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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Igor Lazarev Fights on February 13 in Ukraine

Lightweight Igor Lazarev is scheduled to fight in Kiev, Ukraine on February 13. His opponent for the contest will be Zekeriya Kina of Turkey.

Lazarev (7-1, 3 KOs) suffered his first pro loss on September 20 last year to Binali Shakhmandarov. He came back in December to win by first round knockout against Hazan Ozdemir.

Kina (0-2) is 20 years old, fourteen years younger than Igor. He started his professional career in November with a decision loss to another debutant. He last fought on December 10 against Romic Airapetean, who was 7-0 heading into the fight. After showing decent skill in the opening round, Kina retired after the third round of the bout.

Airepetean and Lazarev have similar styles. Both are aggressive fighters who go to the body and then come up top. Kina was overwhelmed by Airepetean's pressure in their December fight, but in fairness to Kina, the ring was the size of an infant's crib. At about ten feet by ten feet, the ring was so small Romic and Zekriya could almost shake hands in between rounds from their opposing corners. And poor Marik Dzhangutinov, the referee, couldn't get out of the way of the action. The smaller ring undoubtedly aided Airepetean because he pressured and hit harder.

Lazarev has fought 32 professional rounds while Kina has seven rounds of pro experience.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Chilemba to Face Chudinov

Isaac Chilemba is schedule to face Fedor Chudinov on February 20 in Russia. This bout was originally scheduled for March 21, 2020 but was postponed indefinitely due to travel restrictions relating to covid-19.

Because of the pandemic, Chilemba (26-7-2, 10 KOs) hasn't fought since December 2019 when he beat Alexander Kubich in Greece. Chilemba weighed 188.25 pounds for that fight. The fight with Chudinov is reportedly a super middleweight bout, which  means the 32 year old from Malawi will have to come in under twenty pounds lighter for this contest.

Chudinov (23-2, 16 KOs) is a 33 year old pressure fighter from Russia. As mentioned in last year's preview of the fight, Chudinov's career includes losses to Felix Sturm and George Groves, but defeats of Nadjib Mohammedi and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam.

The 5'9" battler fought Umar "Top Boxer" Sadiq last September 11. BoxRec lists the location as Russia, but according to video evidence of the fight it might have taken place in an alternate universe where coronavirus doesn't exist as mostly maskless fans packed into the Khimki Basketball Center. Chudinov started slowly, plodding forward as Sadiq outboxed him in the early rounds. Fedor heated up in the fifth and Sadiq faded soon after before catching a second wind. Chudinov landed the harder punches and in the twelfth, he caught Sadiq in the corner and unloaded a blizzard of shots which forced the referee to step in and stop it.

While Sadiq, a resident of the United Kingdom, is a talented and athletic boxer who effectively uses quick feet and upperbody movement, he doesn't possess the superior technique or experience of Chilemba. Umar used up too much jittery energy early avoiding Chudinov's pressure and left himself open after touching the Russian. This was Sadiq's first fight outside of the UK and only his twelfth pro fight.

Chilemba, who has fought nearly all the best light heavyweights of his era, is always self-contained in the ring. He is an expert defensive fighter, a good jabber, and a precise counterpuncher, which could make for an effective style against Chudinov. Younger than his opponent, Chilemba has nonetheless been in many more tough fights, experienced a long layoff, and is traveling halfway around the world to Russia in the dead of winter, so there is a possibility that he comes out flat. He had a five inch height advantage and his reach is an inch longer.

Monday, January 18, 2021

A Look Back: Al Singer

The Jewish Boxing Blog is continuing a series called "A Look Back" in an effort to link the past with the present through a profile of notable former Jewish boxers.

July 17, 1930
Al Singer stands across  a ring from the longtime world lightweight champion, Sammy Mandell, on a balmy Thursday night in Yankee Stadium. The "Rockford Sheikh" is an Italian immigrant who fights out of the "Screw Capital of the World" in northern Illinois. The 26 year old battles under a Jewish moniker, with an Arab nickname, and is of Italian heritage. He won the lightweight title four years earlier with a ten-round points victory over another Italian-American battler Rocky "Little Hercules" Kansas.

