Sport: Requiem for a Heavyweight

Joe Louis: 1914-1981

Joe Louis, World Heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, was perhaps the greatest boxer in history. He defended his title a record 25 times. Of 71 professional fights he lost only three, recording 54 knockouts. Yet he once observed: "If you dance, you gotta pay the piper. Believe me, I danced and I paid, and I left him a big fat tip." His dance was a flat-footed shuffle and a blur of powerful arms, and payment was eventual poverty and emotional problems. In the ring, the Brown Bomber was an impassive menace who revealed...

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