Sport: The Last Week

The fight for the heavyweight championship was just a week away. The accident of war had given it the longest, (five year) buildup in history and canny Promoter Mike Jacobs, who generally knows what the traffic will bear, had scaled ringside seats at an imposing $100 apiece.*

At Pompton Lakes, N.J., where Joe Louis trained, he played gin rummy like he fought—coolly, with a slight trace of a frown. He laughed, though, when he got a first-card knock: "Boy, you sure got to concentrate on this game. . . ." Joe didn't like to lose, even when he was playing for fun.

After...