Singer only turned professional the year after Mandell won the championship. Born twenty years ago to a lady's garment entrepreneur and his wife, Abraham was one of five kids: four sons and a daughter. He spent his formative years living on Broome Street in New York's Lower East Side, before the family found a fancier place in Harlem. The Singers next moved all around the Bronx when his dad's business boomed and then settled in Pelham, a middle class neighborhood just south of Mount Vernon.

For his first title fight Singer had a good camp in Pennsylvania's Delaware Water Gap, about a hundred miles east of home. He broke camp two days prior, on Tuesday, after sparring two rounds each with eleven-year pro Lou Paluso, New York club fighter Jackie Schweitzer, and the unknown Sammy Bender before heading back home to the Bronx. Mandell trained closer to Yankee Stadium at Gus Wilson's Roadside Rest in Orangeburg, just north of New York's border with New Jersey on the west bank of the Hudson River. He last sparred four rounds with three undersized partners on Monday, and he nearly knocked out one, a youngster named Peter Gutherie. Mandell slid under the lightweight limit that day but stayed in camp until Wednesday.

Abraham's original plan wasn't to box for the lightweight championship. He planned to become a diamond cutter, but he was simply too good an athlete. His first love was basketball, but the sport didn't offer any financial stability in the 1920s even for the best players. It didn't help that if you rounded up, Abraham stood 5'5". He took to boxing like a natural and found fast success as an amateur. That's when he picked up the first name Al.

On Tuesday, Westbrook Pegler's article in the Chicago Daily Tribune brought up a curious allegation: Mandell's having trouble trimming down to 135 and this fight's a ruse in order to sell the crown to Singer. Mandell's manager, Eddie Kane, denies the charge. As does Singer's camp.

Singer's no stranger to talk of fixes. As an amateur, Hymie Caplan and Harry Drucker saw promise in Al and took over the reins of his career. According to Ken Blady, Singer later claimed that Drucker was taken from a restaurant in 1928 by two men disguised as detectives and was never seen again. The fall of 1927 was a bad season for guys named Harry Drucker from the Bronx. An affable garage owner by that name, who possessed no known enemies, was shot in September. The garage owner was supposedly a victim of gang violence but wouldn't help with the investigation. Another Harry Drucker was described as a criminal and murdered by Rubin Kaplan on October 7. Kaplan claimed Drucker squawked too much like a boastful canary. Men disguised as detectives convinced this Drucker to leave a restaurant and enter their car.

Despite the rumors, the Drucker saga likely didn't signify Singer's entry into an association with the mob. Rumors swirled that some of Al's early fights were fixed, but his brother Dan, not someone linked with the mob, took over the deceased Drucker's role. Regardless, Singer isn't worried about Harry Drucker or the mob in the ring. He's concerned about this unfamiliar "abdominal guard" that is supposed to render a low blow moot.

Two weeks earlier, the New York Commission changed the foul rule and clarified the new rule last week. Low blows had been cause for disqualification before the rule adjustment, but now the perpetrator would only lose the round. Last month- on June 12- at this same venue, the "Boston Gob" Jack Sharkey clearly outboxed Max Schmeling through nearly four full rounds when he whacked the German low with a left hook. Schmeling, who had been rushing forward, fell in a heap. His men had to drag him to his corner he was in such pain. Referee Jim Crowley actually missed it and conferred with judges Harold Barnes and Charles Mathison. Under this new rule, the referee couldn't ask anyone else. Since Crowley didn't see the lowblow, Schmeling would have lost by KO. The New York Commission would change the rule again in 1936.

Mandel is expected to outbox Singer just as Sharkey did Schmeling last month. Experts believe he has the fastest hands in the lightweight division and superior ring generalship. Agile with an educated left hand, Mandel had perhaps his best performance in masterfully outboxing Jimmy McLarnin two years earlier.

The champion sparred five impressive rounds on Saturday before peaking on Tuesday with his near knockout of Gutherie. Singer isn't credited with the all-around gifts of Mandell, but most experts pin his hopes on his power, particularly in his right.

