Joe Louis vs. Tami Mauriello

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Louis hits Mauriello with a left.
Louis puts Mauriello down for the count.

1946-09-18 : Joe Louis 211¼ lbs beat Tami Mauriello 198½ lbs by KO at 2:09 in round 1 of 15

Louis Finishes Mauriello Off In First Round
By Gayle Talbot, Associated Press, September 19, 1946

They dug up another heavyweight last night, Tami Mauriello, who was not scared of Joe Louis, and Tami wound up like so many of his predecessors have, blubbering in his dressing room after having been knocked out by the great negro fighter in the first round.

The Bronx barkeep was not overawed by the champion. With the very first punch of their title bout in Yankee stadium, Mauriello clipped Joe on the temple and sent him reeling into the ropes as the throng rose and bellowed its excitement.

And then Louis, more surprised than hurt, by his later admission, took after Tami, tore him apart and left him draped helplessly over the middle rope in 2:09 of the opening stanza. It was Joe's 23rd successful defense of his title.

"I thought I had him," Tami cried as he sat later with a towel draped around his dejected head. "I thought I had him, and I grew careless."

At that, and in the tradition of another tavern keeper, Tony Galento, Mauriello did not "die" on his way to fight Louis. He went in there cocky, exploded his best punches on the champion's jaw, and went down only after he had been beaten into helpless exhaustion.

That was much more than a number of other challengers have done. Last night's brief brawl, at a $30 top, gave the crowd of 38,494 that paid $335,063 more action and more thrills than the ballyhooed $100 number between Louis and Billy Conn three months ago.

The echo of the starting bell still was bouncing around through the stadium's triple deck when Mauriello threw the first punch of the fight, a looping right, that caught Louis flush and sent him floundering against the ropes.

Joe said later he never saw the punch coming—didn't even know whether it had been a right or a left. "I want to see the movies of that one," he admitted.

Though it was a stiff wallop, it didn't appear to daze the champ. He was right back, tearing into Mauriello with a flurry of terrific lefts and rights and within seconds nearly ripped Tami's head off with a clean left hook to the bottom.

Tami's 198½ pounds hit the canvas with a bump. He started to rise at five, but thought better of it and settled back for the count of nine. Then he came up punching.

From that point, until the end came about a minute later, it was a fine brawl. Almost second by second as Louis poured the leather to him, Tami's features became more puffed and bloody, but he never ceased to fight back.

Once, over in a neutral corner, he slammed home another right to the button that caused Louis to bend like a reed and momentarily stemmed the fury of the champion's attack. But only momentarily.

Heavy at 211½ pounds and obviously packing cruel power in his blows, Louis stayed on top of Mauriello and snapped them home. A few of them missed in Joe's anxiety to get it over with, but most of them landed.

Finally another left hook slammed the game Tami to the floor in the exact spot he had landed the first time. With a mighty effort he pulled himself to the middle strand, and with his face cradled in his glove and his legs powerless to lift him higher, he listened to referee Arthur Donovan count the final ten. [1]