Hanging On: Joe Louis vs Tony Galento

 Courtesy of Roy Bennett 

Before the Joe Louis fight, Tony Galento was quoted as saying in a mangled New Jersey accent, “I’ll moider da bum.”

Years after the fight, Joe Louis said, “Tony berated me something terrible before the fight. He got to me, and I hated him for it. I never hated anybody before. I decided to punish him before I knocked him out.”

Louis Wins in Fourth Round of Career’s Hardest Fight

By Gene Talbot, Associated Press

The roof finally fell in on Tony Galento last night and nearly killed him, but before it happened the bold New Jersey barkeep gave a fight crowd in Yankee stadium a succession of thrills it will not soon forget.

Yes, Champion Joe Louis butchered the poor galoot, sent him falling to his knees bleeding and helpless so that Referee Arthur Donovan had to stop it in 2:29 of the fourth round. That was almost the pre-ordained result. But Tony gave an account of himself that will enshrine him in the minds of those who saw.

Tony, the round-man, never took a backward step. In the third round, when his face already was cut to ribbons and the heart would long since have been beaten out of a less brave fighter, he swung a left to Louis’ jaw that sent the champion bouncing on the canvas.

In the opening minutes, when the fight was young, he rocked the big, bronze champion to his heels with another terrific left and for a fleeting instant held the championship in the chubby fists that have drawn ten thousand beers. He did everything he said he would do—except knock out “dat bum.” Tony, the man they’ve all been laughing at, climaxed his career with his greatest performance.

Louis, who had knocked out his three previous challengers in less than a round each, said it was the toughest fight he ever had. In that terrible last round, when Galento was defenseless, Joe said he had to hit him a dozen times as hard as he ever hit a man before Tony finally fell into the referee’s arms, groping for the ropes in a desperate effort to keep his feet.

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Tony Galento being held up by the referee after taking a near dozen of Joe Louis’s bombs.

– June 29, 1939

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