01 Rinsing Off the
02 Poem of the Month
By Tom Smario
03 Pollack's Picks
By Adam Pollack
04 Top Women Worth Watching
By Adam Pollack
05 Holman Williams Belongs
the Hall of Fame
By Harry Otty
06 Touching Gloves
"Joltin" Jeff Chandler
By Dan Hanley
07 Puppy Garcia Was
By Enrique Encinosa
08 Muhammad's Real War
By Cliff Endicott
09 Champagne On Ice
By Ron Lipton
10 "Dick Tiger: The Life and Times
of a Boxing Immortal"
By Adeyinka Makinde
11 Floyd Patterson:
Always Got Up
By Ron Lipton
12 Nat Fleischer, "Mr.
By Monte Cox
13 "Ring of Hate"
Review by J.D. Vena
14 "Gilroy Was
Book Review by Mike Delisa
From the Archives [mp3]
The CBZ presents another classic boxing-themed radio
show. This month we have the Thin Man in "The Passionate Palooka," from July 6,
"Ring of Hate"
Book review by J.D. Vena
I'm a sucker for sports documentaries. Naturally, to narrow it down, I love a good boxing
documentary. Perhaps my favorite is Joe Louis: For All Time. I've seen it more than
a dozen times. It chronicles the career and life of not only one of the greatest boxers of
all time, but truly one of the most beloved American icons. My favorite segment of film is
when it delves into the subject of the Brown Bomber's rivalry with Germany's Max
Schmeling. Still nearly 70 years after their first of two memorable encounters, Hollywood
and historians like to focus on this remarkable story.
Recently, the tale of Louis-Schmeling has been a popular subject. Starz released a movie
titled Joe and Max (2002) that didn't exactly enthrall, but since then, the History
Channel and PBS devoted two shows to the story of these two boxers. When these two ring
legends met in their 1938 return bout, there was more on the line than the heavyweight
championship of the world. It can be universally agreed that the reason for this interest
has to do with the fact that it was the one most compelling sport stories of the 20th
century. If the story is told the right way, that is. This is why I loved Patrick Myler's
relatively new book, Ring of Hate, published by Arcade Publishing Company.
Myler, a student and historian of the game, chronicles the incredible buildup to the
inevitable rivalry, which turns into an unlikely event of magnificent implications. The
story begins with Louis, the young sensation who has more or less mopped through the
heavyweight ranks of the 1930s with relative ease. It is when he crosses paths with the
Black Uhlan of the Rhine in 1936 that Louis' alleyway to greatness takes a sharp turn.
In one of the more shocking upsets in boxing history, Schmeling and his game plan of
countering Louis' flawed-yet-ramrod jab with deadly right hands worked to perfection,
knocking Louis out in the 12th round. Schmeling's victory marked the only loss Louis would
suffer in his first 16 years as a professional. Though many including Americans
appreciated the effort from the humble German, the win also anointed him the symbol of the
Hitler's Aryan race, a Nazi, a hated association that Schmeling would incorrectly carry
with him for decades. When Schmeling returned to the United States, he was no longer
welcomed by the very same fans that had cheered him.
After Louis quickly reestablished himself and won the title from the "Cinderella Man,"
Jimmy Braddock, the stage was set for the rematch. But what should have been a fight for
revenge turns into a battle that would have more worldwide social implications than any
sporting event of the century.
In a fight that would cement his legacy, Louis exacted revenge devastating Schmeling in
just over two minutes of fighting. It was a humiliating loss for Schmeling as well the
Third Reich, and for the first time, the hearts of the American people embraced their new
hero, an African-American. Ironically, the storybook ending was only in the cards for
Schmeling, who despite his shortcomings and misfortunes finished a fulfilling and
luxurious life, which ended last year after 99 years. Though Louis was seen in an entirely
different light, Myler details the disintegration of his life after WWII, with the IRS,
his vice for beautiful women, and drugs tearing his life apart.
Throughout the book, Myler, in his thorough research, harnesses the views from some of the
more prominent boxing scribes of the times, such as Nat Fleischer, Shirley Povich, Damon
Runyon, as well as firsthand accounts from Louis and Schmeling. Though there are less than
a handful of minor false facts, all of the events in the compilation occurred at one time
Many, including those involved in the story, would agree that, as Myler explained, "An
aspect of the Louis-Schmeling fight has been widely debated over the years how much of an
impact it made on political and racial issues of the day. It cannot be claimed with any
real justification that, despite the intense nationalism surrounding the event, it had any
noticeable effect on the march of events that would soon plunge the world into a war that
ultimately cost many millions of lives. Nor did most white Americans' admiration for Louis
galvanize them into demanding an immediate end to widespread discrimination against their
fellow black citizens. Possibly the most that can be said is that it helped, in some small
way, to awaken people's minds everywhere to the evils that existed in their
Ring of Hate can be purchased through Amazon.com or wherever books are sold. It's a
must for the bookshelf and even if you're not a boxing fan, the story is something that
every American should learn about.
J.D. Vena is associate editor of the CBZ. Contact him at