1928-05-21 Sammy Mandell w pts 15 Jimmy McLarnin, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1928-05-21 Sammy Mandell w pts 15 Jimmy McLarnin, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Lou Magnolia. Fighting like a true champion Mandell (135) turned back the courageous challenge coming in from McLarnin (135), who gave it everything he had when attacking the former from bell to bell. However, it was Mandell’s brilliant left hand that retained the championship, via a unanimous decision, as it snaked out endlessly to pick up points while keeping McLarnin off balance. McLarnin, who finished with his left eye closed after winning the last three sessions, was out of distance more often than not but would come again.

At the end of May The Ring magazine ratings had Manuel Quintero sitting at number three on the back of successive wins over Baby Joe Gans and Louis Kid Kaplan. Quintero had lost just four of 50 at that stage of his career, but despite going unbeaten for a further 16 contests he was unable to further his position due to circumstances outside of his control.

Getting back into action quickly, having beaten Johnny O’Donnell, Mandell met with disaster at the hands of the former champion, Jimmy Goodrich, at the Ballpark, Flint, Michigan on 25 September, suffering a broken collarbone in a non-title contest when a freak punch forced his retirement at the end of the opening round.

Back in the ring towards the end of January 1929, in April it was announced that Mandell would be defending his title in Chicago during the summer, possibly against Jack Kid Berg. Earlier, it had been thought that the next challenger would be Ray Miller, who had beaten Jimmy McLarnin (w rsc 7 at the Olympia, Detroit, Michigan on 30 November), but McLarnin had exacted revenge at Madison Square Garden on 22 March 1929 with a ten-round points win.

The Cleveland, Ohio promoters had also been after Mandell to defend against Billy Wallace, who was at the head of The Ring magazine ratings after McLarnin had moved on, but they were too late. In the event, it was not Berg who was selected to challenge Mandell, but the former featherweight champion, Tony Canzoneri, who had remained unbeaten after losing his old crown while impressing against good opposition.