1923-05-18 Pinky Mitchell nd-w co 6 (12) Tim Droney, The Armory, Louisville, Kentucky, USA - KENTUCKY/WISCONSIN

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1923-05-18 Pinky Mitchell nd-w co 6 (12) Tim Droney, The Armory, Louisville, Kentucky, USA - KENTUCKY/WISCONSIN. Referee: Tommy Devlin. The challenger certainly came to fight, but following an even first round Mitchell (139½) dropped him for ‘three’ with a right cross. Not to be put off, Droney (139) continued to bore in and both men swapped solid punches through to the end of the fourth. The pattern continued in the fifth, both giving and taking in equal measures before Droney took a count of ‘nine’ after being nailed by a short, vicious right to the jaw. Although he got to his feet, Droney, groggy and unstable, was quickly set upon and a solid jab to the head sent him to the canvas where he was counted out.

In his next contest, on 29 May, Mitchell was stopped in the tenth and final round of a no-decision affair against the lightweight champion, Benny Leonard, at the Dexter Park Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois. Despite it being reported by some of the press that Leonard had failed to weigh in, his manager, Billy Gibson, still tried to claim the title for his charge, stating that he had made the scales at 137lbs. In response, the Wisconsin Boxing Commission announced that no specific weight was articled in the contract and that the referee had not ascertained as to whether Mitchell could have made it through the remaining few seconds before bringing the fight to a conclusion. Thus, with the support of Wisconsin, Mitchell continued as champion.

Despite it being not contested over the championship distance, on 9 July at the Phillies Ballpark, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mitchell (139lbs) was adjudged to have won the eight-round press decision over Nate Goldman (140lbs).

Following that, three ten-round fights where Mitchell allowed the opposition to make less than 140lbs while he came in above the weight, were against Goldman 137¾ (nd-w disq 5 on 14 December at the Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Lew Tendler 138¾ (nd-l pts 10 on 18 February 1924 at the Auditorium, Milwaukee) and Al Van Ryan 140 (nd-w pts 10 on 10 June 1924 at Mizzou Park, Sioux City, Iowa).

Although the NBA finally announced that they recognised Mitchell as champion at their Convention in October 1924, by the following October they had changed their minds, even stating that they had never recognised the weight class. According to the 1987 Ring Record Book, Mitchell supposedly lost his title to Red Herring by a sixth-round disqualification at The Arena Gardens, Detroit, Michigan on 27 March 1925 in a ten-round no-decision contest, but research into that contest proves the fight was made at 145lbs, some five pounds above the weight class. Herring (139lbs), who was knocked out on the ‘break’, tried to claim the belt but was overruled by W. J. Hedding, Chairman of the Wisconsin Boxing Commission, who stated that a title could only change hands if all contractual conditions had been met, which had not been the case.

Despite Herring continuing to claim the title and named as the holder in the October 1925 edition of The Ring magazine he received no official support and after being outpointed over ten rounds by Mushy Callahan at the Vernon Arena, Los Angeles, California on 18 August 1925 he was not even considered.

From thereon, Mitchell continued to participate in further no-decision contests at weights in excess of 140lbs. One such bout, against Russie LeRoy at The Auditorium, Fargo, North Dakota on 14 January 1926, saw him make an estimated 149lbs against his opponent’s 140. The day before it was reported in the Bismark Tribune that LeRoy would come in under 140lbs at the 3pm weigh-in to ensure that if he won inside the distance the title would be his. In the event he failed, being knocked down twice in an extremely close contest which saw the press side with Mitchell.

Dismayed that Mitchell was not taking the title seriously, the Wisconsin Boxing Commission ordered him on 23 August 1926 to make a defence by 1 October against any one from Ace Hudkins, Andy DiVodi, Spug Myers, LeRoy or Callahan.