Saturday, June 19, 2021

Louis Wins by Knockout in Eighth Round -- June 19, 2021

Wilmington Morning Standard, 20-June-1946

75 years ago today, on 19-June-1946, heavyweight champ Joe Louis met Billy Conn for the second time. On 18-June-1941, Conn, former light heavyweight champ, did well against Joe Louis until he tried to knock him out in the thirteenth round. Louis knocked him out in the thirteenth round. Both men served in the military, so the rematch was delayed until 1946. Before the second fight, people asked Joe if he thought Conn might win on points because of his better foot and hand speed. Louis said "He can run, but he can't hide." 

On June 17, 2021 President Joe Biden signed a law making Juneteenth a national holiday. 

70,000 Fill Yankee Stadium
To See Champ Retain Title
Battered Billy Conn 
Announces He Will Quit
Ring "For Good"
United Press Sports Writer

NEW YORK, June 19. -- (U.P.) -- Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis, unfettered by age or absence from competition, retained his title Wednesday night before a crowd estimated at 70,000 fans by knocking out Billy Conn of Pittsburgh for the second time in five years. He felled Conn for the full count with a left hook to the head in the eighth round.

Conn, who had been kayoed in the 13th round of their first meeting, provided little opposition tonight before Referee Eddie Joseph tolled the count over him at 2:19 of the eighth before a crowd that had paid an estimated gate of $2,000,000 for a disappointing performance.

Two Knock Downs

There were only two knockdowns in the bout, although the great Negro champion from Detroit pursued his smaller opponent relentlessly from the fourth round until the finish. The bout had been scheduled for 15 rounds, but Referee Joseph terminated this contest just the same as he had their first one on June 18, 1941, when Billy was belted out in the 13th.

Conn Down in Sixth

Louis first dropped Billy with a grazing left hook to the chin in the sixth round. Conn wasn’t badly hurt, went to one knee and was up without a count. He had slipped in the fourth round, in a wet spot, and Louis benignly refrained from hitting him then.

Conn, who had led Louis for the first 12 rounds of their previous bout, made a sorry showing tonight, and fought on even terms in the second; but after that the bout became a pursuit, with only one ending possible when Joe caught up with him.

Louis Seemed Sluggish

To many of the fans it might have seemed that Louis was more sluggish than before the war. But actually he was in excellent shape for a fighter who had been out of competition for four years. And he fought a smart fight, taking no chances on tiring himself, stalking his opponent and forcing Billy to flee about the ring in a desperate dance.

Conn danced continually to his own left, trying to avoid the champion’s left jabs and left hooks.

Louis Catches Up

Louis caught up with him in the eighth. He smashed the challenger with a hard right to the body early in the round, then rocked him with a left hook to the head. As Conn tried to fight back, Louis landed a hard right and a left hook to the head and they fell into a clinch. After they broke, Louis smashed him with another right to the chin that buckled his legs. As Conn tried to fall into him Louis landed a left hook to the head, a right hook, and then the final terrific left hook that dropped him to the canvas on his back. Conn raised his head from the canvas as if to try to get up; but it dropped back again. After the count, Referee Joseph helped Conn to his feet and escorted him to his corner.



They came out slowly and danced around the middle of the ring. Louis threw the first punch, a light left which grazed Billy’s hair. Conn said something to Joe as they continued to dance around the ring and then Billy laid a light right on Louis’ head. Joe caught another Conn right on his gloves. There was so little action that the vast crowd began clamoring for some action. Conn grazed a left off Joe’s right ear. Joe threw a light left to Billy's head and Conn then got in two punches to Joe’s body. Joe missed with a right. Neither had thrown a hard punch. Conn was dancing around with Louis set in the middle of the ring. Conn was dancing around Louis as the round ended.

I gave the round to Conn.


Billy came out fast and once more they stood in the center of the ring without throwing punches. Then Conn landed a right to the ear and a flurry of lefts to the stomach. Joe had not thrown a punch. Conn then slid a punch off Joe’s left elbow. Conn’s nose was red and Joe started aiming his left at Billy’s face but most of his punches were light ones. Billy threw a right to the body after Joe had worked him against the ropes. They sparred cautiously but Joe faked several lefts and Conn, challenging him to come in and fight was waving his hands in a circle as the round ended.

I scored this round even.


