The Golden Bantams
The "Golden-Age of Bantamweight Boxing"
“For the first time in 13 years a bout between bantams caused a bit of a stir in New York City. Not since Cleveland’s Georgie Pace and Brooklyn’s Lou Salica tangled in a 118 lb. title bout in New York back in 1940 has the big town even noticed the existence of the little fellows.
On Aug. 17 in Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway little Henry (Pappy) Gault met California’s Billy Peacock for the North American version of the title and Gault relieved of the honor by the challenger Peacock in 12 fairly exciting rounds. A raft of tiny one time greats of the division sat in on the proceedings, all of them no doubt longing for the good old days of yore when the bantamweight class was the most popular in the U. S.
This was during the so-called Golden Twenties when boxing rings from coast to coast were overrun with the little busy bees. Every hamlet had its bantamweight fighter and how the public loved them! The turnstiles clicked so merrily whenever they performed that they should have been called the Golden Bantams. Like the cocky birds from which they derived their names they waged unceasing warfare upon each other. They became standard bearers of the places they represented and local pride was as much at stake when they met each other as professional standing.
They were born too soon, the bantam battlers of the 1920-1929 era. That group would have been enough to take care of today’s rapacious demand of TV for talent. Back in those days, there was so much action among these little guys that by themselves they kept boxing interest high throughout the county....
The Gault-Peacock battle was the first bantam title bout ever viewed by the TV audience. How different things were 30 years ago when the public thrilled to action among the little fellows almost every night in the week throughout the country. Those were the golden days of the golden bantams!”
In the early 1970s, the long-respected boxing manager Charley Rose lamented: "Things have changed in this country. The heavyweights have swallowed up the game. If you aren't a heavy, you don't belong. Some of the oldtime little guys contributed heavily to the fame and fortune of the game. Now they shoo them down to the Forum in the Garden." The Ring, March 1975, p. 72.
The boxers specifically identified by the December 1953 The Ring as the "Golden Bantams" are:
Davey Abad--Cowboy Eddie Anderson--Archie Bell--Panama Al Brown--Johnny Buff--Joe Burman--Vic Burrone--Tony Canzoneri--Amos (Kid) Carlin--Sammy Cohen--Irish Johnny Curtin--George Daly--Danny Edwards--Phil Franchini--Abe Friedman--Frankie Genaro--Abe Goldstein--Charley Goodman--Harry Gordon--Bushy Graham--Bernie Hahn--Pete (Kid) Herman--Barry Hill (Harry Hill?)--Frankie Jerome--Danny Lee--Billy Levine--Harry London--California Joe Lynch--Andy Martin--Cannonball Eddie Martin--Terry Martin--Earl Mastro--Terry McHugh--Jimmy McLarnin--Young Montreal--Roy Moore--Memphis Pal Moore--Sammy Nable--Charley O’Gatty (Packey O'Gatty?)--Emil Paluso--Dominick Petrone--Earl Puryear--Charley Phil Rosenberg--Mickey Russell--Tommy Ryan--Joe Ryder--Pete Sanstol--Pete Sarmiento--Clever Sencio--Little Jackie Sharkey--Eddie Shea--Midget Smith--Harold Smith--Willie Spencer--Chick Suggs--Bud Taylor--Carl Tremaine--Pancho Villa--Patsy Wallace--Kid Williams--Jackie (Kid) Wolfe--Pete Zivic