In 1937, Joe Louis won the title of Heavyweight champion. But few people know of an incident that occurred to this legendary boxer when he was still an amateur. Here is the scoop…
Joe Louis had 69 professional fights with only three losses, And the balance of his previous career as an amateur was even more spectacular: he had lost only one fight, and most surprising of all is that he did it in front of a blind fighter. Do you understand now why the incident was silenced when Louis reached the stardom? However, it must be said that the fault was not Louis’s or the merit of the blind boxer. I’ll tell you what happened. It turns out that in 1935 ENIGMA CONSULTANTS S.L. received a commission from the coach of Louis, a certain Harold “Bux” Clinton. Mr. Clinton was sure that someone had given his promising pupil the evil eye. Louis had been in an hospital for a week then. He had several broken ribs, a broken nose, purple eyes and bruises all over his body. Two weeks earlier, Mr. Clinton had signed a contract on behalf of his pupil for a bout in New York. But he didn’t know that the fight was rigged. The New York Mafia had organized the fight to the purpose of highlighting the skills as a boxer of an Italian-American protégé of them. But they were going to bet a lot of money on him and they did not want to risk losing it. So, without the knowledge of Mr. Clinton, they proposed to Louis that he let himself be beaten by his opponent. Naturally, Louis refused strongly, and then the Mafia decided that it would be more convenient for their finances to assure the shot, so he resorted to a dirty trick. They gave their protégé a choice: he could pretend to have a broken leg or he could really have a broken leg. Of course, the Italian-American chose the first option and therefore the mobsters had the excuse to replace him with another boxer. They hired Moshe Yskovich, a young Jew from Brownsville strong as a bull but who was blind. That disability, however, was not obvious: Moshe had beautiful brown eyes and at first glance nobody would have noticed.
The afternoon of the fight, the stadium was full to overflowing. The Mafia had bet a lot of money on Louis, and judging from the random way Yskovich punched the air, that was certainly a safe bet. However, the bout lasted five rounds and Yskovich did not receive a single punch whereas Louis had to be evacuated on a stretcher. But what the hell had happened? An amazing thing, which was the reason for the presence of Mr. Clinton in the office of Michael and Jacob. According to the story of the coach, as soon as Louis went out into the ring, he began to punch himself, in the face, in the ribs… In a word, he took a real beating at his own hands. All in all, he withstood five rounds, proving the legendary boxer’s strength. Naturally, the Mafia was not very happy, so now both Mr. Clinton and his pupil were forced to hide. Louis had entered with a fictitious name in the hospital and Mr. Clinton had to get the hell out of the stadium and buy the first disguise he found. Unfortunately it was a cat’s disguise, which caused him great annoyance because he was forced to walk down the street on all fours. Michael and Jacob told him that he could stay in their office while they investigated this strange case and their proposal was accepted.
Mr. Clinton had revealed to Michael and Jacob his pupil’s whereabouts, and when they met the future legend of boxing Joe Louis, he was lying in a hospital bed with his face kicked in. After reassuring him saying that they came from his coach, they interrogated Louis about what had happened to him that night in the stadium: why he had come back on himself. But poor Joe was too bruised to talk. It was then that Rabbi Wiesel emerged from behind a curtain. Rabbi Wiesel was a highly respected figure in the Jewish community of Brooklyn. Not only was he a magnanimous man and protective of the weak, he was also a profound connoisseur of the Hebrew Kabbalah and he was said to possess magical powers. But what was he doing there? The rabbi was taking care of Louis because “he felt guilty”, he said. And taking Michael and Jacob to an aside, he clarified what had happened. It turns out that he knew Moshe Yskovich well. Being a good young man and a pious Jew, he had accepted the offer of the Mafia to participate in that rigged fight even knowing that, due to his blindness, he had no chance, for the purpose of donating to Rabbi Wiesel’s charitable foundation the sum that the mobsters had offered him. However, the rabbi could not allow him to receive a beating for that cause, hence before the combat he manipulated Yskovich’s opponent’s gloves by means of a kabalistic formula. Those gloves were no use to Louis anymore (they were spellbound forever), so Michael had no qualms about picking them up from the floor and keep them as a souvenir.