The boxing glove Joe Louis used to knock out Germany’s Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in 1938 today sits bronzed, engraved, and on display inside Detroit’s Cobo Center. But another glove from that historic fight awaits a permanent home. Under the care of Detroit podiatrist Stuart Kirschenbaum, who has collected more than 1,000 pieces of boxing memorabilia, the Brown Bomber’s glove is set to highlight a future Michigan Boxing Hall of Fame in Detroit.
“We just received our nonprofit status for the Hall of Fame, and I want to loan or donate my entire collection,” says Kirschenbaum, Michigan’s boxing commissioner from 1981 to 1992. “The legacy of boxing in Michigan is deep and must be preserved for future generations.”
Joining the doctor’s quest — several venues have inquired about hosting his collection — is Hilmer Kenty, who won his first boxing title at Joe Louis Arena in 1980. “Joe Louis was in the crowd [that night], and I’ll never forget what it meant to fight in front of a legend,” says Kenty, 52, now a personal trainer. “I dedicated my win to him before the fight.”
While boxing’s popularity has waned in recent years, Kirschenbaum, 63, notes the number of boxing champions from Detroit is impressive. “There are eight heavyweight champions who called Detroit home, and not to have a Hall of Fame [here] is negligent,” he says. “Plus I’ve run out of walls [on which] to display my collection, and my wife won’t allow it in the house — [not even] my Andy Warhol prints of Muhammad Ali.”