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I guess we should probably start out in Lafayette Alabama on May 13 1914 where I was born to the son of an Alabama sharecropper great grandson of a slave and the great great grandson of a white slave owner When I was nine years old my family and I moved to Detroit in 1924 Detroit was where I first became interested in boxing Having grown up in the old south I had acquired the instinct and anger of a true fighter I took on a strong liking to the sport and decided I was going to try boxing out I trained non stop for the next ten years without any glamour or fame I had a vision and I wasnt about to let it slip away I won the Golden Gloves as a light heavyweight which would spark my professional career as a boxer Within the first year of turning professional I won all twelve of my first bouts As soon as I reached the pros I new it would be a steep climb up the heavyweight ladder After I won more and more bouts my reputation as a boxer was growing until finally I got my big chance On June of 1935 I fought Primo Carnera the former heavyweight champion before a Yankee Stadium crowd of 6200 I knocked him out in the fourth round I have to say I was quite nervous going into the fight After the fight was over I read a quote from Ernest Hemingway describing the fight as the most disgusting public spectacle outside of a public hanging that he had ever seen I felt invincible the whole boxing world was on my side cheering me on It almost seemed I couldnt be stopped This feeling of greatness only lasted so long until my meeting with Max Schmeling on June 191936 Max was the underdog but to the surprise of all including me he gave me a defeat
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