On Sunday, The Washington Post ran a story on Singer's right hand. In Saturday's sparring, Singer used a "short powerful right which gathered all its speed in 8 to 10 inches." He was no longer slugging with his sparring partners, a necessary adjustment against the defensively slick Mandell. While Mandell looked good at the end of camp, there have been some worrying signs from the Rockford man in general. He lost two decisions to McLarnin in over-the-weight bouts within the last year. Back in '28, Sammy broke his collarbone in an over-the-limit fight against Jimmy Goodrich, resulting in a second round TKO loss and a four-month absence from the ring. Mandell hasn't made the 135 pound limit since his last title defense, a split decision win over Tony Canzoneri in Chicago about a year ago.

Singer's boxing ability is a bit underrated too. His nickname is the "Bronx Beauty" because he is from the Bronx and he is a handsome man. But he also boxes handsomely, moving gracefully. Senator Wild Bill Lyons wrote of Singer in The Ring, "He hits with the kick of a [Benny] Leonard, has the cunning of an [Abe] Attell, and combines the cleverness of both." Though many experts pick Mandell, Singer is a three to one favorite by the time the opening bell rings.

Mandell paws with the jab after hearing that opening bell. Singer initiates the violence with a lead left hook to the body. Mandell grimaces. After circling to their respective lefts for two full rotations, Singer feints and fires a lead left hook that crashes into the champion's chin. The Rockford Sheikh drops to the canvas. He unwisely rises at the count of two, and Singer pounces. Mandell retreats. The younger Bronx boy lands his left hooks and short rights as the ropes impede Mandell's backpedaling. The champ then collapses. No single punch does the trick; he has simply been pounded silly. He rises but after another left hook to the body, he can't keep his hands up anymore. Singer senses the title is his and refuses to relent. After a left hook that snaps Sammy's head back, Mandell falls a third time. Improbably, he gets up again, barely conscious. Singer lands a right and left combination that flings Mandell back into the ropes. He ricochets off the ropes and into Singer's short powerful right. Referee Arthur Donovan swings his arm by rote ten times while Mandell lays motionless. The former champion's corner men collect him and carry him to the corner.

The fight lasts only a minute and 46 seconds and is one of the shortest bouts ever in which the title changes hands. Al Singer, the light heavyweight champion of the world, is elated as are the Bronx faithful in attendance.

August 7, 1930
In the frenetic moments following his unforgettable win, the champion is quickly hailed as the second-coming of the great Benny Leonard, the legendary Jewish lightweight who had initially retired as champion five years earlier. Just as quickly, the critics question the legitimacy of Singer's victory and the quality of the new champion.

Leonard was lightweight champion from 1917-1925. Every Jewish boy has idolized "The Ghetto Wizard" since he lifted the title from Freddie Welsh in '17.  His legacy has hovered over each subsequent Jewish kid hoping to reach pugilistic greatness. Comparisons to Benny have hung like a pall over any lighter Jew who found success in the ring. Most experts consider him the greatest Jewish fighter of all time, with Abe Attell, the longtime featherweight champion from San Francisco whose reign covered most of the first decade of the 20th century, the only competition for the honor.

The "Second Benny Leonard" solidifies as Singer's new moniker although critics amend the nickname to the "so-called Second Benny Leonard." Leonard himself had picked Singer to knockout Mandell because he possessed "the youth, the recuperative powers and the punch." But Leonard cautions against the comparison with himself. "The fans remember me as I was at the very height of my career as active champion of the world," the great former champion explains, "He still is a youngster, an undergraduate in the great school of boxing."

On July 19, two days after Singer captures the title, Westbrook Pegler, a curmudgeon beyond his years, proclaims Kid Chocolate to be the real lightweight champion. "Singer is not the prizefighter he may seem to be," Pegler declares in the wake of Singer's knockout victory over Mandell." Kid Chocolate "is undoubtedly the best prizefighter, pound for pound, in the business at the present time." He continues, "If he were a heavyweight, neither Sharkey nor Schmeling would lay a glove on him."