Joe came out first and once more stood in the middle of the ring as Conn danced around him. Conn sent a left to Joe’s right cheek and then flicked a couple of light lefts to Joe’s body. Louis missed with a left and Billy bounced a right off the champions gloves. Louis seemed to be setting Billy up for a right. Billy drove a hard left to Louis’ stomach. Louis came back with a light left to Billy’s face. Another Louis left caught Conn’s gloves as he was dancing around the champion. Conn was faking with a light left and bounced a right off Joe’s shoulder. Joe missed a left and right. They traded light lefts to the body. Conn tried to go in with his left but Joe ducked it as the round ended.

I gave this round to Conn.


Once again they started sparring around in the center of the ring without trying any hard punches. They clinched as the champion missed a right and in the infighting Louis got in several blows to Conn’s stomach. Joe drove a left to Conn’s nose. He flicked another left off Billy’s forehead. Conn was dancing around Louis. Louis drove a hard right to Billy’s head and followed with a left before Conn could get out of a neutral corner in which Louis had followed him. Louis drove a flurry of rights and lefts to Billy’s head. The action stowed. Joe sent several more lefts to Billy’s face then missed a hard right. The champion hit Conn in the nose with a left as Billy slipped to the canvas. Joe backed away and the crowd cheered his sporting gesture. They were in the middle of the ring as the round ended.

I gave this round to Louis.


Billy’s face was marked up as he came out for the fifth. Joe tried a left to the face but Conn shook it off. Louis was doing the leading and once more was keeping his right cocked as he tried to bring Conn in close with light lefts. They were doing a lot of feinting but little punching. Joe missed a right to the stomach but got home a left to Billy’s jaw. He shot another left to Conn’s forehead. Joe drove a hard swinging blow to Conn’s jaw. He came back with another hard right to the head and had Billy against the ropes with a series of hard rights and lefts. Billy missed a left and then tapped Louis lightly on the head with a right. Conn missed another left and Louis was short with a left jab. Joe got in a hard right to Conn’s kidneys and Conn came back with a hard right to Louis’ stomach as the round ended.

I gave this round to Louis.


They sparred cautiously with Louis hooking several light lefts to Conn’s chin. Louis feinted with his right and Conn came in with a light left and right to Joe’s body. Louis was short with a left and a right. The champion grazed Conn’s hair. Conn was obviously trying to box and keep out of range. Louis reddened Billy’s left eye with a right hook. Billy bounced several light lefts off Joe’s head and Louis then drove Billy away with a right to the heart. Louis missed a right and Conn drove a hard left to Louis’ chin. Conn slipped to one knee as he landed the blow and Referee Eddie Joseph stepped in between them to clear off Conn’s gloves. Joe threw a left and right to Conn’s face and then missed with a hard right as the round ended.

I gave this round to Louis.


There was some dispute whether Conn had slipped or had fallen from a left hook in the latter stages of the previous round.

Conn opened the seventh with lefts and rights to Joe’s head but they were light blows. Conn drove a fairly hard right to Louis’ right cheek. Louis missed a right to Conn’s body and then tagged Billy with a right to the nose. Louis bounced a hard right off the back of Conn’s head. Joe threw several lefts to Conn’s face. Conn drove a left to Joe’s body and the champion came back with a right and left to Billy’s head. Louis got Conn against the ropes and landed several body blows. Conn drove a hard left to Louis’ head but took two rights to his own in return as the round ended.

I gave this round to Louis.


They were coming out of their corners much slower than in the opening rounds. Joe laid a light left on Billy’s right ear Conn was short with a left and a Louis left grazed Billy’s head. Louis drove a swinging left to Billy’s chin and Conn came back with a right which Louis caught partly on his glove. Joe drove a hard right to Conn’s chin and came back with a series of rights and lefts to Conn’s head. Joe caught Conn in the left eye with a vicious right. Blood began streaming down Conn’s cheek. Louis drove two hard rights in a row to Conn’s head as he floored the challenger for the count at 2:19.


NEW YORK, June 19. -- (U.P.) -- Battered Billy Conn announced in his dressing room tonight after being knocked out by Champion Joe Louis, that he was retiring from the ring "for good."

This fight may have been the first championship prizefight to be shown on television.

Washington Evening Star, 20-June-1946

Variety, 26-June-1946


Charles Micheaux said...

Excellent piece on the great Joe Louis!
Bravo Joe!!!

Charles Micheaux said...

Excellent piece on the great Joe Louis!
Bravo Joe!!!