The world heavyweight championship once transcended boxing and conferred global renown. This book gives detailed coverage to five legendary championship bouts that captivated audiences worldwide.
Coaxed out of retirement by the press, former champ James Jeffries challenged black titleholder Jack Johnson—universally despised by white audiences—in 1910, in hopes of returning the title to the white race. In 1921, dapper World War I hero and light-heavyweight champion Georges Carpentier hoped to upset heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey, widely considered a draft-dodger, in a fight that garnered the first “million dollar gate.” In perhaps the most politically charged bout ever, “Brown Bomber” Joe Louis, popular with both the white and black America, faced Nazi Germany’s Max Schmeling—the first ever to win the title by disqualification—at a sold-out Yankee stadium in 1936. A relentless brawler, undefeated Rocky Marciano in 1952 sought to bludgeon the title away from the stronger and savvier Joe Walcott, at 38 the oldest heavyweight champ in history. In a monumental clash of two undefeated world champions, Muhammad Ali—on the comeback trail after his title was stripped from him for refusing to be drafted during the Vietnam War—squared off with titleholder Joe Frazier in 1971.