Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson
The truth is that no black challenger particularly stood out as a whole lot better than any white challengers, who would make Louis more money. There was no great demand or one guy who really made a name for himself. Most of the black challengers back then lost to guys Louis beat, or didn't beat as impressively as Louis, or had spotty/sketchy/inconsistent results. There was no one guy that folks got behind and said Louis was ducking if he didn't fight them.
Looking at his record, Elmer Ray indeed had a good career during the war years, but in truth, he beat NO ONE during those years. A bunch of no names. He did have a 1st round knockout loss on his record. In 1946, he stopped Lee Savold in 2 rounds, the first real name on his record. He beat Jersey Joe by decision in ‘46, then lost to him in the rematch by decision in ’47. He beat Ezzard Charles via decision in ’47, but then got stopped by Charles in 9 rounds in ’48.
Lem Franklin got stopped by Eddie Simms in 8 rounds in ’38, a guy who Louis stopped in 1 round. He decisioned Simon, but lost a decision to Musto, whom Louis stopped in 9 rounds. He then went on a real nice win streak, but in ’42 got stopped by Pastor, whom Louis beat by decision and by knockout.
Turkey Thompson lost to Bob Pastor twice in ’41 (whom Louis beat twice). He drew with Tony Musto, whom Louis knocked out.. He drew with Abe Simon, whom Louis KO’d twice.
Harry Bobo was inconsistent. He twice lost to Melio Bettina, who Conn beat for the light heavy title. He had losses to Gus Dorazio, whom Louis stopped in 2 rounds.
Lee Q Murray lost twice to Bivins, in ’43 and ’44. As noted, a shot Louis defeated Bivins. In ’45, Murray was dq’d against Walcott for not trying.
Louis was out with the war from ’42 to ’46. After the ’48 rematch stoppage win over Walcott, Louis was basically done, and only came back for tax reasons.