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.
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, on 25 September at the Ballpark, Flint, Michigan, 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, 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 the next challenger would be Ray Miller, who had beaten Jimmy McLarnin (w rsc 7 on 30 November at the Olympia, Detroit, Michigan), 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, 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 and had impressed against good opposition.