Carnera Primed for Joe Louis Fight

Damon Runyon

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader/June 1, 1935

New York,  June 1. Primo Carnera has pitched his training camp at Auburn, New York, and has commenced training for his fight with Joe Louis, “The Dark Dynamiter,” at the Yankee Stadium late in June.

The big Italian is mighty serious about this battle.

A large number of boxing experts have promised that Louis will knock him into the middle of September. Primo realizes that if this happens his day as heavyweight contender is done.

And, strangely enough, the huge simple chap, who found little glory, or money, in the heavyweight title during the short time he held it, now wants that title back more than he wants anything else on earth.

He feels that accident robbed him of any chance he might have had of successfully defending his title against Max Baer, the accident of a turned ankle in the first round of their battle a year ago. Some scoffed at Primo’s tale of the turned ankle at the time, but the long surgical treatment he underwent after the fight indicates that he must have been injured.

He gave a demonstration of great gameness that night, always trying to carry the fight to Baer, and he was obviously convinced himself that he might have won had he been able to move around better. He also thinks he was handicapped by the absence of Bill Duffy from his corner, as well as from his training camp, and no matter what anybody else thinks, old “Satchel Feet” will have to be licked again by Baer before he concedes Max’s superiority.

Follows Dempsey System

Carnera went to Hot Springs, Ark., some weeks ago and put in some hard licks climbing hills, playing golf, taking the baths and in general laying a foundation for the stiffer work of the training camp system that Jack Dempsey used to follow.

He returned to New York in much better physical condition than he has been in a long time. Carnera is no different from any other fighter in that he dislikes training. But Bill Duffy Is with him again, and the fistic fancy concedes that Duffy knows how to get a fighter ready, especially Carnera. He works some sort of spell over the big man.

The boxing experts who have been freely predicting a knockout of Carnera by Louis may be surprised to learn Duffy’s opinion of the matter. He went out to Detroit to see Louis fight Natie Brown, and he thinks “The Dark Dynamiter” is just what the doctor ordered for Primo. He admits that Louis is a great young fighter, that with more experience he may be one of the greatest the game has ever known.

But Duffy thinks the young fellow’s style is exactly suited to Carnera. Louis is a short puncher. Duffy does not believe a short puncher can reach the towering Carnera’s whiskers. A rock thrower, like Baer, is more dangerous to Primo.

Must Be Phenom

The writer has never seen Louis in action, but from what all the veteran boxing men and boxing writers who have seen him say the boy must be a phenom.

Nate Lewis, old-time manager and promoter of Chicago, who has seen Louis develop from an amateur, and who was here for the Ross-McLarnin fight, said to us: “I have to laugh when I hear talk about Louis’s lack of experience as compared to Carnera. Louis has had perhaps 150 fights, amateur and professional. There isn’t a twist or turn of the game he doesn’t know right now. He is the greatest natural fighter I’ve seen in years.

“He has been amazingly well schooled. He never makes a mistake. He can knock a man out with either hand. He is ice-cold in the ring—shifty, crafty and deadly. Wait until you see him, that’s all.”

When a man of Lewis’s judgment talks this way, you must listen to him. Nate has seen thousands of fighters come and go, and rarely enthuses over one. When the writer suggested that he had never yet seen a heavyweight develop into a great fighter in less than three or four years, he said:

“Well, Jim Jeffries became heavyweight champion of the world in eleven fights, and I think Louis is as good now as Jeffries was when he won the title.

Carnera No Puncher

Carnera is not a great puncher. He is more of a mauler. But he is tremendously rough, very fast for big man, and has a good left hand. When he was a mere tyro, he fought George Godfrey, then accounted the best of the Negro heavyweights, and was giving George a beating when “The Black Shadow” fouled out.

Since then Carnera has had scores of battles, and for three years has been one of the top-notch heavyweights of the world. If Joe Louis can beat him then Joseph must be quite a fighter.

According to Louis Coresi, Carnera’s manager, Primo is in a much different mood than when he trained for Baer. The Italian inclined to be very temperamental, and likes to have things his own way, and his own way is not always the best way for a gladiator.

But Soresi says that since his defeat by Baer, the giant has been a changed man, thinking only of his future. He is earnest and tractable and goes through every detail of training with great sincerity. He wants that heavyweight title again, perhaps realizing its possibilities now that it is gone from him, and he is anxious to fight every man that stands between him and Baer, beginning with Louis.


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