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Old 04-26-2009, 04:10 AM   #1
Cachibatches
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Default Did Louis Draw The Color Line Like Johnson

It is well accepted that Jack Johnson drew the color line agaisnt Langford and the rest of murder's row, but it seems that Loius gets a pass for not fighing many worthy black fighters.

I know that Louis fought John Henry Lewis, and eventually, Jersey Joe Walcott. But why did he not fight other guys mentuioned on the "NO Joe Loius" thread like Lem Franklin, Turkey Thompson, Harry Bobo, Elmer Ray, and Lee Q Quarry?

How would these fighters fair agaisnt Loius. How would/did they fair against Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles. Though they were essentially from a different era, for reference, how would they have done agaisnt Marciano?

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Old 04-26-2009, 07:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Originally Posted by Cachibatches View Post
It is well accepted that Jack Johnson drew the color line against Langford and the rest of murder's row, but it seems that Loius gets a pass for not figging many worthy black fighters.

I know that Louis fought John Henry Lewis, and eventually, Jersey Joe Walcott. But why did he not fight other guys mentioned on the "NO Joe Loius" thread like Lem Franklin, Turkey Thompson, Harry Bobo, Elmer Ray, and Lee Q Quarry?

How would these fighters fair against Loius. How would/did they fair against Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles. Though they were essentially from a different era, for reference, how would they have done agaisnt Marciano?
Using the the color line really meant three things if you ask me.

1 ) Starting with the obvious, the fighter was black.

2 ) He wasn't a big draw.

3 ) He had very good ability.

Louis fought two black men in his record 20+ title defense. The first was John Henry Lewis. John Henry was a friend of Joe Louis, and was ill. The fight was given to him because he needed the money. John Henry Louis was past his best when he fight happend.

The other fighter was Walcott, who at that time was something of a fringe contender ( non top ten ranked by ring magazine ) in the early 1940's...at least I think. I am too lazy to look it up right now.

Elmer Ray was close to getting a title shot, then Louis people saw him KO someone at Madison Square Garden in NY, and steered clear of the match.

In the context of using the color line, Louis like a few other champions is guilty. However, I do not think he avoided clear #1, #2, or #3 contenders as Jack Johnson did. Jack Johnson had big time offers to fight Joe Jeanette, Sam Langford and Sam McVey as champion but balked.

As a footnote I do believe if a champion is offered enough money, he'll fight anyone. But each champion has their own price.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

It is not so much that he drew the colour line more that the bar was set higher for a black fighter to get a title shot than a white fighter.

It is necesary to distinguish between the position of Louis himself and that of his managment. Louis wanted to conduct more defences against black challengers but his managment didnt. He wanted to fight Leroy Haynes for example. Louis eventualy took the fight with John Henry Lewis against the wishes of his managers and when the fight was a relativley low draw it set his plans back a bit.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

Well, during his first championship years, i.e. 37-42, there were not THAT many black contenders that stood out if i remember correct. Most started getting high profile during the war, and when Louis came back from his duty, he fought the #1 contender who was black, so i don't really think there's a strong case of him avoiding those challengers. He may have missed a few, but you can't fight everyone.
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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The other fighter was Walcott, who at that time was something of a fringe contender ( non top ten ranked by ring magazine ) in the early 1940's...at least I think. I am too lazy to look it up right now.

Jersey Joe Walcott was the NUMBER ONE contender by RING MAGAZINE when he took on louis in 47, Walcott defeated EIGHT different Ring Magazine top 10 in the past 3 years to earn the ranking
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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But why did he not fight other guys mentuioned on the "NO Joe Loius" thread like Lem Franklin, Turkey Thompson, Harry Bobo, Elmer Ray, and Lee Q Quarry?
Lem Franklin, there is no exuse. He was on a 19-0 with 17 kayo winning streak in 1941 and just knocked out big abe simon, when Louis management chose to give simon a REMATCH rather than fight the # 2 rated Franklin. No exuse here. Franklin should have got the shot in 41.

Harry Bobo is another who could have got a title shot in 1940-1941, He was a horrible draw though and a big risk. Big Risk + little reward did not appeal to Louis camp. You have to realize that the gate lost money in Louis vs Lewis black heavyweight title fight, they didnt want a repeat with that

Turkey Thompson's best years were during war years when Louis was gone and thompson defintley deserved title shot those years, but he was in and out of the ratings and despite his dangerous punching power, there were better black heavyweights out there when Louis returned from war in 46. Thompson had a chance for a title shot in 1940 but lost a shutout decision to Bob Pastor who got it instead.

