1949-02-11 Willie Pep w pts 15 Sandy Saddler, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1949-02-11 Willie Pep w pts 15 Sandy Saddler, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Eddie Joseph. Scorecards: 10-5, 9-6, 9-5. Showing great resilience and a boxing brain to match, Pep (126) regained his old title with a brilliant display of hit-and-run boxing as he outgeneraled the hard-hitting champion to impress all three judges. Although Saddler (124) was the aggressor throughout he had great difficulty in dealing with Pep this time round, being constantly befuddled, especially when the little boxing master darted in, jabbing and hooking, moving this way and that, and ducking under punches while leaving him off balance with fast flurries of light blows. Saddler, continually stalking Pep, had his successes, nailing his man in the tenth and 14th sessions with heavy blows, but Pep survived. In the 15th Saddler cut loose, viciously pounding the head and body, but Pep, his face a mass of cuts and bruises, and holding on grimly, would not go down. It was a tremendous victory against the odds as well as being recognised as one of the most exciting fights ever held at the Garden.

In mid-June it was reported that Pep would be defending his title against Eddie Compo, who was undefeated in his last 32 fights. With Pep’s six-month period of grace due to expire in August, the NYSAC were looking at the situation very closely, especially as Saddler was the outstanding challenger, not Compo, and the original date had been moved on to allow the champion to have a minor operation.