1926-07-03 Sammy Mandell w pts 10 Rocky Kansas, Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA - NY/NBA/GB
1926-07-03 Sammy Mandell w pts 10 Rocky Kansas, Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA - NY/NBA/GB. Referee: Phil Collins. The challenger, Mandell (135), who came to the ring with 98 fights under his belt and just three losses, was seen as a tough, fast-punching fighter who relied on speed rather than power and knew his way round the ring. In what was the first legalised championship fight in Chicago for 25 years, Mandell started fast, landing hard lefts and rights to the champion’s head before settling into a countering routine, while picking his punches as those of Kansas (135) dropped short. Even in the clinches, which was one of his strong points, Kansas was hammered with heavy blows to the body, and amidst wild celebrations 30,000 fans roared Mandell to the final bell and the referee’s decision.
At their convention in July the IBU finally agreed to recognise Mandell as champion.
Although Mandell’s next go, a ten-round press decision over Joe Jawson at Harlem Park Auditorium, Rockford, Illinois on 8 October, was reported in the Rockford Republican as being at 135lbs in the lead up to the fight there was nothing to suggest that the title was involved, merely being a comeback for the champion after injury.
Also, while a ten-round no-decision contest against Clausine Vincent at the Oklahoma City Coliseum, Oklahoma on 29 October was shown as being billed for the title in the Daily Oklahoman no weights were ever reported. For the record, Mandell dropped Vincent twice and easily outboxed him for the newspaper decision.
Early in 1927, with Mandell seen by many as a ‘pacifist runner’ who would not be easy to prise from his title unless being forced out, and having passed the every six-month defence ruling, there were many championship fights being mooted in the press. On 7 March, the promoter, Humbert Fugazy, announced that he had signed up Mandell to meet his leading challenger, Sid Terris, sometime in the summer, while Mandell stated that he was not frightened of any opponent and would defend against any one of the top men who put down a suitable guarantee.
A 12-round no-decision fight against the 136¾lbs Jackie Fields at Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California on 4 April, which resulted in a press draw, was earlier reported as involving the title. However, it was seen as having no credibility when the latter came in above the championship weight.
Mandell’s next outing was a ten-round no-decision affair against Johnny Valdez at The Armory, Tucson, Arizona on 11 April, and whilst it was reported to be a championship match at 135lbs in the Tucson Daily Citizen no weights could be found. It is almost certain that the title was not involved as no other fights are recorded for the loser. Mandell had too much speed and punching power for the limited Valdez, knocking him out in the second round.
Following this, Mandell next took on the unfortunate Steve Adams (w co 2 at the Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas on 1 June 1927) in a fight that made headlines at the time for all the wrong reasons when the latter collapsed in the second round before being pronounced dead in the ring. After a first round in which Mandell showered his rival with light blows, the only punch of any significance thrown by Mandell in the second session was a left jab to the stomach immediately following a clinch which sent Adams down. Despite the attending doctor expressing that, in his opinion, the unfortunate Adams had died from a heart attack, an autopsy later revealed that he had suffered a broken neck, probably caused when he fell into the ropes before crumpling to the floor. Even though the New York Times report of the fight stated that both men weighed in at 135lbs, further research taken from the medical examination showed Mandell and Adams weighing 138 and 136lbs, respectively, on the morning of the fight.
Immediately after the Adams contest it was announced by the promoter, Floyd Fitzsimmons, that Mandell would be making his first defence for him against Phil McGraw in July.