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Slants on Sports by Morris Weiner

Who, in your estimation, is the greatest Jewish prizefighter of all times? The sports department of the Jewish Daily Bulletin starts a contest today to determine the best Jewish boxer ever to step into the resined arena and blaze his way with punches to the pinnacle of success, fame and fortune.

Do you think Maxie Baer, king of the heavyweights, is a greater clown than Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom? Or do you believe that Barney Ross could teach the two playboys a lesson in the art of ring technique? Is it true that Benny Leonard, one of the greatest lightweights of the world, must bow to the even greater triple champion, the younger but not as yet more popular Barney Ross?

No matter who your choice may be, write a letter to your sports commentator stating your views in one hundred words. The first prize will be two ringside tickets to the next Canzoneri-Ross battle, which takes place early in September. The next prizes will be two tickets to the ringside of the New York Coliseum and two tickets to the Coney Island Velodrome. For people living out of town, two tickets to your favorite sports arena will be granted free.

FOR THE OLD TIMERS

For the oldtimers who still have glamorous notions about the halcyon days of Joe Choynski, the original Battling Levinsky, and Jimmy Pollack, if you can prove to the mind of the judges that these men were greater pugilistic gladiators than the ring warriors of today, why, so much the better. Many people seem to feel that boxing, after the heyday of Benny Leonard, suffered a remarkable decline, equal only to the Wall street crash of October, 1929.

With the retirement of Benny Leonard several years ago as the world’s lightweight champion, a host of Jewish boxers tried to fill the great Benny’s shoes. Many tried but only Barney Ross succeeded. There were a few who actually ascended to the 135-pound championship, but in popular opinion they were just fighters, not great men of the ring. Al Singer, Sid Terris, Joe Glick, Kid Berg, Ruby Goldstein, Sid Kaplan and Freddy Levine, all tried desperately to achieve ring laurels, but Jimmy McLarnin, poison Jimmy himself, handed these Jewish pugilists a crown of thorns. Jimmy sent nearly all of them to the land of ring oblivion with a well-timed punch from his devastating right.

FOUR MEN MOST POPULAR TODAY

From the Jewish angle of boxing there are four men who are champions to the mind of the boxing fans at large. They are Maxie Baer, the Livermore Lothario; “Slapsie” Maxie Rosenbloom, light-heavy champ; Barney Ross, king of the welters and the lightweights, and Benny Leonard, who will live in the glory of his past ring achievements for years to come. Even now Benny is one of the glamorous ring idols of another day who seems to have reached ring immortality.

Baer has a killing right hand punch, and if you have seen him in any of his fights you’d have noticed his nonchalance, his clownish antics and his song and dance prancing while in the ring. Maxie Rosenbloom was a champion but at present is all washed up. Baer is at the peak of his career, Rosenbloom used to be on top. However, we are not taking these fighters at their present worth, but rather considering them from a viewpoint of topnotch performance. Which of the two do you prefer?

Was Benny Leonard a greater boxer and fighter than Barney Ross today? The reasons for and against may be numerous as well as interesting, and that is why we are trying to decide who is the greatest Jewish boxer of all time.

RULES OF THE CONTEST

The contest to determine the greatest Jewish boxer of all time begins today. It will close Friday, July 27. All you have to do is clip the heading of this column— “Slants on Sports” and send your letter of one hundred words to your sports commentator. Winners will be announced Wednesday, July 31.

Remember, the winner of first prize will receive two ringside tickets to the next Ross-Canzoneri fight. Winners of the next four prizes will receive ringside tickets to the Coliseum and the Velodrome. Those who receive honorable mention will get autographed copies of the “greatest Jewish prizefighter of all time.”

THE STORY OF SAMMY MANDELL

Sammy Mandell, nee Sam Mondello, an Albanian-Italian from the Mid-West, who came to New York as a ham boxer and changed his name to capitalize on a Jewish following, is just about through, if not already finished.

Early in April we carried the story of how Mandell was left a bleeding, battered hulk, after being stopped in the fourth round by a comparative unknown, in a one-horse town. The story also said that only in flashes did this former lightweight king of the world show his old form. However, last Saturday, Frank Graham of the Sun carried another flash from Oakland, stating the same thing we had said in April. Only this time Graham was talking about another fight, which said almost the same thing as the last Mandell flash:

“Mandell came out strong and showed a flash of his old fire in the fourth and the fifth. Bernall came out stronger in the sixth and staggered the former champ with lefts and rights. Mandell then walked over to a neutral corner and dropped his hands. The referee awarded the fight to Bernall.”

It’s just too bad for a fighter who doesn’t know when to quit or when he has had enough. Barney Ross said the other day, “I saw Sammy Mandell in Chicago a little while ago and I never felt so sorry for anybody in my life.” This tells the entire story.

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