Joe Louis and the Opera of Losing

Just a trifle today to take us into the weekend. I saw this clip in an HBO doc about boxer Joe Louis and have never been able to shake its “Italian-ness.”

In December 1947, Joe Louis defended his heavyweight title against Jersey Joe Walcott. The judges decided in Louis’s favor and the giveaway to everyone in Madison Square Garden is when the announcer says, “…and still the Heavyweight Champion…” What really caught my eye in this clip are Walcott’s poor cornermen, who had a lot riding on this fight as you can imagine.

Here’s the announcement, twice in quick succession—check out the small guys in the upper left, the moment they hear the word “still”:

Are these the Most Italian Men Ever? (Being very Italian myself, I know I’ve reacted to things this way on occasion.) It really makes it clear how high the stakes were for everyone.

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Poor guys


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