1946-09-18 Joe Louis w co 1 (15) Tami Mauriello, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD
1946-09-18 Joe Louis w co 1 (15) Tami Mauriello, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Arthur Donovan. Making his 23rd defence, Louis (211) continued as world champion after knocking out Mauriello (198½) inside 129 seconds of what was an exciting fight while it lasted. Having almost dropped Louis with a cracking left hook that sent the champion clear across the ring, Mauriello continued to fire in punches. However, it was Louis who had the accuracy and a left-right to Mauriello’s jaw, followed by a heavy right to the same spot sent the latter to his knees for ‘nine’. Even after Mauriello had regained his feet he was hurting Louis, but following a bout of solid blows he found himself caught up in the corner with nowhere to go before two terrific rights, one that further damaged his left eye and the other to the jaw, sent him down to be counted out.
Strongly thought to be considering retirement due to a lack of challengers, Louis dispelled the rumours by stating that he would defend his title again before the end of 1946. Unfortunately, prospective championship opposition kept getting beaten. First it was Curtis Sheppard, who was outpointed over ten rounds by Jimmy Bivins at The Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 17 February 1947 and in a return, on 21 April 1947, he was again outscored over ten rounds, this time at The Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland. Then, on 15 April 1947, Bruce Woodcock was stopped by Joe Baksi inside seven rounds at The Arena, Harringay, London, England, which was followed by Baksi losing to a little-known Swede, Olle Tandberg (l pts 10 on 6 July 1947 at the Rasunda Football Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden).
Earlier, Melio Bettina, the former light heavyweight titleholder, was knocked out in the first round by the current light heavyweight champion, Gus Lesnevich at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC on 23 May 1947 and another prospect for honours, Ezzard Charles, lost on points over ten rounds to Elmer Ray at the same venue on 25 July 1947.
The one man who remained in contention was Jersey Joe Walcott, who, in 1947, reversed former defeats when gaining ten-round points verdicts over Joey Maxim (on 6 January at the Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Ray (on 4 March at The Orangebowl, Miami, Florida) and Maxim again (on 23 June at Gilmore Field, Los Angeles, California) to become number one in the ratings. In the previous 18 months Walcott had also beaten Bivins, Lee Oma and Tommy Gomez. Following an offer by Frank Sinatra, the famous singer, to promote a non-title bout between the pair, Louis v Walcott was eventually made for December 1947.