1927-07-13 Joe Dundee nd-w pts 10 Billy Drako, Redland’s Baseball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - WORLD

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1927-07-13 Joe Dundee nd-w pts 10 Billy Drako, Redland’s Baseball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - WORLD. Referee: Frank O’Brien. Not recorded in the Ring Record Book as a title fight, the Cincinnati Enquirer tells us it was advertised and went ahead as such with both men inside 147lbs. Contested in the open air, Drako (147), despite having his left eye virtually closed early on, proved himself to be a tough customer, who, although an easy target, took his punishment unflinchingly without ever being knocked off his feet by Dundee (147). With this being the champion’s first contest since winning the title he showed up as a two-fisted fighter of the old school. Ice cool, he avoided his rival’s swings with some ease while scoring accurately, if not sparingly, throughout. Dundee was well worth the press decision while the game Drako received plaudits for staying the course.

On 3 November, Dundee, due to defend against Ace Hudkins at Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, decided not to enter the ring after the promoter failed to deposit the $60,000 guarantee. Both men had weighed in, and Hudkins claimed the title without any real backing after climbing into the ring to show that he was ready and willing.

When Dundee stopped Hilario Martinez inside eight rounds at the Monumental Bullring, Barcelona, Spain on 7 July 1928, it was reported in some listings as involving the title. In truth, it was a ten-round over-the-weight contest. Martinez had earlier impressed in a trip to America when beating the likes of Jack Zivic, Sammy Vogel, Sid Terris, Jack Britton and Andy DiVodi before coming unstuck against Lew Tendler.

Further to a catchweight contest made at 148lbs against the 143lbs Young Jack Thompson at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois on 30 August 1928, Dundee, who was stopped in the second round, forfeited NBA recognition when persistently refusing to defend against either Thompson or the leading contender, Jackie Fields, who were subsequently matched for the vacant NBA title.

By January 1929 Al Mello was the number-one rated welterweight in The Ring magazine, having just defeated Vince Dundee, the brother of Joe, and his next two fights would be non-title affairs against the champion. Winning both on points over ten rounds should have put Mello in line for a shot at the championship, but by the end of June he had lost his high ranking after being beaten by Gorilla Jones.

Still recognised by the NYSAC as the champion, Dundee took in two warm-up bouts before looking to re-unify the title in a match against the NBA’s Fields, who had earlier eliminated Thompson.