Sandy Saddler vs. Willie Pep (4th meeting)

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Saddler drops Pep in round two.
The two fighters wrestled each other to the canvas several times.

Willie Pep 125 lbs lost to Sandy Saddler 125 lbs by RTD in round 9 of 15


  • A crowd of 13,836 produced a gate of $75,311. Movie rights and theater TV contributed another $110,000.
  • The fight was seen in 17 theaters in 13 cities on closed circuit television.
  • Saddler was a 9-5 betting favorite.
  • Referee Ray Miller had Pep ahead 5-4 on rounds and 10-6 on points. Judge Frank Forbes had Saddler in front 5-4 on rounds and 7-5 on points. Judge Arthur Aidala had it 4-4-1 on rounds, but he favored Pep 8-6 on points.
  • The Associated Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had the fight scored 4-4-1, and the United Press had Pep ahead 4-3-2.
  • "There was but one knockdown in the bout. Saddler drove Pep to his knees in Saddler's corner for a count of eight with a left hook to the body in the second round. That was the same session in which a left hook to the head gashed Pep's right eye so badly it bled freely during the rest of the sessions," The United Press reported. "Virtually every rule in the boxing commission's book was violated by the two bitter feudists until Pep's badly gashed right brow forced him to withdraw in his corner at the end of the ninth round and give the spindly Negro a technical knockout victory. Sandy and Willie attained the maudlin peak of attempted mayhem in the seventh round when Referee Ray Miller, ex-lightweight contender, was wrestled to the canvas. . . . Miller warned them in every round and in practically every intermission, and he penalized Pep the seventh round on a foul for unnecessary roughness."
  • Al Abrams, sports editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, called the fight "nine rounds of the worst exhibition of unsportsmanlike conduct ever seen in a bout anywhere." Pep and Saddler "wrestled each other to the canvas several times and through the ropes three different times. Hitting on the break was nothing by comparison with the heeling, open-glove rubbing, holding-and-hitting, and even hitting when a fighter's back was turned."
  • In the December 1951 issue of The Ring (page 3), editor and publisher Nat Fleischer called this an extremely dirty fight, with "wrestling, heeling, eye gouging, tripping, thumbing—in fact every dirty trick known to the old timers." Referee Ray Miller "let the bout get out of hand," Fleischer wrote. "The pattern of the 'contest' never varied. Pep wouldn't make a fight of it and Sandy couldn't. Pep too frequently backed around the ring and Saddler just as often missed as he kept boring in trying to corner his man. Then when he did, the rowdy tactics got under way and ended only when either both were sprawled on the canvas still wrestling each other, or the referee was outside the ring trying pull the boys apart or both fighters and official were entangled in a pretzel formation on the ring floor." Pep quit after nine rounds, "declaring he no longer could continue because of severe pains caused by a deep cut over the right eye."
  • The New York State Athletic Commission revoked Pep's license and indefinitely suspended Saddler for their roughhouse tactics.
  • The fight was named the sixth dirtiest fight of all-time in the December 1997 issue of The Ring.

Newspaper Articles

See Also