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Joe Louis: America’s Hero, Betrayed

Debuting February 23 on HBO

On Saturday February 23, and in honor of black history month, HBO Sports will be present its poignant documentary JOE LOUIS: AMERICA'S HERO, BETRAYED, a touching retrospective of the life of the legendary boxer and his tremendous impact on segregated America.

Louis was the original crossover athlete, a star in both white and black America, at a time when the country was falling into war and desperately needed heroes. When the "Brown Bomber" entered the ring, the world stood still. His 1938 defeat of Germany's Max Schmeling was interpreted as democracy's defeat of Nazism, boosting public morale and transforming Louis into a true American hero.

Joseph Louis Barrow began life as the grandson of slaves in Lafayette, Alabama, and ended up holding the world heavyweight title for 11 consecutive years, successfully defending it a record 25 consecutive times. In the process, he became the poster boy for the American way of life who showed the world what a person of color could do if given the opportunity.

Later in life, Louis maintained his dignity through several setbacks, including serious financial trouble with the IRS. He died a poor old man in Las Vegas, supported with a monthly check from Frank Sinatra.

JOE LOUIS: AMERICA'S HERO, BETRAYED debuts Saturday, February 23 on HBO. The documentary will be seen 8:00-9:15 p.m. ET; the PT debut will begin at approximately 9:00 p.m., immediately following the live HBO Sports event "World Championship Boxing: Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sultan Ibragimov," which begins at 6:30 p.m. PT.

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