Eighty years ago, the legendary Alabama born “Brown Bomber” Joseph Louis Barrow, better known as Joe Louis achieved his 50th victory as a professional, but only after a mighty scare!
Joe, 27, had a record of 49 wins, 41 knockouts and only one loss. The wily, highly mobile and able opponent he fought that night was Billy Conn, a young man who at only 23 years entered the ring with a record of 59 wins, 13 knockouts, 9 losses and one draw.
The Polo Grounds in New York with 60,071 spectators, witnessed a great fight with Billy boxing rings around the slower, but harder hitting Joe. Going into the thirteenth round, Billy was comfortably ahead on points. His corner implored him to box prudently, coast and take no undue risks. But happy go lucky Billy, was determined to go for a KO and he threw caution to the wind, ignoring the danger of Joe`s already legendary power. He walked into a thudding combination and went down for the count. Joe had pulled victory out of the fire, via his firepower!
Afterwards a rueful Billy remonstrated with Joe saying: “You could have loaned me the title for a few months.” To which Joe aptly and succinctly replied: “Billy you had the title for thirteen rounds… and you didn`t know what to do with it!”
Five years later after World War Two, both would swop punches, with the same result again. The fight would have been earlier, having to be postponed for some weeks, because Billy broke his right hand in an argument with his Father In Law!