During the first half of the twentieth century, two boxers blended themselves into the acceptable definitions of what an American is. Before their arrival on the national scene, no black man was considered an acceptable American, as well as the fact that no man had helped assimilate ethnic minorities or marginalized individuals. However, two great men had the power to use their gloves to change not only the way boxing was fought, but the way African-Americans were viewed in society.
Jack Johnson was vicious inside the boxing ring, and he was ostentatious outside the ring. His domination in his first years in the ring upset a lot of white people. However, his flashy clothes and gaudy lifestyle separated him from every other boxer, white or black, that had come before. During the times when he fought and won in the ring, he gave blacks hope to achieve anything that they wanted to. They saw Johnson's success in the ring, and his success propelled blacks to believe that they could succeed, as well. Jack Johnson's ability to dominate in the ring made him a legendary boxer, as well as a true American hero. Johnson succeed through opposition from white men, and his success inspired many black people to never give up, no matter how many people are against you. Johnson may have been a controversial figure for hanging out with white women or wearing fur coats, but he helped unite blacks all over America, which helped challenged the notion or power and hierarchy in America.
Joe Louis was also an American hero, but rather for his American attitudes and decisions, rather than Johnson's controversial ones. Joe Louis was the heavyweight champion of the world when he beat Primo Carnera at Yankee Stadium in 1935. His win was not only a win for Joe Louis, was not only a win for the African-American race, but it was a win for all Americans. With the crisis going on in Ethiopia, his win was not only a win for Louis; it was a win for America over Mussolini.