Joe Louis, the "Brown Bomber," is the first professional boxer to be recognized with a U.S. commemorative stamp. Issue date was the 55th anniversary of the 1938 Louis-Schmeling rematch, when Louis knocked out Germany's Max Schmeling in 2:04 of the first round. The fight, held just prior to Hitler's march through Europe, took on broader significance for a world gripped by fear and became a symbolic confrontation of democracy versus fascism.
Louis began his boxing career in Detroit, winning 43 of 54 amateur bouts by knockout. He became a professional boxer in 1934 and won 63 of 66 professional bouts: 49 by knockout, 13 by decision, and one through disqualification of his opponent. He still holds three heavyweight boxing records: longest heavyweight title holder, 11 years, nine months; a 25-time title defender; and, five first-round knockouts.