Schmeling, Max(Maximilian Schmeling), 1905–2005, German boxer. He debuted as a professional fighter in 1924 and came to the United States in 1928. Two years later the methodical slugger beat heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey (by a foul) to become Europe's first world champ. He lost the title to James J. Braddock in 1932. In his greatest upset, a 1936 bout, Schmeling knocked out Joe LouisLouis, Joe
(Joseph Louis Barrow) , 1914–81, American boxer, b. Lafayette, Ala. His father, a sharecropper, died when Louis was four years old, and in 1926 his stepfather took the family to Detroit, where Louis became interested in boxing.
..... Click the link for more information. , then an unbeaten 22-year-old contender, and was lauded in Hitler's Germany as an Aryan idol, though he was neither political nor a racist. When they met again in a hugely hyped 1938 match, Louis, by then world's champion, was hailed as America's conquering hero. Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round after 124 seconds. Schmeling had a career total of 70 fights, 56 of which he won, 40 by knockout. He returned to Germany, where after World War II he became a successful businessman and philanthropist.
See his autobiography (1977, tr. 1998); L. A. Erenberg, The Greatest Fight of Our Generation: Louis vs. Schmeling (2005); D. Margolick, Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink (2005).