1919-02-17 Battling Levinsky nd-l pts 10 Harry Greb, Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, USA - USA
1919-02-17 Battling Levinsky nd-l pts 10 Harry Greb, Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, USA - USA. The Bridgeport Standard Telegram reported that Levinsky’s claim was at risk in this one with both men inside 175lbs. After Levinsky (175) made a solid start, winning the opening three rounds, by the fourth Greb (164½) was punching him all round the ring and during the last couple of sessions the champion was forced to hang on for dear life.
Levinsky took on Greb again on 28 April 1919, losing the press decision, at the Auditorium, Canton, Ohio over 12 rounds. This time round Levinsky did not even bother to make the weight, but allowed Greb to be inside 175lbs.
On 3 July, Levinsky was credited with a 12-round newspaper verdict over Billy Miske at the Rossford Arena, near Toledo, Ohio in what was, according to the Toledo Blade, an advertised title fight. However, no weights were given. The fight report described the proceedings as a joke so often perpetrated on an unsuspecting public and should be viewed as merely an afterthought to the heavyweight title fight between Jess Willard and Jack Dempsey that took place the following day.
Two more fights for Levinsky, contested in New Jersey over eight rounds, have to be seen as involving a risk to his title claim. Both went the distance and on both occasions Levinsky was awarded the press decisions. On 25 July at the DeForrest Gym, Long Branch, New Jersey, Soldier Ed Kinley weighed 175lbs while there was no mention of Levinsky’s weight, and on 11 August at the Armory AA, Jersey City, New Jersey, Levinsky scaled 173lbs to Clay Turner’s 170.
A few weeks later at the Baseball Park, Wheeling, West Virginia, on 3 September, an over-the- weight Levinsky took on Greb, inside 175lbs, in a no-decision fight, and one in which the press decided that he had lost the ten-round decision. The Wheeling Register reported that Greb would have won the title had he possessed a kayo wallop.
When Levinsky met Turner (nd-w pts 10 on 24 November at the Roller Palace Rink, Detroit, Michigan), according to the Detroit News that with both men down to weight the fight could justifiably be billed for the title. While it is clear that Turner was well inside 175lbs, it is uncertain as to whether Levinsky was.
Another no-decision contest, albeit only of eight rounds duration, saw Levinsky (178lbs) gain a press verdict over the 163lbs Johnny Howard at the Lotus AC, Perth Amboy, New Jersey on 23 January 1920.
Three more no-decision bouts between Levinsky and Turner in 1920 saw Levinsky, fighting in the heavyweight class, while it was unclear whether Turner was inside 175lbs or not. It is also unclear whether the three matches were contracted above the weight class. Fighting over ten rounds on 16 February at the City Boxing Club, Detroit, the press verdict was in favour of Levinsky, as was the ten rounder between the men on 26 March at the Church Street Auditorium, Hartford, Connecticut. On 3 May at the Exposition Hall, Portland, Maine, the match was made up of two six-round contests with a slight break between to get around the regulations. Again Levinsky was seen by the press to have won.
Continuing to scale above the weight class limit, he then drew over 12 rounds with Chuck Wiggins, who was thought to be inside 175lbs at the Gymnastic Club, Dayton, Ohio, on 21 May 1920 to set himself up for a meeting with Georges Carpentier, who had re-won the European title on 19 July 1919 when knocking out Dick Smith inside eight rounds at The Circus, Paris, France.
Despite Carpentier’s victory, on 5 February 1920 the International Boxing Union stated that although they recognised the weight class as far as they were concerned the title was vacant. With the promoter, Tex Rickard, looking for a way to build Carpentier into a main-line heavyweight attraction and a worthy opponent for Dempsey he hit upon the idea of reviving the light-heavyweight class, which was, in fact, the ideal weight division for the Frenchman. Although Levinsky had been claiming the title for several years the fans had never really taken to him and this was an ideal opportunity for both men