1925-07-23 Charley Phil Rosenberg w rtd 4 (15) Eddie Shea, The Velodrome, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD
1925-07-23 Charley Phil Rosenberg w rtd 4 (15) Eddie Shea, The Velodrome, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Patsy Haley. After what appeared to most onlookers as having been a savage affair while it lasted, the NYSAC suspended Rosenberg (118) indefinitely and Shea (117¾) for life following rumours that the latter's life had been threatened unless he ‘threw’ the fight. The fight itself saw Shea going after the champion with both hands in the opening two rounds before he was dropped twice in the third, possibly the result of a sustained body attack that weakened him considerably. Although seriously used up, Shea charged out for the fourth, and following a blistering exchange two heavy rights to the jaw sent him crashing. When the count had reached five Shea's corner threw in the towel on the 0.37 mark, but the Commissioner was not fooled, especially after a suspicious fluctuation in the betting odds just before the fight. Regardless, ringsiders were not totally convinced either, one newspaperman reporting: “If this was a fake, let us have more of them”.
Controversy was never far away where Rosenberg was concerned, and during the proceeding weeks he had once more been forced to drastically reduce in weight, this time by 23lbs. Then, on 26 October 1926, following the failure to post a forfeit for a forthcoming title defence against Bud Taylor in Chicago, Illinois, the NBA stripped him of their version of the championship, naming the latter as champion. Taylor’s first defence would be against the sensational 18-year-old Tony Canzoneri, who had only lost once, to Davey Abad, in 38 contests and had beaten men of the calibre of Bobby Wolgast, Archie Bell, Young Montreal, George Marks, Andre Routis, Bushy Graham, Vic Burrone and Johnny Green.
Somewhat surprisingly, Rosenberg had his suspension lifted by the NYSAC for a NYC title defence against Graham at Madison Square Garden on 4 February 1927, but then forfeited his title on the scales when weighing in at 122½lbs. The fight went ahead as planned, and had Graham won he would have been proclaimed champion by the NYSAC. However, not only did Graham lose, Rosenberg receiving the 15-round points decision, both men were suspended in New York for a year following the discovery of a secret agreement regarding purse money.
Immediately following that, Fidel LaBarba, the flyweight champion, put himself forward as a candidate for the vacant title, but then got himself outpointed twice at the Mechanics’ Building, Boston, Massachusetts over ten rounds in quick succession by Johnny Vacca (14 February and 21 March 1927). Before LaBarba was beaten by Vacca, the London-based International Sports Syndicate had been looking to match him against the sensational 18-year-old Teddy Baldock for the British version of the world title, but the American’s defeat changed everything. The Syndicate’s next move was to book Johnny Brown, the current British champion, but when he broke down in training that was off also. They then turned their attention to Henri Scillie, the IBU champion, only to be told that he was already contracted to fight in South Africa. By now running out of options, the Syndicate moved for Vacca, but that also came to nothing after the latter was outpointed at The Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois by Bell on 26 March 1927. Finally, Bell was signed up for a fight that would be generally recognised by the boxing public in Britain as involving the world title despite Baldock, with only one disqualification defeat in 56 outings, not being the British champion.