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Thursday, February 1, 2007
Smithsonian gets gloves from Louis-Schmeling fight

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Joe Louis' boxing gloves, worn in his first historic fight with German Max Schmeling in 1936, were donated Wednesday to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History by a family that has owned the gloves for 70 years.

Ken Milburn, of Windsor, Ontario, donated the gloves and accompanying photographs to the museum. He had received the items from his aunt and uncle, who was a business partner of Louis' lifelong manager, John Roxborough.

The gloves join items already in the Smithsonian's collection related to the June 1938 rematch between Louis and Schmeling, including the towel thrown in to end the fight after only two minutes. Louis was declared the decisive victor in that comeback fight, two years after the Detroit-born black boxer was knocked out by Schmeling, the Nazis' star athlete, in the 12th round of the 1936 fight.

"Despite the museum being closed for renovation, the active collection of artifacts is ongoing," said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. "These gloves represent a very special chapter in American sports and social history."