Thursday, November 24, 2011

"What is he really like, this Joe Louis?" - Margery Miller Welles

A founding author of Sports Illustrated, my grandma has been 
nominated to join the International Boxing Hall of Fame. 

Margery Miller Welles -my grandma- witnessed one of the 
most important sporting events in American history in 1938 at age 15 when 
her father took her to Yankee Stadium to watch Joe Louis fight Max Schmeling. 
For her Wellesley College thesis she wrote a bio of Joe titled, 
"Joe Louis: American" which was published before she graduated in 1945 and 
reviewed by Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer and Eleanor Roosevelt. 

My grandma's 1945 Wellesley Senior Thesis - "Joe Louis: American"
which was reviewed by Eleanor Roosevelt and Nat Fleischer 

Here is an excerpt from Joe Louis: American

         People have been prompted to ask, What is he really like, this Joe Louis who is a Brown Bomber in the ring and who ranges himself on God's side outside of it? Joe Louis is not a paradox. Inside the ring he is intelligent, sincere, honest, and a gentleman. He is exactly the same outside of the ring.
         It would be ridiculous to paint as a paragon of virtue. He has had this share of faults. He is easy-going to a degree which has, in the past, brought embarrassment and trouble to himself and a great deal of anguish to his relatives and friends. His over-fondness for sleep and food has provided many a laugh for sports reporters covering his training camps. His manners are not quite polished. Yet the qualities which have made him stand out both as a fighter and a man are mostly desirable ones.
         Louis' ring brains are evident even to the uninitiated few. Joe does not charge out at the opening gong and try to smother his opponent with a fusillade of blows. His movements in the first minutes of the fight are usually cautious. He takes time to figure out his opponent, to find his weaknesses, and to plan his battle in a way that will take advantage of them. After knocking out Billy Conn in the thirteenth round, he explained to reporters that he had been waiting all evening for Billy to lose his head and leave himself open. "I figured once he got mad, he'd forget himself. So I just waited for that opening."
         Joe's maneuvering of Max Baer also showed the method behind Louis' punching. Toward the end of the second round, Louis began working his way back to his own corner and the unwary Baer followed him, sparring. When the bell rang, Louis had only to sit down. Max, a much more experienced athlete, had to walk across the ring to his stool. Joe has learned to make every moment count in the ring. He realizes energy is precious. When he expends it, he does so for a purpose. His every action is planned to speed up the defeat of his opponent. As a boxing fan once remarked, "Joe always acts like he's fixing to catch the early train back home to Chicago."

Memo I got from the IBHOF saying that my grandma had been nominated
and that my letter would be passed along to the selection committee. 

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