Joe Louis KO 8 James J. Braddock, Chicago

Boxing History: June 22, 1937 Joe Louis KO 8 James J. Braddock, Chicago. Wins World Heavyweight Title. Joseph Louis Barrow was born in Alabama in 1914. In 1926 the family moved to Detroit and the boy began boxing as an amateur. He dropped the surname Barrow, apparently to prevent his mother finding out, though when she did she encouraged him.Her son, now Joe Louis (pronounced Lewis), turned professional in 1934. He had attracted the attention of a black Detroit bookmaker called John Roxborough and a black boxing promoter, Julian Black. They fashioned a good public relations image for him as a modest, clean-living young man, in deliberate contrast with the earlier black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. Among their rules were never to fix a fight and never to be photographed alone with a white woman. The fact that their protégé was a thoroughly decent young man was a help and the fact that he had a devastating punch was another.

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Professional boxing, or prizefighting, emerged in the early twentieth century as boxing gradually attained legitimacy and became a regulated, sanctioned sport. Professional boxing bouts are fought for a purse which is divided between the boxers as determined by contract. Most professional boxing bouts are supervised by a regulatory authority to guarantee the fighters’ safety. Most high-profile bouts obtain the endorsement of a sanctioning body, which awards championship belts, establishes rules, and assigns its own judges and referee. Professional boxing bouts are typically much longer than amateur bouts, and can last up to twelve rounds, though less significant fights can be as short as four rounds. Protective headgear is not permitted, and boxers are generally allowed to take substantial punishment before a fight is halted. Pro boxing has enjoyed a much higher profile than amateur boxing throughout the twentieth century and beyond.

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