More than the world heavyweight championship was at stake when Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling on 22 June 1938. In a world on the brink of war, the contest was projected as a test of nationalistic, racial and political ideals. It was black man against white man, a showdown between democracy and totalitarianism. While Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was boasting that a true Aryan would always beat an inferior black opponent, President Roosevelt was telling Louis, 'America needs muscles like yours to beat Germany.' No single event in the history of boxing generated as much excitement or such bitterness and extremes of emotions. It was the night Louis hit a peak of fistic perfection. He hardly missed a punch as he destroyed the challenger inside three brutal minutes. Following the end of the Second World War, the two boxers' lives took contrasting turns. Louis was hounded over unpaid taxes and drifted into a hazy word of drugs, paranoia and ill health, eventually dying in 1981. Schmeling, meanwhile, became a successful businessman and remained active until his death in 2005. Ring of Hate is a gripping story of two men drawn together by their chosen profession and d
Patrick Myler is a writer and boxing historian. His previous books on the sport include Gentleman Jim Corbett and A Century of Boxing Greats, and he has written articles for The Ring, Boxing News, Boxing Monthly and British Boxing Monthly.