Eligio Sardiñas Montalvo was born on the sixth day of 1910 in Havana, the capital of the newly independent Cuba. He began boxing professionally in his homeland as a 17 year old before moving to New York to fight- first in Long Island, then Brooklyn, and soon Manhattan- a year later. Eligio transformed into Kid Chocolate and also is sometimes referred to as the Cuban Bon Bon. While reporters such as Pegler laud his gifts in the ring, they smother their columns in the all-to-commonplace racism in which white sportswriters traffic. 

An unofficial ban remains on black fighters vying for the heavyweight championship, a result of the famed Jack Johnson's unapologetic flouting of racist mores that are still common in America. Johnson lost the title in 1915, and no black boxer has had an opportunity to regain it since. The embargo of black fighters at lower weights is less stringent, however. Battling Siki at light heavyweight, Tiger Flowers at middleweight, and Panama Al Brown at bantamweight all won world titles in the 1920s. Young Jack Thompson won the welterweight championship when he beat Jackie Fields in May. Brown and Thompson join Singer as current champions.

Singer has placed a ban of sorts on Kid Chocolate. He refuses to fight the Cuban challenger because Kid Chocolate is in a different weight class. "Singer bars him because he is a featherweight," Pegler writes, "a strange objection considering that the weights were divided to protect the lighter man." Pegler sees this as an excuse masking the real reason for Singer's barring. "Kid Chocolate can lick Al Singer... and Al Singer is among those who know this."

Kid Chocolate was 41-0-1, although some newspaper reports listed him as undefeated in over 150 fights, when he entered the ring in front of 45,000 fans at the Polo Grounds on August 29, 1929, ten and a half months before Singer stopped Mandell. His opponent was partaking in his fiftieth pro fight and had secured 42 victories, two draws, and five losses. 

Kid started slowly and was clipped by a left hook at the end of the first. Al Singer, a two to one favorite, managed to penetrate the Cuban's expert defense by landing body shots with both hands. Chocolate took control in the third when Singer made a strategic mistake by trying to outbox the supreme boxer. Chocolate was able to back up Singer against the ropes in the third and fourth. His plan was to land body shots to weaken Singer's anticipated pressure, and it worked. A jab and left hook combination at the end of the third helped the Cuban's cause.

The fifth round featured the Bronx Beauty connecting with a right and following it up with a left that nearly floored the Cuban Bon Bon. Kid Chocolate fought back and had Singer against the ropes again by the end of the round. Singer boxed in the sixth and a right grazed Kid's chin early, but Kid returned to his body attack in the second half of the round. Most observers scored the round even. The seventh was another tossup round in which Singer fought well on the inside but perhaps spent too much time boxing from the outside. The fight shifted towards the Cuban in the eighth.

In that round, the smaller Chocolate stunned Singer with a right to the jaw. Al spent most of the round retreating or holding in between a few flashes of fighting. Kid won the ninth with his body attack, pausing only briefly after eating a hard right.

Singer got back into the fight back in the tenth and won the eleventh. He punctuated the round with a right uppercut that sent Chocolate back to the ropes. Both fighters gave way to desperation in the twelfth and final round as Mayor Jimmy Walker and his opponent in the upcoming election Fiorello La Guardia looked on, all knowing the outcome was in the balance. One judge, George Kelly, favored the Bronx boy while another, Charles Mathison, scored the bout for the man from Havana. The crowd booed vociferously when referee Lou Magnolia's card was announced for Kid Chocolate. Benny Leonard unofficially scored it a draw.

Three weeks after Singer won the title, August 7 to be exact, the man reporters have derisively call the "Keed" steps into the ring again at the Polo Grounds. Newspapers report that Kid hasn't lost a bout in 167 tries although discernable records indicate he was probably something like 55-0-1. He's in tough, but a win will rev up the pressure on Singer to lift his ban. His opponent is comfortably under the lightweight limit, but nearly ten pounds heavier than Chocolate, who tipped the scales at 124.

