Joe Louis vs. Abe Simon (1st meeting)
- Date: 1941-03-21
- Location: Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, USA
- Referee: Sam Hennessey 9-2
- Judge: Dad Butler 3-1
- Judge: Frank Neville 7-4
- World Heavyweight Championship (15th defense by Louis)
- The New York Times report: parts 1 & 2
- See also: Joe Louis vs. Abe Simon (2nd meeting)
- Announced on December 7, 1940, after Simon's victory over Roscoe Toles. Simon had two more fights after the announcement, defeating Al Delaney (59-18-6) and losing to Jim Thompson (15-11-2).
Joe Louis Stops Abe Simon in Thirteenth Round
Associated Press, March 22, 1941
The impossible didn't quite happen tonight but it came close enough to throw a substantial scare into Joe Louis and his fistic family before the Bomber was able to do his work.
With just a whale-sized heart and a dazzling left hand, the New York giant, Abe Simon—the big target who wasn't supposed to have one chance in a million of lasting more than three rounds—gave Louis a "helluva" fight of it for 12 full heats before running afoul of the Brown Bomber's big guns in the thirteenth.
With the greatest indoor crowd in Detroit's fistic history jamming the Olympia and gasping in amazement at Simon's sensational showing, Abe gave just about as good as he received until the thirteenth. Then, floored twice by heavy-duty right hand shells, he got up and staggered helplessly into the ropes near his own corner. There, Referee Sam Hennessey rushed in and halted the bout with Louis a tired technical knockout winner at 1 minute, 20 seconds of the thirteenth.
A total of 18,908 fans bulged this big arena at the seams and hung from the rafters to see the hometown champion, and Promoter Mike Jacobs said some 3,000 who couldn't even crowd into the packed standing room sections, were turned away. The gross gate was $56,605.10.
But, although he locked his world heavyweight championship in the safe successfully for the fifteenth time, the great Louis was slightly less than a ball of fire. After it was over, the "experts" agreed he was mighty lucky not to have had to face the speed and left hand of a Billy Conn tonight.
He finished up with a "mouse" under his left eye and the optic half closed and he left the definite impression behind that he is no longer at his peak, although at 202 pounds tonight his handlers insisted he was "in the pink."
Altogether, Louis floored Abe four times during the 13 rounds this scheduled 20-rounder lasted. In the first round—in fact the first punch he threw—Joe whistled a right off Abe's "wiskers" that dropped him near a neutral corner. He was up without a count, however. In the third, another of the same sat Abe down in another corner, and be stayed grinning on the seat of his pants until the referee reached nine.
Then, although Abe was hurt three times afterward, he didn't go down until the thirteenth. For several rounds before that Joe had been stalking the mountainous Manhattanite, obviously holding his fire until he had an open shot.
He got it in the thirteenth. A smashing right dropped Abe near his own corner for nine. He got up as Joe rushed in sensing the kill. Three more rights dropped Abe in almost the identical spot, and again he took nine before climbing to his feet. Joe raced across the ring once more, but this time "our Abe," as Manager Jimmy Johnston calls his gladiator, was helpless and through. He staggered blindly into the ropes and it was all over.