Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn (1st meeting)

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Challenger rankings
Last Rankings
NBA 2 24.03.1941
Next-To-Last Rankings
NBA NR 24.12.1940
Louis-Conn I.jpg
Louis-Conn I 54125k lg.jpeg

Billy Conn 174 lbs lost to Joe Louis 200 lbs by KO at 2:58 in round 13 of 15

  • World Heavyweight Championship (18th defense by Louis)
  • Photo 1, Photo 2


  • Bout announced on May 2.[1]
  • Louis' weight was announced as 199½ and Conn's as 174. However, it has been reported that Louis actually weighed 204 and Conn was 169.
  • Louis was an 11 to 5 favorite.
  • There was a crowd of 54,487 at the Polo Grounds, which produced a gross gate of $452,743. The net gate receipts were $386,012. Louis got 40% of the net and Conn got 17½.
  • After twelve rounds, Conn was ahead on two of the three scorecards and even on the third. He needed to win just one of the three remaining rounds to get the decision. However, after staggering Louis in the twelfth, Conn believed he could stop him and went for a knockout in the thirteenth. Louis, who was told by his trainer, Jack Blackburn, that he had to stop Conn to win, also went for a knockout. Louis hurt Conn with a right about a minute into the round. Louis, one of the greatest finishers of all-time, didn't let Conn off the hook. A volley of lefts and rights put Conn down for the count at 2:58 of the thirteenth round.
  • The Ring Magazine ranked Louis vs. Conn I as the sixth greatest title fight of all-time.
  • On May 10, 1942, Conn broke his left hand in a fight with his father-in-law, former Major League baseball player "Greenfield" Jimmy Smith. Conn's broken hand caused the cancellation of his planned June 25 rematch with Louis. The fight was rescheduled for October 12, but Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson cancelled the bout on September 25. He said it conflicted with "the standards and interests of the Army," and he ordered Louis and Conn, both whom had joined the U.S. Army earlier in the year, to return "at once to their military duties."

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