Jackie "Kid" Berg talks like he's from the Lower East Side instead of his actual hometown, Whitechapel, England. The Whitechapel Whirlwind, who just so happens to be the current junior welterweight champion, towers over the Cuban Bon Bon as they meet in the center of the ring to exchange blows for this nontitle affair. Berg doesn't use his height. Instead, he unleashes his typical relentless barrage of punches. It's not always pretty, but Berg is the clear aggressor in the fight.

Kid Chocolate dominates Berg when the shorter man boxes, but too often he chooses to ignore his corner to the thrill of about 35,000 spectators. Chocolate's slick defense and movement at times embarrasses the English Jew, but Berg never deviates from his game plan and finishes strong.

Judge Charles Mathison, who scored for Kid Chocolate in the Singer fight, gives the Cuban seven of the ten rounds. But referee Patsy Haley and judge Joe Agnello see it 6-2 and 5-3 respectively for Berg, who sheepishly raises his hand to the dismay of the crowd who jeer the decision. A number of pundits disagree with the official result, but all acknowledge it was a close fight.

September 11, 1930
Kid Chocolate's close loss proves a perfect excuse for Singer to snub him. Some of Chocolate's backers continue to push for a chance to meet the Bronx Beauty, but Chocolate would have to wait over a year for a shot at the lightweight championship. He would win the junior lightweight title in July of 1931 and the fighting champion would hold the belt for two and a half years.

Meanwhile, the public pushes Jackie Berg into the championship conversation almost immediately after his controversial victory. The Madison Square Garden Corporation sets September 11 as the date for a title bout between the two Jewish battlers. But both Singer and Berg want more money than the Garden is offering. Singer's manager Hymie Caplan devises another plan. An over-the-weight nontitle fight at Yankee Stadium with a tough Canadian, former world title challenger Jimmy McLarnin.

McLarnin, who turned pro in 1923, had lost his lone title challenge to Sammy Mandell in 1928 by way of fifteen-round unanimous decision. Since that fight, McLarnin has wins over Stanislaus Loayza, a former lightweight title challenger from Chile, Ruby "Jewel of the Ghetto" Goldstein, two wins over Mandell in non-title bouts, and one against Young Jack Thompson just before he beat Jackie Fields for the welterweight crown. After each one, McLarnin does a celebratory cartwheel.

McLarnin has also cartwheeled after fights with a young Jackie Fields, a young Fidel LaBarba twice, Bud Taylor, Kid Kaplan, Sid Terris, and Pacho Villa ten days before he died. It's an impressive resume for a man yet to win his first title.

Singer, the champion, has been moved through the ranks much more cautiously. He started in 1927 with a few four-rounders before fighting in quite a number of six-rounders through 1928. He only fought two eight-rounders before his first ten-rounder at the end of '28. In 1929, he beat Bud Taylor twice prior to facing a journeyman from the Philippines named Ignacio Fernandez. Fernandez possessed a granite chin and could punch, but had 15 losses on his ledger when he entered the ring against Singer. Al had suffered an eye injury that would plague him for the rest of his life in a win against Eddie Wagner immediately before facing Fernandez. It took three rounds for Singer's career to crumble after a knockout loss.

Al came back in his next fight to beat the capable Canadian featherweight champ Leo "Kid" Roy, the first of six straight wins in ten round fights before looking impressive in that split decision loss to Kid Chocolate. The win over Mandell was his tenth straight following the Chocolate fight. In that run, the Bronx boy beat Loayza by hanging on to finish the tenth and final round, and earned revenge against Fernandez.

For the Singer-McLarnin fight, the radio airways lay quiet. The Mandell-Singer gate was deemed too disappointing, so to drum up attendance, boxing aficionados either have to come out to the Bronx or read the results in the paper tomorrow. Reports immediately following the fight declared 45,000 in the Polo Grounds on July 17, but either those estimates were too high or it behooves the Garden Corporation to downplay the fight's success. Promoter Jimmy Johnston notes that Singer sells out places, but early ticket sales for the McLarnin bout fizzle. Perhaps the Great Depression, nearly a year old, is playing a roll in lagging attendance.

