1931-08-05 Maxie Rosenbloom w pts 15 Jimmy Slattery, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1931-08-05 Maxie Rosenbloom w pts 15 Jimmy Slattery, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: William McPartland. Slapping and cuffing his way through the bout, Rosenbloom (171½) met with little resistance from Slattery (170½) despite his title being on the line, and even landed the better quality punches. The longer the contest went the more boring it became and it gradually petered out, the unanimous decision in Rosenbloom’s favour being a formality. With four victories over Rosenbloom from a possible six, Slattery was expected to do a lot better, but failed to produce and five fights later he had retired.

On 14 September at The Coliseum, Des Moines, Iowa, Rosenbloom gained a ten-round press decision over Owen Phelps in a fight that was listed in The Ring magazine as a title bout, but was reported by the Des Moines Register to be a catchweight contest with both men weighing in above 175lbs.

A few hours later, at the NBA convention held on 14-16 September, the Association withdrew recognition from Rosenbloom and set up an eliminating series in Chicago, Illinois to find a new champion. The move, generally felt to have been a political one, saw the NBA suffer much ridicule at the hands of The Ring magazine and the press, especially as Rosenbloom had defended against Slattery just six weeks earlier. However, in defence of the NBA, Rosenbloom appeared to be ignoring the highly-rated George Manley, who had twice outpointed him on 30 April and 22 July in ten-round non-title bouts at Stockyards Stadium, Denver, Colorado. Thus, it was strange that Manley’s name was not among the applications that were eventually received and accepted, namely Phelps, Bob Olin, George Nichols, Lou Scozza, Abie Bain, Dave Maier, Harry Ebbets, Willie Oster, Billy Jones, Baxter Calmes, Mario Campi, Tiger Roy Williams, Clyde Chastain, Humberto Curi, Larry Johnson, Rosy Rosales, Russ Rowsey, Harry Fuller, Tait Littman, Battling Bozo, Pret Ferrar, Roscoe Manning, Buddy McArthur, Willie Bush, Don Petrin and Charley Belanger.

Nevertheless, with 26 men entered, the first series started at The Stadium on 11 December with five contests scheduled for eight rounds apiece, resulting in Ebbets (w pts 8 Oster), Jones (w pts 8 Phelps), Calmes (w co 3 Campi), Maier (w pts 8 Williams) and Chastain (w pts 8 Curi) making it to the next round. Next came six further first-round contests on 18 December that saw Johnson (w rsc 2 Rosales), Olin (w co 4 Littman), Bain (w pts 8 Fuller), Scozza (w co 2 Rowsey), Bozo (w pts 8 Ferrar) and Manning (w co 1 McArthur) all winning through.

It is difficult to know exactly how the NBA arrived at the last eight, but I have made certain assumptions based on the remaining contests. To finalise the first series, Nichols (w rsc 5 Petrin) and Belanger (w pts 8 Bush) won through on 30 December. Then, with Ebbets withdrawing injured, Jones (w pts 10 Johnson), Calmes (w pts 10 Manning) and Olin (w pts 10 Chastain) made it through the second series on the same date and Nichols (w pts 10 Belanger) joined them on 15 January, along with Scozza, Bozo, Maier and Bain, who received byes. Having drawn a bye at this stage of the tournament, allowed Maier to take time out to record a ten-round non-title points win over Rosenbloom at the Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 1 January 1932, prior to coming back into the quarter-final action on 15 January and eliminating Bain (w co 1). On the same day, Calmes beat Olin (w pts 10), before Jones (w rsc 9 Bozo) and Nichols (w pts 10 Scozza) came through unscathed on 28 January to join Calmes and Maier in the last four.

With Calmes seeking a match against Rosenbloom on 12 February, he was released from the competition, leaving Maier with a bye, while Nichols outpointed Jones over ten rounds on 18 February to reach the final. Strangely, the Chicago Tribune reported that Calmes was due to meet Ebbets in the semi-final leg when it had to be Maier, although the statement could have meant the pair meeting for the right to fight the latter.

Meanwhile, Rosenbloom remained active, but having failed to make a further defence for nine months was advised by the NYSAC on 4 May 1932 to make a match against the NBA champion, Nichols, within 30 days or risk being stripped. Those plans were scuppered when Nichols was beaten by Scozza. Incorrectly recorded as a title fight in the Boxing News Annual, Scozza’s ten-round points win over Nichols at the Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York on 31 May was merely a non-title fight and Scozza went on to challenge Rosenbloom for the NYSAC version of the title.