I have a beautiful wife, Anna Ondra, the actress. I have many friends and enough money to live comfortably the rest of my life. All the gold in the world would not bring me from Germany to fight Joe Louis unless I believed I could beat him. I'll win because I can punch hard and — I'm not afraid.
I am convinced Joe won most of his fights before he entered the ring. His opponents knew little about the science of boxing. They could not analyze his style. They fell victim to an elaborate ballyhoo and they were scared to death. King Levinsky was trembling so that his teeth shook, and Max Baer was so frightened he was paralyzed. Primo Carnera was like a baby led to slaughter, and his nervous rolling eyes showed it.
A good right hand will beat Louis.
There is nothing wrong with my right. I don't wish to underestimate Joe, but I feel certain that when he shoots his left I can cross my right over it and score.
Do you remember how Jack Dempsey trained for his second Tunney bout? Jack told me that all the stunts at his training camp meant nothing. He was merely getting in trim. Privately he drilled himself on a right hand to the chin, timed to cross over Tunney's left.
The night of the fight, Tunney jabbed, jabbed, jabbed, very neatly. And then, suddenly — bam! — Dempsey let him have it flush on the jawbone. Dempsey knew it was the only way to outscore a clever boxer. When a man shoots his left, fire that right and you've got him. I'm going to practice as Dempsey did. Joe will try to keep his shoulder high, but sooner or later he will stick out his left, shoulder down and chin exposed. It's a perfectly natural move; the thing to be set for is the perfect timing. You've got to have a fast right hand to do it. My right is every bit as fast as Dempsey's — and it's shorter. You haven't so much time to see it coming.
I know I have flaws, and I am always trying to correct them. But a study of Louis in action — I have slow-motion movies to help me — has proved to me that Joe has flaws, too. The clumsy Primo scored repeated lefts to Louis's face. And with his ponderous slow paws! Another shot shows Louis moving in on Carnera. Louis's right and left arms are straight out at his sides in scarecrow fashion. You cannot come in on a clever boxer as wide open as that.
I came over here purposely to see Louis fight Paolino Uzcudun. I went out of Madison Square Garden that night convinced that I could beat Louis. Much was made of his victory over Paolino; but the truth is that Paolino, old and fat, fought a strict retreat.
Paolino had beaten Baer. The Louis fanatics seemed to think that when Louis beat Baer he accomplished something great. Well, I had beaten Paolino twice when the Basque was younger and in better shape. Boxing writers say I probably softened him up for Joe.
Louis has not fought a young fighter of any rating. His matches have been hand-picked. Even his handlers will admit that. I am thirty years old and I have never knocked around. I am in perfect physical condition. There are no marks on me — no puffed ears like Levinsky's, no eye scars like Paolino's, no varicose veins and heavy leaden legs like those of the giant target Carnera.
I have an honest confidence, the confidence of a man who once was champion of the world. I would still have that title today if I had not experimented with my fighting style. I foolishly changed my successful weaving slam-bang crouching attack to a stand-up style while I was preparing for the second Jack Sharkey fight. Now I am back to my old way. It is the natural one.
To prove that it is the best, consult the records. The book shows a knockout over Walter Neusel in nine rounds. Some boxing writers say "Schmeling ruined Neusel." I hope that is not true. All I know is that I was hitting unusually sharp and hard.
Then there was my return match and revenge over Steve Hamas. Every champion has his "off night." I had a period in which I was experimenting, and when I said I was "off" the night Hamas beat me in Philadelphia, they all thought I was alibiing. I wasn't. I went back to Germany and worked out my problems just as I have methodically and scientifically worked on the Joe Louis situation. Well, I met Hamas again, in Germany, and knocked him out in nine rounds.
I was punching so hard that Hamas, young and strong, finished in the hospital. He has not fought since. If Joe Louis had done such a thing there would be horrible stories about his murderous punching, wouldn't there?
Whom has Joe paralyzed with one punch à la Dempsey? No one. He rained a thousand blows on Carnera. Camera finished on his feet. Baer finished on one knee, got up quickly and walked out. I can name a half-dozen cases where Louis grew arm-weary trying to flatten a washed-up trial horse or a fading ex-champion.
Every one wonders whether Louis "can take it." He has been matched so shrewdly his backers themselves cannot answer this question. He has fought two types of boxers, brave ones and timid ones, and he has been lucky. The brave could not punch hard. The timid could but wouldn't.
It doesn't take much to make cowards out of some men. Once the idea that they are meeting a new deadly and horrible bogeyman gets into their brains, it balloons through the nights until they are wrecked. They punish themselves far more brutally than Louis ever could.
And now, here is how I think the fight will go: At the first bell we will spar cautiously. I don't promise any of the reckless wild slugging attacks Max Baer promised and failed to deliver. Louis will shoot out lefts. He uses those to measure his men. They are purposely slow and purposely short to trap the stupid.
I will carry the fight close. I always work better in close. My arms are short and I punch fast. I believe I will beat Louis to many exchanges in the first round.
In the second and third the pace will step up. A brisk tattoo to the stomach, one or two telling blows to the heart, and a clever "picture" boxer immediately comes loose at the seams. Then that right fist of mine will start to whistle. I don't want any one to think I am cocky. I will not predict any particular round for an ending, but I am certain I will not only beat Louis, I will knock him out. And with a right to the chin crossed over his left lead!
Publication Date: June 13, 1936