Those involved had hoped for as many as 40,000 fans, but certainly more than 30,000. Instead only 25,000 fans grace Yankee Stadium to watch Singer, a half pound over the lightweight limit stare down McLarnin, who weighs nearly five pounds heavier at 140 and is a 7-5 favorite.

Singer is slick on the outside during the first two rounds. McLarnin struggles to maneuver close enough to touch the champion. The crowd feels that sense of excitement well up in their chests when one is witnessing the emergence of greatness. Singer really is the reincarnation of the great Benny Leonard!

In the third for a brief moment, Singer stays within McLarnin's reach. A left snaps back Singer's head. Suddenly, Singer grabs the back of his neck with his right glove and retreats. He's in agony but quickly gains his composure and fights on. Singer manages to connect with a hard right against his iron-faced foe.

McLarnin answers with a left hook and a right cross. Singer collapses clutching his neck. The champion is face first on the canvas kicking his feet like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Assuming he's won, McLarnin cartwheels in celebration only to land in front of a standing Singer who had risen at the count of nine and gamely begins launching punches.

The next time McLarnin lands, Singer grips his neck again, which is a fatal mistake. McLarnin now has free range to punish Singer at will and it only take a couple more shots before Al falls to the canvas. He won't beat referee Johnny McEvoy's count.

November 14, 1930
Jimmy McLarnin would end Benny Leonard's comeback in 1932 and finally win his first world championship, the welterweight crown, the following year. He won it a second time in '34 by avenging a loss to Barney Ross.

Meanwhile, Al Singer has another over-the-weight nontitle bout. This time he meets the Alamosa Flash, Eddie Mack. Mack, born Pedro Quintana, boasts a college degree and signed up for law school earlier in the fall. The bout is held on October 14 in Chicago Stadium. Barney Ross and heavyweight contender King Levinsky are also on the card.

In an uninspiring fight, Mack spends most of the ten rounds in survival mode. He lands crunching blows in the second and again in the ninth rounds, both with his head, not his fists. Singer suffers a nasty cut over his left eye from the second round head butt. The ninth round butt is so infuriating, Singer refuses to accept Mack's apology. Despite dealing with little incoming fire, the champion fails to impress. His most effective punch is a left hook to the groan, a foul for which he's repeatedly warned. In front of fewer than 10,000 fans, Singer wins, but Levinsky and Ross steal the show with sensational knockouts.

After the fight, Hymie Caplan does Singer no favors. The manager schedules a title bout with Tony Canzoneri, a former featherweight world champion.

Singer had met Canzoneri on December 14, 1928. The fight signified the prodigy's first serious test. It was his first ten rounder, and his first fight against a former champion. The two men had sparred years before, and Singer was confident heading into this clash. In an interview with his idol the great Benny, Singer said, "I know I can outbox him, Mr. Leonard, and I intend to box him. I'll offset any little edge in strength, if he has any." Held before 21,000 fans at Madison Square Garden- a record for the venue- both men weighed 128 pounds for the fight.

A Louisianan, Canzoneri fought in Brooklyn during much of his early career, which began in 1925. Two years later, he fought Bud Taylor twice for the vacant bantamweight title. The first fight was a draw, and he lost a unanimous decision in the rematch. Joe Choynski, an ex-heavyweight great, refereed both contests. Later in the year, Tony won a unanimous decision over Johnny Dundee to win the featherweight crown. He beat Bud Taylor in a nontitle fight and defended against Benny Bass before losing a split decision and the belt to Andre Routis in 1928.

Tony had won two fights, one just six days before the Singer bout, since losing the title. Singer was a slight favorite heading in despite Canzoneri's pedigree. The more experienced man rushed forward early in the fight and effectively pounded Al's body. Singer recovered a bit in the second, but in the fourth Canzoneri landed a one-two combination that forced the Bronx Beauty to hold. Singer shrewdly changed tactics and began boxing more.

