Joseph Louis Barrow was best known as Joe Louis….and nicknamed the “Brown Bomber”, was an American professional boxer….who competed professionally from 1934 to 1951….and he reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949….while being considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time….as Louis’ championship reign lasted 140 consecutive months….during which he participated in 26 championship fights….so, he definitely fought any and all heavyweight boxer alive during his tenure as the Champ….but in our ImaSportsphile opinion….there just were not very many great heavyweights during his reign of power….as Max Schmelling, James Braddock, Max Baer, Arturo Godoy or Primo Carnera were really considered that great…..while Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles and Billy Conn were really light heavyweights that won heavyweight crowns…..kinda like Michael Spinks….but non of these guys could have even stayed in the ring with Spinks to reach a decision.
The 27th fight, against Ezzard Charles in 1950 was a challenge for Charles’ heavyweight title….so it is not included in Louis’ reign of 26 title defenses….a world heavyweight record and 2nd only to Julio César Chávez with 27. The International Boxing Research Organization ranked Joe Louis as the best heavweight of all time in 2005…..but we a ImaSportsphile are of a different opinion….as we believe The Greatest, Muhammad Ali holds that postition….based on the quality of boxers that Ali fought verses the quality that Louis fought….for in our opinion….other than Marciano….not one of his challengers would measure-up very well against Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, George Foreman or Larry Holmes….but don’t get us wrong….Louis and Marciano are in rarefied air in our opinion.
Louis’ cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. He is widely regarded as the first African American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States….and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II. He was instrumental in integrating the game of golf by breaking the sport’s color barrier in America by appearing under a sponsor’s exemption in a PGA event in 1952.