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Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Louis shows "Master Race" who the Master is
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
June 22, 1938
Two years after suffering his first defeat, Joe Louis seeks to exact his revenge on Max Schmeling. But the fight is for more than the heavyweight championship, more than two individuals competing. It is built into a battle of two ideologies.
In one corner is Schmeling, representing Hitler (though Schmeling isn't a Nazi) and everything fascism stands for. In the other corner is the champion Louis, representing the U.S. and everything democracy means. Louis was invited to the White House, where President Franklin Roosevelt felt the champ's biceps and told him. "Joe, we need muscles like yours to beat Germany."
There are reports of messages to Schmeling from Hitler warning him that he had better win for the glory of the Third Reich. Hitler hailed him as a paragon of Teutonic manhood, and telephoned him personally before he left the dressing room.
Schmeling isn't gone from the room long. Before some 70,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, Louis pulverizes the reluctant Aryan figurehead, knocking him to the canvas three times. Just 124 seconds into the fight, Schmeling lays broken on the canvas, counted out, as Louis wins one for himself and for America.
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