MAX SCHMELING VS. JOE LOUIS: HAND-MADE PROTOTYPE BOXING GAME
BOXING. Prototype boxing boardgame, featuring Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. No place: circa 1938. Original hand-drawn game board, measuring 17-1/2 by 15 inches, with colored tacks and gaming die. Inset in a green faux alligator cardboard box; entire piece measures 20-1/2 by 15 inches. $950.
Original hand-drawn prototype for a dice-oriented boxing match, with typewriter-produced scoring directions and colored tacks to indicate types of blows and rounds won.
Undoubtedly inspired by the popularity of heavyweight champion Joe Louis, an avid boxing fan devised this prototype board game, featuring images of the champ and his most famous opponent, Max Schmeling. Detroit's "Brown Bomber" dominated the sport of boxing during the 1930s and 40s, holding the heavyweight title for 12 years and successfully defending it a record 25 times. In 1936, Louis was easily on his way to a world title shot against heavyweight champion James Braddock. Louis was unbeaten as a professional and had already taken former champions Primo Carnera and Max Baer convincingly. Next in line was onetime German heavyweight champion Max Schmeling—a 10-1 underdog. For this fight Louis apparently had not trained seriously enough, and Schmeling gave him a terrible 12-round beating—handing Louis his first professional defeat. Even though Louis later took Braddock for the title, he refused to consider himself world champion until he had beaten Schmeling. On June 22, 1938, at Yankee Stadium, the most publicized and symbolic fight of the 20th century would take place. "This bout symbolized and galvanized the hopes, hatreds and fears of a world moving toward total war" (MSNBC Interactive). The Washington Post later called it "the undercard for World War II." In a little over two minutes of the first round, Louis annihilated Schmeling with a vicious rain of 55 all-but-unanswered punches. This creative board game based on these famous bouts is hand-drawn and finished in India ink. The directions for scoring are produced by typewriter and mounted at the corners of the board. A total of three consecutive rolls of the die determines the type of blow to be struck. Commercial maptacks serve to mark blows and to record rounds won.