1928-05-21 Sammy Mandell w pts 15 Jimmy McLarnin, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD
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 and never letting up. 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 and keep 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.
Getting back into action quickly, having beaten Johnny O’Donnell, Mandell met with disaster at the hands of the former champion Jimmy Goodrich on 25 September at the Ballpark, Flint, Michigan, when he suffered a broken collarbone in the opening round of a non-title contest, a freak punch forcing a retirement at the end of the round.
Back in the ring towards the end of January 1929, Mandell was soon in the swing of things and in April it was announced that he would be defending his title in Chicago during the summer, possibly against Jack Kid Berg. Earlier, it had been thought that Ray Miller, who had beaten McLarnin (w rsc 7 on 30 November at the Olympia, Detroit, Michigan) would be his next challenger, but McLarnin had exacted revenge on 22 March 1929 at Madison Square Garden with a ten-round points win. The Cleveland, Ohio promoters had also been after Mandell to defend against Billy Wallace, 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 and had impressed against good opposition.