In the sixth, Singer landed one of what would become his patented rights that shook the former champ, but Tony just smiled. Singer went after the body down the stretch. Surprisingly, the veteran of three 15-rounders, a 12-rounder, and countless ten-round battles faded while Singer, who had fought past six rounds in only two previous fights, gained strength. Judge Harold Barnes favored Canzoneri while judge Tom Flynn and referee Lou Magnolia overruled Barnes and deemed it a majority draw. The Associate Press report from the fight exclaims the crowd "booed lustily." Writing for The New York Times, James P. Dawson describes the scene a bit differently.

"Announcement of the verdict was awaited with intense silence by the throng, violently pro-Singer," Dawson writes, "and when it came, a roar of applause drowned out the cries of the disapproving ones." So, perhaps, the crowd's reaction depended upon where one sat. Most ringside observes, including the AP reporter and Dawson, scored the clash for Canzoneri.

Canzoneri's first attempt at gaining the lightweight championship came on August 2, 1929 at Chicago Stadium. Sammy Mandell beat him by split decision in a ten-round affair. Since the Mandell loss, Canzoneri has beaten Benny Bass, Stanislaus Loayza twice, lost a split decision to Jackie Berg, and decisioned the credible Joe Glick. But he lost his last fight to future Hall of Famer Billy Petrolle on points in September.

This will be Singer's second scheduled fifteen-rounder, and the first one lasted just a minute and 46 seconds when he won the title from Mandell in July. Al has only fought once past the tenth round, the bout against Kid Chocolate. Canzoneri's already fought the championship distance of fifteen rounds three times. But Tony is shorter and Singer's punching power greater, so the champ is a 9-5 favorite heading into fight night.

Promoters worry about a small gate at Madison Square Garden amid fans' skepticism of the champion. Singer is anxious to prove the loss to McLarnin was an aberration.

About 16,000 fans pile into Madison Square Garden, a respectable number buoyed by a reduction in ticket prices as the fight draws near. Canzoneri and Singer are bouncing in the ring waiting for the opening bell just past 9:30pm.

They both open the fight pawing with their jab and fall into a clinch. After referee Johnny McAvoy breaks them, they both return to showing the jab. Singer creeps in close and lands a right before falling into Canzoneri once again. Both work the body before McAvoy separates them. Canzoneri then crouches down and fires a leaping left hook that smacks Singer's chin. Singer swings wildly to keep the stout Italian off of him. Canzoneri crouches down once again and unleashes another leaping left hook.

The champion plummets to the canvas grasping his neck with his right glove in a scene reminiscent of his disastrous third round against McLarnin two months before. He stirs at McAvoy's count of seven and rises just in time to fall again, rolling underneath the ropes and nearly out of the ring entirely.

McAvoy has counted him out. Canzoneri kicks up his feet in glee as rosin from the ring visibly rises. In only a minute and six seconds of fighting- shorter than his fight against Mandell four months earlier- Al Singer's first title defense and his championship reign is over. The pro-Singer crowd turns on their former hero, booing boisterously as he groggily stumbles to the dressing room. The fickle crowd cheers the new champion as he follows.

The left hooks do such damage that Singer is still out of it minutes later when Benny Leonard passes by and offers his condolences on the fight; Al awkwardly calls his hero "Ike." While Singer couldn't recognize Leonard, very little of Leonard could be recognizable in Singer. No one will mistake him the great Benny's reincarnation ever again.

While taking seven months off, an eternity in those days, Singer argues with Hymie Caplan, the manager who put him in with Canzoneri so soon after the McLarnin loss. The argument becomes so heated, the two exchange blows and Caplan, fired, receives two black eyes as severance. After his layoff, Al wins his next five prizefights against lesser opposition. Meanwhile Canzoneri would beat Jackie Berg to add the junior welterweight world title to his resume. On December 11, 1931, the Bronx Beauty has one more shot to redeem his career in a rematch against Kid Chocolate.

After scoring a knockout on December 1, Kid Chocolate's wrists are cuffed and he's brought to jail. Chocolate faces extradition to Cuba on charges of abduction and seduction of his 17 year old fiancé Rosario Mara. The girl's father files the charges on account that Chocolate hadn't yet married his daughter. Kid thought he had "by proxy" but is willing to go through a ceremony if it'll allow his career to continue. In any event, Chocolate is off the December 11 card and Bat Battalino, the world featherweight champion from Connecticut, accepts a nontitle fight with Singer.

