Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Chapter Ten – The War Years Part II Chapter Ten covers the lighter weight classes during the War years of the Nineteen Forties. Sammy Angott, a tough lightweight out of Pittsburg claimed the undisputed title in 1941. He then vacated the title sending it into chaos of partial champions, including Beau Jack, Bob Montgomery, Juan Zurita, and Ike Williams. The title was not unified again until 1947 when Ike Williams knocked out Bob Montgomery. Williams held the crown until 1951. Williams was managed at least for part of his career by the notorious Blinky Palermo who had ties to organized crime. Williams had to later testify before the Kefauver Commission investigation into professional boxing and the mob. Ah, boxing!
The real action in the lighter weights of the Nineteen Forties were the first three fights of a four fight series between featherweight champion Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler. Pep was the greatest featherweight champion in history; see Appendix Facing Sadler for the first time he took a record of 134 wins against 1 loss and 1 draw. In one of my favorite boxing quotes of all time, Pep stated “they call Sugar Ray Robinson the greatest pound for pound. I am the greatest ounce for ounce.” Well, Sandy Saddler was the greatest this night. Knocking Pep down four times, Saddler, a great fighter himself, won by stoppage in round four of their fight in 1948. Putting together the fight of his life, Pep regained the title by a fifteen round decision in 1949, but lost it to Saddler again 1950. The two fought a fourth time in 1951 and Saddler won again. You might say Sandy Saddler had Willie Pep’s number.
Another great, bantamweight Manuel Ortiz, won the Bantamweight title in 1942 and defended it fifteen times before losing it to Harold Dade in 1947. A pair of pretty good flyweights, Jackie Paterson and Rinty Monaghan, a Scot and an Irishman each held the Flyweight championship late in the decade. More excerpts from this book coming soon! Stay tuned.