Event: Joe Louis vs Billy Conn
Title: World Heavyweight (Louis defending)
Location: Polo Grounds, New York, New York, USA
Weights: Louis 199½ lbs, Conn 174 lbs (However, it was believed Louis was closer to 204 lbs and Conn 169)
Ages: Louis 28, Conn 24
Louis vs Conn Facts & Stats
- Joe Louis (49-1) vs Billy Conn (59-9-1)
- Louis’s 18th title defense
- Louis vs Conn I is regarded as one of the great classics of all time as the much smaller challenger came within the proverbial eyelash of upsetting one of the most dominant heavyweights in the history of the sport
- Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis was an 11 to 5 favorite and nearly 30 lbs heavier
- Billy Conn was Light Heavyweight Champion of the World at the time
- A paying crowd of 54,487 at the Polo Grounds generated a gross gate of $452,743. The net gate receipts were $386,012.
- Louis got 40% of the net and Conn got 17½. (Keep in mind, this was 1941).
- Throughout the bout, Conn used his superior reflexes to outbox and outfox the plodding Louis, clipping the champion repeatedly to the head and body.
- Conn staggered the great Louis in Round 8, bringing the crowd out of their seats
- After twelve rounds, Conn was ahead on two of the three scorecards and even on the third.
- After rocking the ‘Brown Bomber’ again in Round 12, Billy Conn – instead of playing it safe and continuing to outpoint his foe – now went on the attack, looking to knock out Louis.
- Frail in comparison to Louis, an over-confident Conn now stood-to-toe with the future fight legend… and would pay a heavy price.
- Aware he needed a knockout out to win, Louis blasted the now-stationary Conn with a right about a minute into the round and refused to let Billy off the hook.
- On queer street, Conn absorbed heavy combinations from the desperate champion before dropping to the canvas. The challenger was counted out at 2:58 of the thirteenth round.
- Ring Magazine ranked Louis vs. Conn I as the sixth greatest title fight of all time.
- Years later, Billy Conn acknowledged he had the fight won but insisted, “I just wanted to go out there and fix his a** – But in the end, Joe Louis fixed me.”
- Result: Louis (Won) TO 13 Conn
- Years later, the two met again. But this bout was hardly competitive as Louis easily KO’d a past-his-prime Conn in Round 8.