Sammy Farber

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Name: Sammy Farber
Born: 1909-08-18
Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
Died: 2005-07-20 (Age:95)
Hometown: New York, New York, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 6″   /   168cm
Boxing Record: click

Trainers: Ray Arcel, Whitey Bimstein
Manager: Jimmy Betts

Sammy Farber came from the Seward Gymnasium, New York. He fought in the first-ever Golden Gloves. Some of his amateur bouts include:

  • June 16, 1927: Knights of Columbus show, roof of the clubhouse @ New York.
  • August 22, 1927: Farber defeated Barrett, three rounds @ Madison Square Garden, NY.
  • August 29, 1927: Farber defeated Jimmy Logan (Lafayette K of C), three rounds, @ Madison Square Garden, New York.

Source: The New York Times

From the Mike Silver* Obituary (used with permission):

Former bantamweight/featherweight Sammy Farber, who would have been 96 years old next month passed away on July 20, 2005. Sammy, from New York City’s Lower East Side, turned pro in 1927 and compiled (according to a 42-15-5 (8 KOs) before retiring in 1932. Ray Arcel and Whitey Bimstein trained him.

Sammy was stopped only once (on cuts) and was never knocked down. On November 21, 1932 he lost a close ten rounds decision to Allan Foston in the latter’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. The Depression era bout returned a small payday. Disgusted with the fact that after paying off his manager and hotel bill he did not have enough money to cover train fare home, Sammy decided to hang up his gloves.

Before he turned pro Farber participated in the very first New York Golden Gloves finals bout. On March 28, 1927 he crossed gloves with Terry Roth in the 112 lb. amateur flyweight championship in Madison Square Garden. Almost 22,000 thousand fans packed the Garden with another 10,000 turned away. After three rounds the judges had the bout even so they ordered both boxers to go another round. Roth was awarded a disputed decision.

During the 1920s and early 1930s the bantam and featherweight divisions were loaded with talent. Noted for his fine left jab and intelligent boxing Sammy was competitive with some of the best fighters of his time. Early victories over Oscar Goldman, Pete DeGrasse and the more experienced Joe Marciente propelled him into a series of bouts with the very hot Pete Sanstol. At the time of their first meeting Sanstol had over 50 pro bouts, losing only one. Farber boasted a 24-3-2 record. In 1929 they fought four times over the six round distances. The bouts were closely contested with Sanstol winning all of them by decision. A newspaper account of one of their fights reported that “Sanstol had the gore flowing from Farber’s mouth… Pete kept boring both hands to the face and body with Farber stabbing a left to the face and a hard right to the stomach. This Farber boy is a genuine prospect… a very cute boxer with ring brains.”

For many years after retirement Sammy operated two popular taverns in his old Lower East side neighborhood. In the 1970s the sixty something Farber was accosted in the street by two thugs, one armed with a knife, who tried to mug him. Farber went to work flattening both but not before being cut from his shoulder to elbow. The police arrived to find the two muggers lying in the gutter. Sammy got 48 stitches for his trouble but was back at work the next day.

Working and remaining active was a way of life for Sammy. In his eighties and nineties he was working as a messenger for a Wall Street firm. Every morning, until the age of 93 Sammy took the 45-minute subway ride from his home in Forest Hills, New York. He was a very open and friendly man fond of talking about his career and, until a few years ago, could easily recall details of many of his fights. He never tired of showing a fan how the great Benny Leonard showed him the proper way to clinch. Sammy would pull you close, use his right arm to grab your left behind and above the elbow and use his other hand to push the crook of your left elbow in the opposite direction. He then asked you to try and break free. It felt like a death grip. This octogenarian could maneuver you around like a rag doll. Amazing.

*Mike Silver is a Member of the International Boxing Research Organization

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