1945-02-19 Willie Pep w pts 15 Phil Terranova, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY

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1945-02-19 Willie Pep w pts 15 Phil Terranova, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY. Referee: Arthur Donovan. Scorecards: 10-5, 10-3, 12-2. With his left jab working overtime and fighting when he had to, Pep (124¾) gave his rugged challenger a boxing lesson, controlling the fight in all but a couple of rounds. Even when Terranova (125) caught him heavily, especially in the fourth round when he was sent reeling from a long left hook to the jaw that had him almost out on his feet, he was able to cover up and get out of harm's way in time to recover. Cut under the left eye in the 12th, Pep kept out of trouble from then on by back-pedalling continuously to the final bell.

A month later Pep was inducted into the US Army, and on getting back in the ring again in October a unification contest with Sal Bartolo, the NBA champion, was already being mooted. Eventually, a fight against Bartolo was made for 1 March 1946, but when that fell though due to the latter not being fully prepared within a couple of weeks both men had signed up for a meeting on 7 June.

Earlier, on 13 December, a non-title contest saw Pep draw over ten rough-and-tumble rounds with the unfancied Jimmy McAllister, a 5-1 underdog. According to most papers both men were down once, while The Knockout magazine reported that Pep hit the floor on three occasions. Regardless of what was in print it had been a close call for Pep, who went on to meet McAllister twice more, winning by a second-round kayo and on points over ten rounds.