1931-07-13 Tony Canzoneri w pts 10 Cecil Payne, Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, USA - CALIFORNIA/NBA

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1931-07-13 Tony Canzoneri w pts 10 Cecil Payne, Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, USA - CALIFORNIA/NBA. Referee: Abe Roth. Although not a member of the NBA the Californian Boxing Commission were happy enough to recognise this one as a title fight, but in order to protect Canzoneri’s lightweight title the terms of the contract called for the challenger, normally a 133lbs man, to come in at 136lbs. Watched by an 18,000 strong crowd, Payne (136) took a merciless beating, being almost counted over after taking heavy right hands from Canzoneri (136) in the first (when he was downed but got up before the referee could start counting) and eighth rounds, and was unable to escape the champion’s hooks and jabs. At the final bell the referee had no doubt about who had won, immediately holding up Canzoneri’s arm.

Meanwhile, Jack Kid Berg continued to defend ‘The Ring magazine’ recognised title when beating the 138lbs Jimmy McNamara on points over ten rounds at Queensboro Stadium, Queens, NYC, New York on 4 August 1931, before being outpointed over 15 rounds by the 131¾lbs Canzoneri at the Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC on 10 September in a billed lightweight title fight. However, given the logic of the NBA although fought at a contracted weight five pounds below the junior welter mark with Berg weighing 134½lbs, and in a State that failed to recognise the 140lbs division, Canzoneri’s title had to have been at stake.