1917-12-05 Benny Leonard nd-w rsc 8 (10) Gene Delmont, The Auditorium, St Paul, Minnesota, USA - WORLD

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1917-12-05 Benny Leonard nd-w rsc 8 (10) Gene Delmont, The Auditorium, St Paul, Minnesota, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ed Smith. Made at 135lbs with a 3pm weigh-in, according to the Milwaukee Free Press Leonard (134) chopped Delmont (130) up for seven rounds before backing the challenger into a corner in the eighth and laying him low with a heavy left to the pit of the stomach. In no position to continue, Delmont was rescued from taking more punishment by the referee.

Seven days later, on 12 December, Leonard (134¼) risked his crown at 135lbs when taking on Patsy Cline (134½). A no-decision bout over a short distance, he could not afford to slip up and did not, cruising to a six-round press verdict (at the Olympia AA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

Following this, Leonard met Chick Brown (w rsc 5 on 17 December at the Ryan AC, New Haven, Connecticut) in a fight that was reported to involve the title, with the latter told not to weigh more that 135lbs. Almost certainly a catchweight contest, it is unclear as to whether Leonard came in above the weight.

At the beginning of April 1918, the New York Times reported that Leonard would defend his title in two six-round no-decision contests in Philadelphia against Young Joe Borrell and Jack Brazzo, despite being in the Army and somewhat overweight. Borrell made it to the final bell at the Olympia AA on 8 April, while Brazzo was stopped inside four sessions at the National AA five days later. Weights were not announced.

Two more risk fights for Leonard came against Willie Gradwell (nd-w rsc 5 on 22 July 1918 at the Armory AA, Jersey City, New Jersey) and Johnny Dundee (nd-w pts 8 on 20 January 1919 at the 1st Regiment Armory, Newark, New Jersey). Both were eight rounders and both of his opponents were inside 135lbs, Gradwell scaling 132½lbs and Dundee 130, while Leonard was marginally above the weight.

A few months later Leonard met Dundee (nd-w pts 6 on 16 June 1919 at Shibe Park, Philadelphia) in another short-distance bout and with both men scaling inside 135lbs once again there was some risk involved.

When the Syracuse Herald reported in their pre-fight summing up that Leonard versus Johnny Clinton (nd-w pts 10 on 8 September 1919 at The Arena, Syracuse, New York) would see the latter make a desperate attempt to win the title, that kind of throw-away line was typical of newspapers of the day. With the fight made at 138lbs and Clinton unable to make 135lbs there was no risk.

Further contests at catchweight for Leonard, in which he allowed his opponent to make 135lbs while he came in above the weight, saw him meet Johnny Dundee (nd-w pts 8 on 17 September 1919 at the Armory AA, Newark); Phil Bloom (nd-w pts 10 on 15 October 1919 at Billy McIntosh’s Club, Detroit, Michigan); Mel Coogan (nd-w co 2 on 10 December 1919 at the 4th Regiment Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey); Red Herring (nd-w co 6 on 19 December 1919 at the Southern AC, Memphis, Tennessee); Dundee (nd-w pts 8 on 9 February 1920 at The Arena, Jersey City) and Charley White (nd-w co 9 on 5 July 1920 at The Arena, Benton Harbor, Michigan). The latter fight certainly made the news after White put the champion out of the ring for ‘nine’ with his famed left hook in the seventh, before succumbing himself in the ninth.