Pearsall notes the passing of Max Schmeling, the German boxer who fought Joe Louis in a match that crossed Nazi racial discourse with American race relations. Pearsall has excellent links on Schmeling, and PBS has a lot of material from its excellent documentary “The Fight” on the subject.

We all love happy endings, and it’s become convenient in a way to say that Joe Louis and Max Schmeling ended up as great friends. I don’t think they were really great friends. I think they were barely friends, they barely knew one another. They spent only forty minutes together in the ring. … but history tied these two men together… History brought Joe Louis and Max Schmeling together and in history they’ll always be together…

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