Originally Posted by apollack
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 KOd 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 dqd 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.