A Slice of History From Detroit Rock City

Music and boxing may not quite go together like peanut butter & jelly, but in Detroit’s long history of both, there is one figure who became a legend in music and fought on the same bill as a legend in boxing. Berry Gordy Jr. is the name that put Motown on the map and brought the soul and spirit of Detroit music to the masses, but before he founded the Motown sound, he tried out a career as a professional boxer. Dropping out of high school in eleventh grade to pursue this dream, Berry Gordy Jr. was in the featherweight division and fought 17 professional matches, winning 12 of them with 5 KOs total before he ended his boxing career in 1950. In 1948 at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, Berry Gordy Jr. fought on the same bill that another well-known Detroiter was on, “The Brown Bomber” Joe Louis. Following his boxing career, Berry Gordy Jr. joined the Army and served in Korea for 3 years, and then returned to the U.S. to pursue music and songwriting…the rest is Motown history.


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