Battalino batters Singer around the Madison Square Garden ring in front of 20,000 fans for three minutes and 31 seconds before referee Patsy Haley halts the fight. Bat bats Al into the women's clothing business. It would be nearly four years until Singer enters a professional boxing ring again. He scores three KOs in his last four fights, all wins against lesser opponents and retires for good before he turns thirty years old.

In his post-boxing career, Al owns cabarets, sells mutual funds, works in real estate, and becomes a boxing judge. He enlists in the armed services during World War II and boxes exhibitions for the soldiers, exempt from combat on account of his bad eye. He gets into a wild brawl in 1960 and finds himself in the hospital. The man who had been pegged as the next Benny Leonard suffers a heart attack and dies on April 20, 1961.

Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988. Pgs. 195-199.
Dawson, James P. "Canzoneri-Singer Draw in Ten Rounds." The New York Times. December 15, 1928. Pg. 26.
Dawson, James P. "Chocolate Scores Victory Over Singer." The New York Times. August 30, 1929. Pg. 22.
Dawson, James P. "Berg Gets Verdict Over Kid Chocolate." The New York Times. August 8, 1930. Pg. 20.
Dawson, James P. "Seeks to Match Singer and Berg." The New York Times. August 9, 1930. Pg. 22.
Dawson, James P. "16,000 See Canzoneri Win Lightweight Title, Stopping Singer in First Round." The New York Times. November 15, 1930. Pg 25.
"Foul in Boxing is Thing of Past under New Rule." New Journal and Guide (Norfolk). July 5, 1930. Pg. 7.
"Kid Chocolate and McVey Winners." The Chicago Defender. September 7, 1929. Pg. 8.
"Kid Chocolate is Jailed." The New York times. December 2, 1931. Pg. 19.
Leonard, Benny. "Ex-Sparring Mates Meet Friday." The Washington post. December 12. 1928. Pg. 16.
Leonard, Benny. "Former King of Division Enthused." The Washington Post. July 15, 1930. Pg. 16.
Leonard, Benny. "Singer Will Win, Says Leonard." The Washington Post. July 17, 1930. Pg. 14.
"Man is Shot, Dies, Shielding Slayer." New York Times. September 11, 1927. Pg. 6.
Neil, Edward J. "New York Referees Hear New Instructions on Fouls." The Washington Post. July 11, 1930. Pg. 15.
Neil, Edward J. "Singer Knocks Out Mandell in First Round." Los Angeles Times. July 18, 1930. Pg. A8.
Neil, Edward J. "Kid Chocolate Beaten by Berg." The Atlanta Constitution. August 8, 1930. Pg. 13.
Neil, Edward J. "Nontitle Bout Ends Quickly." Los Angeles Times. September 12, 1930. Pg. A13.
Neil, Edward J. "Canzoneri Knocks Singer Out in Opening Round to Gain Lightweight Crown." The Washington Post. November 15, 1930. Pg. 15.
Pegler, Westbrook. "Mandell Cuffs 3 Spar Mates, One Too Hard." Chicago Daily Tribune. July 15, 1930. Pg 17.
Pegler, Westbrook. "Champion is Floorer Three Times Before..." The Washington Post. July 18, 1930. Pg. 15.
Pegler, Westbrook. "Al Singer Wears Crown, but Kid Chocolate is Pegler's Champ." Chicago Daily Tribune. July 19, 1930. Pg. 11.
Pegler, Westbrook. "Canzoneri Wins Title." Chicago Daily Tribune. November 15, 1930. Pg. 19.
"Singer Fights Canzoneri to Draw." The Washington Post. December 15, 1928. Pg. 15.
"Singer Battle on Schedule Thursday." The Washington Post. July 13, 1930. Pg. M18.
Smith, Wilfrid. "Al Singer Whips Eddie Mack in Ten Rounds." Chicago Daily Tribune. October 15, 1930. Pg. 23.
"Suspect is Held in Drucker Murder." New York Times. October 20, 1927. Pg. 31.