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Heavyweight champ first boxer honored

Boxing legend Joe Louis _ known appropriately as the "Brown Bomber" _ will be honored as the subject of a 29-cent commemorative, to be released Tuesday in Detroit, Mich.

Louis is the first professional prize fighter so recognized. The issuance marks the 55th anniversary of his match in 1938 with Germany's Max Schmeling. Louis knocked him out in 2:04 of the first round in a fight that took on symbolic significance for an America that watched as Germany plunged Europe into war.

Louis won 63 of his 66 pro contests, 49 by knockouts. He still holds three heavyweight records: longest heavyweight title holder (11 years, 9 months), a 25-time title defender (more than the preceding eight heavyweight champs combined) and five first-round knockouts.

He died in 1981 and was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

For first-day postmarks, send stamped envelopes to Customer Affixed Stamps, Joe Louis Stamp, Postmaster, Detroit, MI 48120-9991. If you want the Postal Service to affix the stamps, send your envelopes and 29 cents per stamp to Joe Louis Stamp, Postmaster, Detroit, MI 48120-9992.

Orders must be postmarked by July 22.

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