I looked through hundreds of Joe Louis’ pictures today before I finally found two from the Main Street Gym. Of course, since these are from 1939, this is the old Main Street Gym.
Photograph by Maurice Terrell / Los Angeles Times
Here’s Louis on March 28, 1939, with a local fighter named Ernest
"Dynamite" Jackson, a Pacific Coast heavyweight champion who later
became the first African American to get a referee’s license.
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times
This is Louis sparring with Paul Williams at the Main Street Gym in a photo published April 16, 1939, shortly before Louis’ bout with Jack Roper on April 17, 1939, at Wrigley Field. Roper lasted 2 minutes, 20 seconds with Louis.
I remember Howie Steinler’s Main Street Gym from the 1960’s. Since I worked in the downtown area (11th & Broadway) some of us would spend our lunch hour watching the boxers train after paying Howie his small entry fee. That’s where I first saw Al Sharpton, who was then just another one in Don King’s travelling party. Right across the street was ‘Johnny’s Shrimp Boat,’ a small take-out joint where you could buy 6 In A Bag, (6 breaded shrimp with rice, gravy, and beans in a paper sack) for a $1, to eat while in the Gym. Plus the buck that you had to give the old wino out front to watch your car. Believe me, for that price you couldn’t beat it. Too bad that Howie ended up shot to death and dumped in the trunk of a car. Although I really enjoyed my visits to ‘Skid Row,’ I always had my guard up, unlike Howie, I guess.
Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba