Though public speaking wasn't his thing, Joe Louis nevertheless put a few sayings into the American language, such as "We are on God's side," during World War II, and "He can run, but he can't hide," a statement he made before his rematch with Billy Conn in 1946. But he was actually a little more quotable than these one-offs suggest, and not always as deadly serious, either. He had a wry sense of humor and a gift for getting to the nub of a matter without the language clutter that often afflicts better-educated speakers.
And he could make you smile. In 1958, the retired Louis, speaking with Sports Illustrated about Roy Harris after Harris came up short in his challenge to heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, summed it up as neatly as anyone can:
"When a man that punch get in the ring with a man that can't punch, the man that can't punch he better be awful fancy and this man just ain't fancy enough."