JULY 2006

01 Rinsing Off the Mouthpiece
By GorDoom

02 Poem of the Month
By Tom Smario

03 Pollack's Picks
By Adam Pollack

04 Top Women Worth Watching
and Televising

By Adam Pollack

05 Holman Williams Belongs
in the Hall of Fame

By Harry Otty

06 Touching Gloves With...
"Joltin" Jeff Chandler

By Dan Hanley

07 Puppy Garcia Was
Something Special

By Enrique Encinosa

08 Muhammad's Real War
By Cliff Endicott

09 Champagne On Ice
By Ron Lipton

10 "Dick Tiger: The Life and Times
of a Boxing Immortal"

By Adeyinka Makinde

11 Floyd Patterson:
He Always Got Up

By Ron Lipton

12 Nat Fleischer, "Mr. Boxing"
By Monte Cox

13 "Ring of Hate"
Book Review by J.D. Vena

14 "Gilroy Was Here"
Book Review by Mike Delisa

15 Audio From the Archives [mp3]
The CBZ presents another classic boxing-themed radio show. This month we have the Thin Man in "The Passionate Palooka," from July 6, 1948

"Ring of Hate"

Book review by J.D. Vena

I'm a sucker for sports documentaries. Naturally, to narrow it down, I love a good boxing documentary. Perhaps my favorite is Joe Louis: For All Time. I've seen it more than a dozen times. It chronicles the career and life of not only one of the greatest boxers of all time, but truly one of the most beloved American icons. My favorite segment of film is when it delves into the subject of the Brown Bomber's rivalry with Germany's Max Schmeling. Still nearly 70 years after their first of two memorable encounters, Hollywood and historians like to focus on this remarkable story.

Recently, the tale of Louis-Schmeling has been a popular subject. Starz released a movie titled Joe and Max (2002) that didn't exactly enthrall, but since then, the History Channel and PBS devoted two shows to the story of these two boxers. When these two ring legends met in their 1938 return bout, there was more on the line than the heavyweight championship of the world. It can be universally agreed that the reason for this interest has to do with the fact that it was the one most compelling sport stories of the 20th century. If the story is told the right way, that is. This is why I loved Patrick Myler's relatively new book, Ring of Hate, published by Arcade Publishing Company.

Myler, a student and historian of the game, chronicles the incredible buildup to the inevitable rivalry, which turns into an unlikely event of magnificent implications. The story begins with Louis, the young sensation who has more or less mopped through the heavyweight ranks of the 1930s with relative ease. It is when he crosses paths with the Black Uhlan of the Rhine in 1936 that Louis' alleyway to greatness takes a sharp turn.

In one of the more shocking upsets in boxing history, Schmeling and his game plan of countering Louis' flawed-yet-ramrod jab with deadly right hands worked to perfection, knocking Louis out in the 12th round. Schmeling's victory marked the only loss Louis would suffer in his first 16 years as a professional. Though many including Americans appreciated the effort from the humble German, the win also anointed him the symbol of the Hitler's Aryan race, a Nazi, a hated association that Schmeling would incorrectly carry with him for decades. When Schmeling returned to the United States, he was no longer welcomed by the very same fans that had cheered him.

After Louis quickly reestablished himself and won the title from the "Cinderella Man," Jimmy Braddock, the stage was set for the rematch. But what should have been a fight for revenge turns into a battle that would have more worldwide social implications than any sporting event of the century.

In a fight that would cement his legacy, Louis exacted revenge devastating Schmeling in just over two minutes of fighting. It was a humiliating loss for Schmeling as well the Third Reich, and for the first time, the hearts of the American people embraced their new hero, an African-American. Ironically, the storybook ending was only in the cards for Schmeling, who despite his shortcomings and misfortunes finished a fulfilling and luxurious life, which ended last year after 99 years. Though Louis was seen in an entirely different light, Myler details the disintegration of his life after WWII, with the IRS, his vice for beautiful women, and drugs tearing his life apart.

Throughout the book, Myler, in his thorough research, harnesses the views from some of the more prominent boxing scribes of the times, such as Nat Fleischer, Shirley Povich, Damon Runyon, as well as firsthand accounts from Louis and Schmeling. Though there are less than a handful of minor false facts, all of the events in the compilation occurred at one time or another.

Many, including those involved in the story, would agree that, as Myler explained, "An aspect of the Louis-Schmeling fight has been widely debated over the years how much of an impact it made on political and racial issues of the day. It cannot be claimed with any real justification that, despite the intense nationalism surrounding the event, it had any noticeable effect on the march of events that would soon plunge the world into a war that ultimately cost many millions of lives. Nor did most white Americans' admiration for Louis galvanize them into demanding an immediate end to widespread discrimination against their fellow black citizens. Possibly the most that can be said is that it helped, in some small way, to awaken people's minds everywhere to the evils that existed in their world."

Ring of Hate can be purchased through Amazon.com or wherever books are sold. It's a must for the bookshelf and even if you're not a boxing fan, the story is something that every American should learn about.

J.D. Vena is associate editor of the CBZ. Contact him at editors@cyberboxingzone.com.

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