More than the world heavyweight championship was at stake when Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling on 22 June 1938. In a world on the brink of war, the contest was projected as a test of nationalistic, racial and political ideals. It was black man against white man, a showdown between democracy and totalitarianism. No single event in the history of boxing generated as much excitement or such extremes of emotions. It was the night Louis hit a peak of fistic perfection, hardly missing a punch as he destroyed the challenger inside three brutal minutes. Following the Second World War, the two boxers' lives took contrasting turns. Louis was hounded over unpaid taxes and drifted into a hazy world of drugs, paranoia and ill health, eventually dying in 1981. Schmeling, meanwhile, became a successful businessman and remained active until his death in 2005. Ring of Hate is a gripping story of two men drawn together by their chosen profession and divided by the cruel demands of warring nations.

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