Why do we say "You can run but you can't hide"?

Well-Known Expressions

You can run but you can't hide

Meaning:

You can try to escape from your real or imagined fears - but they'll catch up with you eventually.

Background:

Joe Louis' first fight with Billy Conn took place in June of 1941, at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Billy Conn was a superb, fearless boxer, but he was a natural light heavyweight. He entered the ring on the evening of the fight weighing at least 25 pounds less than the Champion.

Conn fought brilliantly, landing punches but using his skills to stay away from Louis' devastating punching power. In the 12th round, Conn landed several heavy blows and had Louis in trouble. At the close of the 12th round, Joe Louis trailed on the score cards of two of the three officials. He was being outboxed and beaten by the quicker, lighter Billy Conn. However, heartened by the effect of his punches on the Champion in the 12th round, Conn wanted to prove that he could trade punches with the Champion. When he came out for the 13th round, he abandoned his stylish boxing and began exchanging punches with the Champion. The result: Conn was knocked out by Louis with seconds remaining in the 13th round.

After World War II, in June, 1946, Louis fought a rematch with the challenger Conn. Remembering how close Louis had come to losing his Championship to Conn in 1941, boxing writers asked Louis how he would contend with the fast and cunning Conn. The Champion is said to have replied: "He can run, but he can't hide." Joe Louis was correct.

The second fight ended in the 8th round when the Champion knocked out Billy Conn for the second time.

--Raymond Goldstone

Alphabetical list of expressions

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