Joe Louis vs. Johnny Davis

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1944-11-14 : Joe Louis 205 lbs beat Johnny Davis 190 lbs by KO at 0:53 in round 1 of 4

Newspaper Reports

One Punch By Louis Puts Davis Away
United Press, November 15, 1944

Sergeant Joe Louis, world's heavyweight champion, tonight knocked out Johnny Davis, of Brooklyn, in 53 seconds of the first round of a scheduled four-round bout before 6,500 fans at Memorial Auditorium here.

The champion, with a tremendous weight and reach advantage on his opponent, started slowly, using soft light jabs. Davis forced Louis and then Joe threw the only punch of the fight. A hard right caught Davis flush on the chin and he was out before he hit the floor. When Davis was finally revived the champion walked over and patted him on the back. Then he left the ring. [1]


About Sgt. Louis And Other Punchers
By Tommy Holmes, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 16, 1944

A dispatch out of Buffalo sets the pattern for whatever exhibition bouts Sgt. Joe Louis will box in New York State in the course of the heavyweight champion's current tour.

He cuffed one Johnny Davis six times about the face with left jabs. Then, the Dark Destroyer threw his right hand just once. Mr. Davis fell like a crowbar and face flat. Three minutes later he was conscious again.

Mr. Davis was referred to as "of Brooklyn" in the brief stories that described the exhibition but he is still an unknown so far as this corner is concerned. In other words, I don't think I ever heard of him. Nor is there anything in the account of the Buffalo set-to to indicate that we will ever hear of him again.

Apparently, Davis did not make as much as a menacing gesture toward the heavyweight champion in the 53 seconds the Buffalo affair lasted.

You might note that this thing followed a different design from the other exhibitions Louis has boxed around and about the country. In those affairs, Joseph and his adversary, if that's the proper term, wear 16-ounce gymnasium pillows and everything is nice and friendly.

With one exception, those bouts have been exhibitions in every sense. The one exception occurred in Detroit where, we hear, a fifth rater attempted a sneak haymaker at the dusky heavyweight's chin. At the soonest possible moment thereafter, Louis knocked his playmate stiff."

But other exhibitions out of the State have consisted of three or four rounds of good, clean fun. Since they were strictly exhibitions, there wasn't any way in which Joe's status as a champion could be involved.

It's different in New York because General John J. Phelan, august head of our Boxing Commission, has ruled that Louis and his opponent must box with the regulation six-ounce gloves and that a decision must be rendered if both men are on their feet at the conclusion of the bout. [2]


Phelan Ruling Forced Joe Louis to Kayo Johnny Davis
Baltimore Afro-American, December 2, 1944

It was disclosed here this week that Joe Louis was compelled to knock out Johnny Davis when the two met here early this month on a stop-over during the Bomber's 10-city exhibition tour.

The champ, it is reliably reported, had to put Davis to sleep in order to avoid the possibility of being outpointed in a match which his heavyweight title had no protection.

It all came about when Gen. John J. Phelan, chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, waved aside the "exhibition" business when the fight came up to him for his okay. He stated that there are no such things as "exhibitions" in his jurisdiction and, as a consequence, if Louis and Davis were meeting in a match governed by the Marquis of Queensbury rules, then the champ was running the risk of having a decision rendered against him.

This, together with the fact that a heavyweight champion can not claim immunity on the basis of an overweight match—as is the case in the smaller brackets—led Louis to the alternative of putting his man away as quickly as possible or suffering possible serious consequences.

Hence, Davis was rocked into slumber in 53 seconds of the first round. [3]

Joe Louis 1944 Exhibition Tour

Nov. 3 - Johnny Denson - Detroit, Michigan - EX 2
Nov. 6 - Charlie Crump - Baltimore, Maryland - EX 3
Nov. 9 - Dee Amos - Hartford, Connecticut - EX 3
Nov. 13 - Jimmy Bell - Washington, D.C. - EX 3
Nov. 14 - Johnny Davis - Buffalo, New York - EX 1
Nov. 15 - Dee Amos - Elizabeth, New Jersey - EX 3
Nov. 17 - Dee Amos - Camden, New Jersey - EX 3
Nov. 24 - Dan Merritt - Chicago, Illinois - EX 3 [4]