History

On This Day: Tommy Farr convinces many observers that he deserves the decision in Joe Louis’ first defence

Joe Louis
Joe Louis forced into the trenches to outpoint Tommy Farr in stirring encounter

JOE LOUIS w pts 15 TOMMY FARR
August 30, 1937; Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
TOMMY FARR was the first of 25 successful defences (a record that still stands today) for world heavyweight champion Joe Louis and few were tougher than this for the great “Brown Bomber”. With Max Schmeling waiting for his shot, Louis opted for a tuneup first but could not possibly have expected the gruelling struggle that was to come against the 5/1 underdog. Farr barely took a backward step all night, wowing the 36,903 who attended the Yankee Stadium to watch. But Louis showed his considerable class, particularly in the later rounds, to win a unanimous decision after 15 memorable rounds.

DID YOU KNOW? Legendary Ring Magazine editor Nat Fleischer had the fight all square after 11 rounds. Fleischer also observed that many who watched in the venue and movie theatres were “strongly of the opinion that Farr had won.

WATCH OUT FOR: How quickly Farr’s hair goes from slicked back to standing to attention in the opening round after the first clinch of the fight.

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