stilwell and the American Experience in China. She explains that the American public got an idealized version of the Chinese from the missionary societies. Supposedly there were hundreds of millions of souls just dying to be converted to Christianity and to set up an American-style democracy. So Americans gave big bucks to the missionaries for relief while the government tried to look out for our far eastern interests without sinking too deeply into the exploitation practiced by the old colonial powers. Tuchman does a much better job of explaining the situation in China in the early twentieth century, so I recommend her book to anyone who wants background on the China of 1938.
I’ll have to go get that book. Sounds like some good insight to be had. I always like to find historical writings that were written by those who were actually experiencing the time. Not to put down those books that were written later and are very well researched, but there is some nuance that these books have that cannot be captured by someone who did not actually experience it.
I'm glad Joe whipped him in '38, but again, the weight of the evidence for how he helped Joe and some other things cited in this link shows that Max Schmeling was a very good human being.
During the war, he was in the Army and spent a lot of time in Europe boxing exhibition matches to entertain the troops. He got money for these matches. He donated every penny of the money to military relief funds. However, the IRS counted it as income to him and fully taxed it, at wartime rates. He wasn't too clear about what was happening and didn't pay the money, and interest and penalties built up. Eventually, the IRS came calling. And they went after that poor man like Javert after Jean Valjean, pretty much up until the end of his life. They never forgave a penny of the original debt, although at the end they stopped charging interest and penalties on it, thanks to Joe's final wife who was a lawyer and who took on the IRS over this.
Joe was pretty much done as a fighter toward the end of his championship reign. He should have lost the title to Walcott in their first fight but got a questionable decision, then was able to knock Walcott out in the rematch although the decline in his skills was still evident. He then retired as champ, Walcott and Charles fought for the vacant title and Charles won.
But Joe had no other way to satisfy the taxman, so he came back and fought Charles to try to regain the title. And Charles beat him up over 15 rounds. Didn't knock him out, but made hash of his face and just really beat him up. Joe should have quit then, but couldn't because of the taxman, so he kept fighting, had some fair to middling performances against some fighters who were actually pretty prominent in the day, then got thrown in against Marciano. And he actually started off well against Marciano, was in control early and busted up Marciano's face. But Marciano was relentless, Joe finally wore down and Marciano knocked him out.
That was the end of the boxing, but Joe turned to rasslin' to try to make enough money to keep the IRS off his a**. However, he got hurt in a match ... somebody whose name escapes me fell on his chest and bruised his heart ... and the doctors wouldn't clear him to rassle anymore.
So for the next 20 years or so, he was a rasslin' referee, appeared on quiz shows, did personal appearances, got money to appear at championship fights, etc., pretty much anything he could get a few dollars into his pocket from, which the IRS pretty much immediately shanghaied. He also had some business deals go bad.
And he also fell in with some unsavory characters and started doing drugs, most notably cocaine, some have speculated heroin since one of those unsavory characters who he called a close friend was a big heroin dealer in Vegas.
Because of the drugs ... and booze, he became pretty much a chain drinker of Remy Martin cognac, and probably everything aggravated by his getting hit in the head too many times... he basically lost his mind and began having paranoid delusions. He thought people were following him around and spraying poison gas on him. There are stories of him on the road covering up all the air vents in his hotel room, covering up the windows with cardboard, down on his hands and knees smearing mayonnaise on cracks above the baseboards, etc., to keep people from spraying the gas on him.
His son, who if I'm not mistaken is an attorney, had him committed to a mental hospital for a while. After that, he worked for a while as a greeter in Las Vegas, some of his friends set him up with that gig to try to help him because the IRS was still on his a**, they were as relentless on him as he was in the ring, and his debt was in seven figures. His mental problems were kept in check by medication, although there were some stories of him going off on the occasional tourist and accusing them of trying to gas him.
Toward the end, he collapsed physically, had an aneurysm and some strokes and ended up in wheelchair.
As I said, it's a very, very sad story. And it's one of the reasons I've always hated the IRS, not just because I believe in lower taxes. I mean, I believe that folks should pay their debts, but Joe Louis IMHO had enough markers for what he did for this country and the way he conducted himself as champion for so many years to where they didn't have to torment the man for 35 years the way they did, when he had no way to pay that debt, and IMHO if he gave the money away, every freaking penny of it, it should not have been fully counted as his income in any event, although I absolutely understand it was wartime and things were on a different scale. However, somebody should have realized after a while that you can't squeeze blood from a turnip and let it go.
Honestly sounds like Schmeling was a real hero.
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