Joe Louis vs. Max Baer

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Louis with Baer against the ropes.
Louis puts Baer down for the count in round four.

1935-09-24 : Joe Louis 198 lbs beat Max Baer 210 lbs by KO at 3:09 in round 4 of 15


  • Paid attendance at Yankee Stadium was 84,831, and about 11,000 passes were issued.
  • Total receipts were $932,944.
  • Louis' purse was $217,337, and Baer's was $181,114.
  • Louis married Marva Trotter several hours before the fight.
  • Jack Dempsey worked as a second in Baer's corner.
  • Three months prior to fighting Louis, Baer lost the World Heavyweight Championship to James J. Braddock by a 15-round decision. It was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
  • Baer entered the fight against Louis with a broken right hand and a bone chip in his left wrist. His manager, Ancil Hoffman, pleaded with him to postpone the fight and get a specialist to examine his injuries. Baer was examined by Dr. William Healy, an orthopedic surgeon, at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Maryland. Dr. Healy told Baer that his left wrist would heal over time, but his right hand should be operated on before he fought again. Baer decided to go ahead and fight Louis instead of having the operation. Just weeks before he was to meet Louis, Baer wrote his wife, "I hope to God my hand heals before the fight." Dr. Max Stern gave Baer several shots of Novocain in his right hand in his dressing room before the fight. However, the fight was delayed for 45 minutes due to rain, and the Novocain started to wear off by the time Baer entered the ring.
  • Louis entered the ring as a 2-1 betting favorite.
  • Two rights to the head floored Baer late in round three. It was the first knockdown of Baer's career. Baer rose at the referee's count of nine but was soon put down again by three consecutive left hooks to the jaw. The bell rang at the count of four, saving Baer from a knockout. Louis dropped Baer for the third and final time late in the fourth with an overhand right and a left hook. Baer collapsed to both knees and was counted out by the referee.
  • There were two timekeeping errors. The first was when the rest period between rounds three and four lasted 74 seconds instead of the 60 stipulated by the rules. The second error was when round four ran longer than the regulation three minutes. The time of the knockout was 3:09 of the fourth round. Baer should have been saved by the bell, as he had been at the end of round three. When told of the errors, Baer's response was, "What's the difference? I was beaten and beaten in grand fashion."
  • According to his autobiography, Joe Louis: My Life, Louis believed the best performance of his career was against Max Baer.


  • Max Baer: "I could have struggled up once more, but when I get executed, people are going to have to pay more than twenty-five dollars a seat to watch it."
  • Joe Louis: "I wanted this to be a quick fight."
  • Max Baer: "I define fear as standing across the ring from Joe Louis and knowing he wants to go home early."


  • [1] "New York Gets Louis-Baer Boutt Sept. 24" The Evening Independent, August 22, 1935
  • [2] "Baer's Sentimental Favorite To Whip Louis" The Pittsburgh Press, September 24, 1935
  • [3] "Baer Is Trounced by Joe Louis; Kayoed in Fourth" The Gettysburg Times, September 25, 1935
  • [4] "Joe Louis Makes Quick Work of Max Baer" The Milwaukee Journal, September 25, 1935
  • [5] "False Timing Gave Louis Kayo In 4th" The Pittsburgh Press, September 27, 1935
  • [6] "Baer vs. Louis: Fate Takes a Hand", February 14, 2012