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The Fight | Timeline

Louis and Schmeling Chronology

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Schmeling comes to America and renews an acquaintance with Louis. 1954. AP Worldwide Photos

1905
September 28: Max Schmeling is born in Klein-Luckow, in Germany's Brandenburg province.

1908
Christmas Day: African American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns in 14 rounds, becoming the first black man to win the world heavyweight title.

1914
May 13: Joe Louis Barrow is born in Lafayette, Alabama, the son of sharecroppers.

1924
August 2: In his first professional boxing match, in Dusseldorf, Germany, Schmeling beats Kurt Czapp by TKO in six rounds.

1926
The Barrow family leaves Alabama and heads to Detroit. Their exodus is part of the Great Migration of African Americans traveling North to seek better jobs and better lives.

1927
June 19: Schmeling beats Belgian Fernand Delarge to become boxing's European light-heavyweight champion.

1928
Schmeling retains Joe Jacobs, an American Jew with Hungarian roots, as his boxing manager.

1929
October 29: "Black Tuesday." The U.S. stock market crashes, wiping out investors, triggering bank failures, destroying businesses, and leading to the Great Depression.

1930
June 12: In a title match, Jack Sharkey hits Schmeling below the belt. Schmeling wins by default, earning the world heavyweight boxing championship.

1932
June 21: In a controversial decision, Schmeling loses his title to Sharkey in fifteen rounds.

New York governor Franklin Roosevelt defeats President Herbert Hoover in a landslide, promising Americans a New Deal to provide relief from economic hardship.

1933
January 30: Controversial political leader Adolf Hitler is names chancellor of Germany. Within months, he will establish himself as dictator and begin a campaign against Germany's Jews.

In Detroit, the teenage Louis meets John Roxborough, who becomes his manager. The next year, he will take on a co-manager, Julian Black, and a trainer, Jack "Chappie" Blackburn.

1934
July 4: In Chicago, Louis knocks out Jack Kracken in his first professional bout.

1935
June 25: The young phenomenon Joe Louis debuts in New York, knocking out Primo Carnera in six rounds at Yankee Stadium. After the fight, 20,000 people assemble at  Harlem's Savoy Ballroom to celebrate.

September 24: Hours before fighting Max Baer, Louis marries Marva Trotter.

1936
June 19: The first Louis-Schmeling fight at Yankee Stadium ends with a surprise knockout victory by Schmeling in the 12th round.

1937
June 22: In Chicago's Auditorium, Joe Louis knocks out Jimmy Braddock in eight rounds to win the heavyweight championship of the world. Louis will say, "Only thing I remembered saying then was, 'Bring on Max Schmeling. Bring him on.'"

1938
June 22: The second Louis-Schmeling fight takes place before a crowd of more than 70,000 at Yankee Stadium -- and a radio audience of 70 million. It lasts just 124 seconds; Schmeling, knocked out, is hospitalized.

1939
Joe Jacobs dies of a heart attack.

September: Germany invades Poland, and Britain and France declare war on Germany, starting World War II.

Schmeling is drafted into the German military. After cursory training, he is sent on a paratrooper mission over Crete. He will remain in the service until 1943.

1940
June: The German Army captures Paris.

1941
In a busy professional year, Joe Louis defends his title against a host of challengers, who earn the collective nickname, "The Bum of the Month Club."

December 8: The day after a devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. enters World War II.

1942
Louis joins the U.S. Army, eventually attaining the rank of sergeant. His service consists primarily of exhibition matches to raise money for the armed forces and raise morale among the soldiers. Among his friends in the segregated service will be Lieutenant Jackie Robinson -- the future baseball great.

1948
Louis divorces Marva Trotter for the second and final time.

Max Schmeling retires from boxing.

1949
March: Louis retires from the ring for the first time, as undefeated champion.

1950
September: Louis comes out of retirement, in part to help pay back taxes.

1951
October 26: Rocky Marciano knocks out Louis in the 8th round; Louis retires from professional boxing for good.

1954
Schmeling comes to America and renews an acquaintance with Louis.

1955
Louis marries Rose Morgan; three years later, the marriage will be annulled.

1957
Schmeling is offered an opportunity to invest in Coca-Cola's German franchise. In this new phase of his life, he becomes a successful businessman and generous philanthropist.

1959
Louis marries his third wife, Martha Jefferson.

1960
Joe Louis is reunited with Max Schmeling on the popular American television program, "This Is Your Life."

1981
April 12: Joe Louis dies in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked in his later years as a casino greeter. President Ronald Reagan arranges for Louis to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Max Schmeling serves as a pall bearer.

1990
Joe Louis is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and acknowledged as one of the 20th century's great heavyweight champions. His career record in 71 bouts was 68 wins and 3 losses, with 54 knockouts.

1992
Max Schmeling is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, likewise one of the all-time greats, with a record of 56 wins (39 KOs), 10 losses, and 4 draws in a total of 70 bouts.

2005
February 2: Max Schmeling passes away at age 99. He is buried in Hollenstedt, near Hamburg, Germany, next to his wife of 54 years, Anny Ondra, who died in 1987.

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