"The Fight:" Louis-Schmeling , PBS

Wow, anybody see this documentary on PBS about the parallel careers of Louis and Schmeling and their rivalry and friendship? Great stuff. Very well done. Lots of good stuff to see here, including footage of Jack Johnson (!) and a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff with both fighters and people who were fans from both U.S. and Germany. At one point they are talking with an old Harlem dancer. Woman must have been in her 80s but recalling how they lusted after ol' Joe back in the 30s got her fire up again; it was magical to see an old woman say "he was a beautiful, beautiful man" and look as hungry as a 20-year-old. Stuff like that makes the doco priceless. And of course the boxing footage!

Couple of questions:

-they summed up the careers of both after boxing and pointed out how Schmeling prospered and Louis floundered, but they didn't mention Louis' drug problems, I'm assuming out of respect. What drugs did Louis have a problem with and how did he get started?

-In Louis-Schmeling II, 1938, they showed the body blow that caused Schmeling to, as observers put it, scream in pain. Then they showed it again in slow-mo - gorsh, I almost couldn't watch, the look on Schmeling's face was so horrific. Did it really happen? What caused it? Some said a kidney blow but it really looked to hit him in the side below the ribs. Are your kidneys there?

-What was the deal with Louis' trainer, "Chappy?" He was a pro fighter then he went into the joint for murder? See the scar on that guy's face?! Wow...!

holy moley! When was this on? how long was the doc?

Did they bring up the persistent rumor that Louis had soaked his wraps in something that hardened and made it feel like a brick?

Here's the link to the show. I'm sure they'll show it again, and you can buy it if you like. CZ, no, they did not address that.


That was actually a really cool documentary. I had never seen some of the footage ever before. I thought the film was a little harsh on MS and his association with the nazis, but all in all, that was a really cool film.

Thank you Ogami.

I just bought the dvd online.

Ken Burns is coming out with a multi-series documentary on Jack Johnson this January (ala civil war and jazz). THAT's going to be pretty phenomenal too.

TTT for old fight footage.

Who, 4 Ranges, you don't mess around!

At the above link are some cool old skool pics and recordings you can listen to of radio broadcasts of the fights!

"Was macht, Max, was macht?!" (German announcer quoted by one dude in the docu as Schmeling hit the canvas in II.)

I didn't know that about Ken Burns, that is going to be awesome.


oh yeah, I don't mess around when it comes to old fight footage. Again, thanks for the link.

That Ken Burns documentary sounds pretty sweet. I like Jack Johnson, but I wish Burns would also do a documentary on Jack Dempsey or Marciano.

Here's a link to the Jack Johnson documentary.


Champion Joe Louis is a good bio about the Bomber.

The reason why I love old fight footage is because I really want to understand the old boxing mentality PRE-Ali. I think Ali was a gifted athlete, but his boxing basics was not the ideal. His style worked for him when he was young, and he still had to make adjustments when he was older.

Still, it's the young Ali that fighters like to imitate...and it gets them killed. Hands low, head leaning back, high on your toes. Bad for mortals.

I love the old footage because you can see the basics at work. Watching Jersey Joe, Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, sugar ray robinson, etc.

I also love to watch the fighters who came not too long after the prizefighting era: dempsey, jack johnson, etc. because you can see how the sport evolved.

Most importantly, the PRE-Ali boxing stuff is LESS boxing specific than what you see now, which (to me) translates better into vale tudo/

So was Blackburn a psycho or what? Shooting spree for crying out loud? It looked like had a wicked scar on his left side. How'd he get that scar on his face?

Ken Burns needs to do a documentary series just on boxing, like the one he did on baseball. With the exception of baseball, no sport in this country has as rich a history as boxing does. He should have started with Johnson, then progressed through the eras of Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Ali, and then finished with the Tyson era. In a lot of ways each champion reflected their times. That would make a great series...

right on havokk! That'd kick ass.

Start with Johnson? Why not Sullivan?

Don't stop with Sullivan either. A look at the London Prize Ring days would be cool as well, maybe with an angle on how the old pugilism style influenced the modern game.

"How'd he lose it?"

He got knocked out by Jess Willard.

Link to a fairly intersting article on Jack Blackburn.


Havok, they did!

The docu you guys are talking about is part 2 of a multi part series they have just started running on BBC2 in the UK.

Last nights had an overview of Sullivan, Dempsey and Tyson comparing them as fighters who used shear agression to rise to the top.

It was great to see the old footage of the fights and the training


hey, 4 Ranges, let us know how you like the Louis doc.