Sunday, February 24, 2008
Joe Louis Documentary on HBO
HBO televised a great mini-documentary of the Joe Louis saga just prior to its televising of the Klitchscho-Ibragimov Blunder Without Thunder. Much of material was known to fans of boxing history but, even so, news of Joe Louis’ “betrayal” was passed along to a new audience. My wife, a woman who had never watched a boxing match in her life before marrying me, was beside herself when she got the news that Louis was hounded by the IRS for tax evasion even while he did so much for America.
The paean was tinged with sadness as Louis’ decline was chronicled in his later years, but Louis’ persona and accomplishments were of such resilience and power that he can never be diminished. My own father, an uneducated factory worker born in the same year as Joe Louis, mentioned Joe Louis so often to us that he seemed part of our family. With a right hand like a mechanized power train, Joe Louis tumbled the Third Reich face first on the canvas in Yankee Stadium.