Lee Q Murray and Jimmy Bivins got screwed out because there best years were during the war 1943-45 when Louis was overseas....when Louis came back in 46, Ray and Walcott had taken there place as top challengers. So they got screwed cause of the war, and had Louis been around I expect he would have given them a title shot during that 3 year span 1943-45. Louis did beat Bivins by wide decision in 1951.

Elmer Ray was # 1 and # 2 heavyweight contender in 1946-47. Louis camp should have found the time to give him a shot. In fairness, Louis did fight the better challenger walcott, but still Ray deserved it by going an incredible 72-2 with 66 kayos from 1940-1947!
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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How would these fighters fair agaisnt Loius. How would/did they fair against Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles. Though they were essentially from a different era, for reference, how would they have done agaisnt Marciano?
Some may have given Louis quite a bit of trouble. Lee Q Murray was 6'3 210lb Boxer Puncher he had the full package, he would have been a handful for Joe...but Murray was at times too aggresive and had trouble with counterpunchers, I think Louis would trap murray midway through the fight and finish him off. but not after visiting the canvas once or twice.

Lem Franklin would get knocked out and knocked out early, because he would not outslug Louis...but franklin had more firepower than any of Louis challengers since Max Baer, and had the goods to dump louis on his back multiple times...Franklins defense was wide open and even if he tags louis, louis will tag franklin more often and that will be it. Franklin though would have been louis most dangerous title challenge ever in 1941 with franklin off that huge winning streak.

Jimmy Bivins? match already happened in 1951, 37 year old Louis jabbed bivins to death, won easy decision and hurt him a couple times.

Louis vs Elmer Ray- Louis actually knocked Ray out in a exhibition in 1948. I went over this matchup many times, Ray had the punching skills to knock Louis out, the long arms to land big punches at long range, and inside fighting skills to swarm all over him, but ultimatley he did not have the durability to handle Louis punches and that would be his downfall. Ray is the best out of all these opponents though, while Murray was 2nd best.

Thompson with his left hook and short crouch, he could give louis problems the way galento did...but thompson was not skilled, Louis will get up off the floor and rain down on turkeys parade..Jabbing combinations setting traps turkey didnt have the skills to handle any of this.

Harry Bobo would be a good fight, but he was a bit made for Louis. A 6'4 standup slugger, if he lands he is going to hurt louis, but this kind of style Louis creamed during his career...louis will pick Bobo apart and bobo despite strength and punching power, he lacked jab to keep louis off him. louis would do damage on bobo with his short hooks.



Now despite me picking louis over all of them, if he fought them all in a row I expect at least one of these punchers to crack louis chin for a upset early kayo before louis wins rematch. Louis missed out on fighting some real dangerous punchers.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Originally Posted by Cachibatches View Post
I know that Louis fought John Henry Lewis, and eventually, Jersey Joe Walcott. But why did he not fight other guys mentuioned on the "NO Joe Loius" thread like Lem Franklin, Turkey Thompson, Harry Bobo, Elmer Ray, and Lee Q Quarry?
In most cases, it was because Louis was absent during the war.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Well, during his first championship years, i.e. 37-42, there were not THAT many black contenders that stood out if i remember correct
Yes ur right Chris, Except for Lem Franklins 19-0 with 17 kayo run to # 2 spot in 1941 including knockout wins over SIX ring magazine contenders that period...YET abe simon got the rematch instead(franklin had just knocked him out in 5)

Harry Bobo was rated highly by Ring Magazine 1940-42, 6'4 powerful strong I believe he knocked out durable Lee Savold who would be knocked out just once in the next 10 years.


A guy I would have loved to see Louis fight was Jack Trammell who was rated # 4 in 1937. look him up. He was 6'6 talented boxer with phenominal left jab and defenive style...louis may have had trouble with him


Also Tiger Jack Fox in 1930s is a great match, beat walcott 2x. though walcott was pre prime, walcott said long after retirement fox was the best fighter he ever fought. Said there wasnt one thing fox couldnt do, that he leanred more in his 2 fights with fox, than in all his other fights combined.
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Originally Posted by SuzieQ49 View Post
Yes ur right Chris, Except for Lem Franklins 19-0 with 17 kayo run to # 2 spot in 1941 including knockout wins over SIX ring magazine contenders that period...YET abe simon got the rematch instead(franklin had just knocked him out in 5)

Harry Bobo was rated highly by Ring Magazine 1940-42, 6'4 powerful strong I believe he knocked out durable Lee Savold who would be knocked out just once in the next 10 years.


