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.
“He inspired so many people, everybody, the entire boxing world. You know, in the city of Detroit, in the Golden Gloves tournament in one year they had 5,000 entries. Now if they get 150 they are tickled. But he inspired everybody. All the men and these boys, wanted to box.”
– Ken Offet
“I was in Tennessee, in the country, and we used to listen to the radio….everybody was crazy about him. Everybody talked about him. That’s all they knowed, Joe Louis. I think Joe’s the most highly thought of fighter ever was in the world. You got so many popping up now, you know, it’s getting common. But then it was something precious to people that they’ll never forget. I’ll never forget Joe. Never will forget him.”
– Jeremiah McClain, retired Detroit Chrysler plant worker
“Televisions were at a premium. I was very fortunate to have one of the first ones in our area. I had one of the RCAs with the bubble on the outside. And people would come at 6 o’clock in the evening. I would come in – I was working for the government … as a contracting offices representative – when I would come in from work that night, I couldn’t get in the house. It was like a theater. People were dragging their chairs … from down the street, neighbors that I knew and some that I didn’t know. But it was a lot of fun. My wife was fixing sandwiches, and it was like a theater. Really. Yeah. She was fixing sandwiches, and they were drinking beer, you know, and enjoying the fight. In my house.”
– Rev. Nathan Caldwell
“I was one of the kids that was idolizing Joe Louis. I was one of the Brewster Center kids. After listening to the fights on the radio, we would all head toward Hastings Street. And I shall never forget: there was a stable on Hastings and Alexandrine, a horse stable. The horses would be in the stable, but they would park the wagons outside overnight. And we would get one of those wagons, and about 25 of us would get between the tongs pulling it, and the wagon would be loaded with youngsters. And down Hastings street we would go: ‘Joe Louis won the fight! Joe Louis won the fight!’ That would go on to the wee hours of the morning. You couldn’t get through Hasting Street, because it would be jampacked with people, honking their horns, and kids running up and down the street. Ten or 15 minutes after the fight (we would) hear the boys say, ‘Extra! Extra!’ And you don’t hear that anymore, but immediately after the fight, you would have always wait to get the extra. And people would raise their windows – ‘Hey, boy, bring me a paper! Bring me a paper!’ There has never been another fighter that has created the kind of atmosphere as Joe.”