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The Fight | Timeline

Louis and Schmeling Chronology

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.'"

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.

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.

June: The German Army captures Paris.

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.

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.

Louis divorces Marva Trotter for the second and final time.

Max Schmeling retires from boxing.

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

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

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

Schmeling comes to America and renews an acquaintance with Louis.

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

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.

Louis marries his third wife, Martha Jefferson.

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

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.

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.

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.

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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