A guy I would have loved to see Louis fight was Jack Trammell who was rated # 4 in 1937. look him up. He was 6'6 talented boxer with phenominal left jab and defenive style...louis may have had trouble with him


Also Tiger Jack Fox in 1930s is a great match, beat walcott 2x. though walcott was pre prime, walcott said long after retirement fox was the best fighter he ever fought. Said there wasnt one thing fox couldnt do, that he leanred more in his 2 fights with fox, than in all his other fights combined.
I thought Jack Trammel was white?
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Originally Posted by SuzieQ49 View Post
Jersey Joe Walcott was the NUMBER ONE contender by RING MAGAZINE when he took on louis in 47, Walcott defeated EIGHT different Ring Magazine top 10 in the past 3 years to earn the ranking
That is just ridiculous.

Certainly an untold story there.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

Janitor...its very funny how one guy writes in a book "Walcott was a unranked journeyman who got lucky to recieve a title shot" and then that rumor gets passed around again and again and before you know it...it spreads like the bubonic Plague.

Walcott literally took apart the top rated men no one else wanted to fight, Charlie Burley gets credit for that, but walcott doesnt?
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:45 AM   #13
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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I thought Jack Trammel was white?
Nope, not that I know of. He has always been lifted under category "African American" boxers and a historian who made a list of "Talented African American" boxers of the 1930s listed Trammell.

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]



Ultimatley, Louis would have knocked him out. but he would have been the first 6'6 man louis faced that fought primarily as a boxer boxing on his back foot, rather than a standup slugger(b baer) or human punching bag (abe simon)....Louis did look unbelievable vs Carnera who used his jab alot and louis slipped it all night.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Originally Posted by SuzieQ49 View Post
Janitor...its very funny how one guy writes in a book "Walcott was a unranked journeyman who got lucky to recieve a title shot" and then that rumor gets passed around again and again and before you know it...it spreads like the bubonic Plague.

Walcott literally took apart the top rated men no one else wanted to fight, Charlie Burley gets credit for that, but walcott doesnt?
Wow man. Great and detailed information. Much more than I expected. Many thanks.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Did Louis Draw The Color Line Line Johnson

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Originally Posted by SuzieQ49 View Post

Lem Franklin, there is no exuse. He was on a 19-0 with 17 kayo winning streak in 1941 and just knocked out big abe simon, when Louis management chose to give simon a REMATCH rather than fight the # 2 rated Franklin. No exuse here. Franklin should have got the shot in 41.

Harry Bobo is another who could have got a title shot in 1940-1941, He was a horrible draw though and a big risk. Big Risk + little reward did not appeal to Louis camp. You have to realize that the gate lost money in Louis vs Lewis black heavyweight title fight, they didnt want a repeat with that

Turkey Thompson's best years were during war years when Louis was gone and thompson defintley deserved title shot those years, but he was in and out of the ratings and despite his dangerous punching power, there were better black heavyweights out there when Louis returned from war in 46. Thompson had a chance for a title shot in 1940 but lost a shutout decision to Bob Pastor who got it instead.

Lee Q Murray and Jimmy Bivins got screwed out because there best years were during the war 1943-45 when Louis was overseas....when Louis came back in 46, Ray and Walcott had taken there place as top challengers. So they got screwed cause of the war, and had Louis been around I expect he would have given them a title shot during that 3 year span 1943-45. Louis did beat Bivins by wide decision in 1951.

Elmer Ray was # 1 and # 2 heavyweight contender in 1946-47. Louis camp should have found the time to give him a shot. In fairness, Louis did fight the better challenger walcott, but still Ray deserved it by going an incredible 72-2 with 66 kayos from 1940-1947!

Good info, but Bivins and Murray did not get screwed when Louis was over seas in the army. They benefited from Louis being away. Bivins got his chance vs an older Louis and lost easy.

It seems like Franklin and Ray got shafted here.
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