1935-05-28 Barney Ross w pts 15 Jimmy McLarnin, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1935-05-28 Barney Ross w pts 15 Jimmy McLarnin, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Jack Dempsey. Scorecards: 7-5, 8-6, 9-4. Although the decision was unanimous in favour of Ross (141) it was disputed by many ringsiders, including Nat Fleischer of The Ring magazine, who thought that McLarnin (144¾) had retained his title. According to Fleischer, the champion started early with jabs, hooks and the occasional body punch, while Ross only got active when there was less than a minute of each round left in order to impress the judges. Each man was jarred up a number of times, but neither was on the verge of being knocked out and this bout saw more hard blows sent in than in their previous fights. In the 11th, 12th and 14th rounds Ross attacked with vicious intent, but McLarnin evened matters up in the 15th when he had his rival holding on and looking exhausted.

There would be no further world title opportunities for McLarnin and three fights later he had retired.

Taking three months off before coming back to the ring, Ross, who saw 1935 out with three non-title wins, was accused in The Ring magazine of being hesitant about defending the title and keeping it locked away when there were so many good matches to be made. When Jimmy Johnston, on behalf of Madison Square Garden, offered Ross a fight against the lightweight champion, Tony Canzoneri, it was turned down out of hand and the latter was matched against McLarnin instead. Ross’ management stated that they would not be doing business with the Garden while Johnston acted on their behalf.

Following a challenge on behalf of Jack Carroll, the Australian champion and number-one contender, for Ross to defend in Melbourne during November 1936 it was announced that the champion had agreed to take the fight on 8 December at the Sydney Sports Ground. After beating Phil Furr at the Griffith Stadium, Washington DC on 22 July 1936, his ninth non-title win since regaining the title, Ross announced that he would not take any more fights and was preparing to leave for Australia at the beginning of October.

With the coloured welters of the day not getting much of a shout, the Cocoa Kid (144½) knocked out Young Peter Jackson (142½) in what was a billed ‘black’ ten-round title fight held at Heinemann Park, New Orleans, Louisiana on 26 July 1936. He later defended that claim with a ten-round points decision over Jack Elverillo at the same venue on 22 September 1936.

Meanwhile, the NYSAC were setting up an eliminating series to find an opponent for Ross and on 21 September 1936, Izzy Jannazzo beat Gustav Eder (w pts 15 at St Nicholas Arena, Manhattan) before going on to meet Ceferino Garcia in the final. Following a 15-round draw at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan on 30 October the NYSAC presented Jannazzo with an early Christmas present when they announced that they did not think Garcia would be ready to meet Ross in the time frame and selected him to meet the champion for the title just over a month later.

Whatever happened to the Ross v Carroll fight is unclear, but it was Jannazzo who would take on the champion with Garcia next in line.