History | Dec 05 2019

On This Day: Joe Louis clings to world heavyweight title after contentious decision victory over Jersey Joe Walcott

Joe Louis survives two knockdowns to salvage victory over unlucky Jersey Joe Walcott, writes Matt Christie
Joe Louis vs Jersey Joe Walcott

1. WHEN Jersey Joe Walcott was first mentioned as an opponent for world heavyweight champion Joe Louis a 10-round distance was scheduled, and only a knockout win for the underdog would have brought the title into play.

2. THAT plan was righty scrapped and the bout, in New York’s Madison Square Garden on December 5 1947, was scheduled for the championship distance of 15 rounds.

3. WALCOTT had earned the shot by defeating Joey Maxim and Elmer Ray in missions that revenged earlier losses. Despite his good form, Walcott was quoted by the New York Times as a 10-1 underdog, and even the champion – making his 24th defence – called Jersey Joe a “second rater”.


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