1914 - Born on 13th of May in Lafayette, Alabama.
1916 - His father, a sharecropper, was committed to a state mental hospital when he was about two years old.
1934 - He won the U.S. Amateur Athletic Union 175-pound championship and also was a Golden Gloves titleholder; of 54 amateur fights, Louis won 50 and lost 4.
- His first professional fight took place on July 4th and within 12 months he had knocked out Primo Carnera, the first of six previous or subsequent heavyweight champions who would become his victims; the others were Max Baer, Jack Sharkey, Braddock, the German champion Max Schmeling, and Jersey Joe Walcott.
1936 - He sustained his first professional loss at the hands of Schmeling.
1938 - After having beaten Braddock and taken the title, he met Schmeling in a rematch that the American media portrayed as a battle between Nazism and democracy (though Schmeling himself was not a Nazi). His dramatic knockout victory in the first round made him a national hero.
1942 - 1945 - His service in the U.S. Army no doubt prevented him from defending his title many more times.
1949 - After the war he was less active, and he retired as the undefeated champion long enough to allow Ezzard Charles to earn recognition as his successor.
1950 - He fought Charles for the championship on the 27th of September, to pay off his debts, but lost a 15-round decision.
1951 - In his last fight of consequence, against future champion Rocky Marciano on the 26th of October, he was knocked out in eight rounds.
1953 - A Hollywood movie about his life, "The Joe Louis Story", was made.
1954 - He was inducted to the Ring Magazine Boxing Hall of Fame.
1981 - He died on April 12th in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery; one of the pallbearers at his funeral was Schmeling.
1982 - He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
1990 - He was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
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