Joe Louis vs. John Henry Lewis

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Challenger rankings
Last Rankings Min. 2 Mth Old
NBA NR 13.09.1938
Next-To-Last Rankings Min. 3 Mth Old
NBA NR 04.07.1938
Louis-Lewis U866443INP.jpg
Louis-Lewis U866442INP.jpg

Joe Louis 200 lbs beat John Henry Lewis 181 lbs by KO at 2:29 in round 1 of 15

  • Date: 1939-01-25
  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
  • Referee: Arthur Donovan


  • This was the second World Heavyweight Championship fight between two black boxers. The first was when Jack Johnson defended the title with a ten-round draw against Battling Jim Johnson on December 19, 1913, in Paris, France.
  • Lewis aimed to become a double champion as he was The Ring and NBA Light Heavyweight Champion at the time of the fight.
  • Louis was an 8-1 betting favorite.
  • A crowd of 17,350 produced a gross gate of $102,015.43.
  • Louis received 40 percent of the gate, and Lewis got 17½ percent.
  • Lewis was floored three times.
  • This was Lewis' final fight and his only knockout loss.
  • Joe and John Henry were good friends. Lewis was almost blind in one eye and his eyesight was deteriorating. Louis gave his friend the title fight so he could have one big payday before the eye problem forced him to retire.

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