1934-02-05 Maxie Rosenbloom drew 15 Joe Knight, MSG Stadium, Miami, Florida, USA - NY/NBA

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1934-02-05 Maxie Rosenbloom drew 15 Joe Knight, MSG Stadium, Miami, Florida, USA - WORLD. Referee: Harry Graham. Scorecards: 74-76, 75-75, 75-75. Although only ten rounders were allowed in Florida at the time, the contest went ahead as a billed title fight over 15 rounds after the political ‘okay’ was received. Finding the going tough as Knight (173), a southpaw, forced the fight, Rosenbloom (174) soon resorted to his well-known back-hand slapping and open glove slashing before the referee deducted a point from him in eighth. Despite the champion continuing to crouch low and hit with the open glove he received no further warnings, whereas Knight, who was the cleaner puncher of the pair, appeared to have won at the final bell, especially when Rosenbloom congratulated him on winning the title before a drawn verdict was announced. Following an investigation by the Miami Boxing Commission the referee was suspended for 30 days, having allowed the champion to continually use illegal blows.

On 19 July, after Rosenbloom had been instructed by the NYSAC to sign for a defence against either Knight or Bob Olin within 30 days it was announced that he would meet the latter in New York on 16 August. However, on 2 August it was learned that contracts of the prospective contest had not even been submitted to the NYSAC, due to an enquiry in progress which was looking into whether Frank Bachman, Rosenbloom’s manager, was also involved with Olin in a financial capacity.

Regardless of that situation, on 12 September the Miami Boxing Commission stripped Rosenbloom for not being able to make a match with Knight and handed the title to the latter, a decision which was rubber-stamped by the authorities representing North Carolina and Georgia. A few days later, on 16 September, Rosenbloom was stripped by the NBA, who announced that they wanted to set up a tournament that included Knight, John Henry Lewis, Tony Shucco, Al Gainer, Lou Brouillard, Len Harvey and Ambrose Palmer in order to find a more ‘satisfactory’ champion. They had finally lost patience with a man whom they felt had brought the sport into disrepute with his clowning antics and so-called illegal tactics, despite the fact that he had defended the title successfully many times.

It soon became clear that things were not as straightforward as the NBA would have wished and when Knight pulled out of their prospective tournament following the decision not to recognise a coming fight (later cancelled) between him and Shucco as being for the vacant title they decided to wait and see how Rosenbloom’s defence against Olin panned out before they made any further decisions on how to proceed. Rosenbloom v Olin was finally given the all-clear by the NYSAC on 5 October when it was announced that it would take place on 16 November.

Meantime, Knight went on to stop Al Rodrigues in seven rounds at The Coliseum, Coral Gables, Florida on 15 October; knock out Wilson Dunn in the third at the City Auditorium, Galveston, Texas on 22 October and to find another one-punch finish to see off Mickey Dugan in the fifth at the Beach Arena, Miami, Florida on 1 July 1935. These were all ten-round contests set at 175lbs. Although there must have been some risk attached to Knight’s recognition in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, the fights were not billed as involving any titles as such and it can only be assumed that Knight continued to be seen as champion in those States until he met Al McCoy on 5 September 1935.