1937-09-23 Lou Ambers w pts 15 Pedro Montanez, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1937-09-23 Lou Ambers w pts 15 Pedro Montanez, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: John Marto. Satisfied in coasting to victory over the extremely disappointing Martinez (135), the clever Ambers (134½) was chided afterwards for not trying to take the challenger out, having boxed on the back foot all night to clock up the points. Ambers’ valid argument afterwards was why take risks if he did not have to. Unable to fathom Ambers out, which was somewhat surprising as he already held a win over the champion, Montanez was continuously warned for hitting and holding, and the majority decision was not disputed.

Prior to the fight, Martinez, who had been unbeaten in his last 50 contests, was seen to be the biggest punching lightweight around. Apart from Ambers and Enrico Venturi, who he had earlier eliminated, Montanez held wins over Saverio Turiello, Carlo Orlandi, Steve Halaiko, Al Roth, Bobby Pacho, Aldo Spoldi, Leonard Del Genio, Frankie Klick, Eddie Brink, Eddie Ran, Frankie Wallace, Wesley Ramey, Freddie Cochrane and Lew Massey, all top men.

Writing in The Ring magazine (March 1938 edition) regarding the September 1937 IBU ratings, Nat Fleischer remarked that when going to Rome, Italy to attend an international boxing convention in April 1938 it was important to sort out why the IBU had recognised Tony Canzoneri as champion even though he had been twice beaten by Ambers. On the face of it any support given to Canzoneri by the IBU appeared daft, especially as he had remained out of the ring since that date and that the IBU had earlier named Ambers as the champion in their September 1936 ratings. However, following the meeting, any claim that Canzoneri may have had through the IBU was cast aside when that body agreed to refuse all individually-made world champions in an effort to stand by one universally acknowledged champion. The Ring's top five contenders at that moment in time were Montanez, Davey Day, Ramey, Johnny Bellus and Billy Beauhold.

With six months leeway before having to make another defence Ambers was hoping to get in two fights during 1938 before taking on Henry Armstrong, the featherweight champion. Then came the announcement that Armstrong would challenge Barney Ross for the welterweight title on 31 May 1938 at the MSG Bowl, Queens, NYC, with the winner to fight Ambers within 60 days. According to the agreements made between the three champions, if Ross won he would be defending the welter crown against Ambers, but if Armstrong were to be victorious it would be Ambers’ lightweight title only that would be at stake. Following Armstrong’s victory over Ross the match was made for 17 August 1938, giving both men almost three months to prepare.