Professional boxing was among the few integrated sports in the United States, and prize fighter Joe Louis was a hero to American Blacks. On June 19, 1936, after rain postponed the fight a day, the undefeated Louis was knocked out by Germany's Max Schmeling.
German Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels proclaimed Schmeling's victory a triumph for Germany and Hitlerism. The Nazi weekly journal Das Schwarze Korps (The Black Corps) commented: "Schmeling's victory was not only sport. It was a question of prestige for our race."
In a 1938 rematch, Louis defeated Schmeling in one round.
Schmeling opposed the Nazis and ultimately developed a personal friendship with Louis. In fact, Schmeling paid for a part of the American boxer's funeral arrangements in 1981.
Source: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Max Schmelling