Top Ten Jewish Boxers

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Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Rowley on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 12:59 pm

Have recently finished an interesting look at the era between the 20s and 50s when Jewish fighters were far more prominent in the sport, Allen Bodner's When Boxing was a Jewish Sport, in amongst all the appendicies and records at the back is a list of the top ten Jewish fighters of all time. Appreciate top tens tend to get done to death on here and other forums but can't remember seeing this one so thought it would provide a change and surely there must be a few out there seeking refuge from discussions of fake moon landings and grassy knolls. It is also worth noting the list was not put forward by Bodner but was made by historians Mike Silver, the peerless Hank Kaplan and ex pro Vic Zimet.

1 Benny Leonard
2 Abe Attell
3 Ted Kid Lewis
4 Harry Lewis
5 Barney Ross
6 Lew Tendler
7 Charley White
8 Jackie Kid Berg
9 Joe Choynski
10 Louis Kid Kaplan

Am sure none of us have too much issue with the top spot as Leonard surely deserves the nod but what does everyone else think? Will be honest there are a couple of names I am not as familiar with as I should be such as White and Lewis but was surprised not to see light heavy great Rosenbloom earn a berth and a little surprised to see Ross as low as five but would welcome any other contributions or insight from those who are familiar with the likes of White and Lewis.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 1:17 pm

Rosenbloom never gets the plaudits his results deserve because of the way he fought which is unfortunate but understandable, having said that he should be at least 9th ahead of White and Lewis. In the case of the latter he seems to be ridiculously high, don't know a great deal about him but from what I do know couldn't envisage any argument that could have him above Ross who should be second behind Ross. Charley White was a victim of the no decision era, on a few occassions fighting for a world title clearly had the better of things but didn't get the official win and title he deserved.

1. Benny Leonard
2. Barney Ross
3. Ted Lewis
4. Lew Tendler
5. Abe Attell
6. Jack Berg
7. Maxie Rosenbloom
8. Charley White
9. Joe Choynski
10 Louis Kaplan

Would even have the two Levinskys, Singer, Fields and Callahan above Harry Lewis, can't get my head around such a high ranking for him.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ShahenshahG on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 1:19 pm

Attell was held back a little by his style - I think it was either chicago or montreal news that was scathing of him in his fight against Moran. Might want to google that rowley, i belive you are partial to moran?

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Rowley on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 1:30 pm

Attell is an odd one Shah as there are so many rumours of him throwing fights or being involved in fixes is hard to know how many of his losses or poor performances were down to this, he also compounded this and gave credence to this view by being involved in the fixing of the 1919 wolrd series. Is interesting in the book it becomes apparent Jewish fighters and fight fans are a little embarrased by Attell, is clear Leonard and to a lesser extent Ross are held rightly in huge esteem but for such a terrific fighter references or praise for Attell is pretty scarce.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ShahenshahG on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 1:52 pm

I see your point - though I was unaware of rumours of fixed fights - it stands to reason that the same could happen in boxing. I will buy the book when i can and read through - cheers for that.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by HumanWindmill on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 1:52 pm

Interesting list, jeff.

We can always quibble with somebody else's rankings but I must say my eyebrow shot up at Ross' placing. I, like Ghosty, would have him a solid second behind Leonard.

Would also find a place for Jackie Fields. Olympic champion and pro welter champ who retired with a pretty handy record and was only ever stopped once, and that by McLarnin. I'm a Choynski enthusiast, but I suspect that, in this instance, he made the cut for historical reasons. I'd be happy enough to sacrifice him to accommodate Fields.

As always, though, it's all about opinions and, without knowing the criteria upon which the list was based, it's not easy to pick fault. Except in the issue of Ross' placement, of course.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by johnson2 on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 3:41 pm

Dimitri Salita must be in with a shout.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by davidemore on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 4:15 pm

slightly taboo post. I don't really know of any Jewish boxers to be honest, not one outside of that hack Salita.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by The Galveston Giant on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 4:35 pm

Roman Greenberg.
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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Il Gialloblu on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 5:05 pm

Yuri Foreman?
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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 5:11 pm

Do find it strange that we've not had a truly great jewish boxer since they dominated the lower divisions in the 1930's.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by 88Chris05 on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 6:10 pm

Nice article Jeff, and I think you mostly have the right names there, although I'd contend that Ross would be a very strong number two behind Benny. Attell remains someone who is looked upon a little too kindly in my eyes, although obviously still one hell of a Featherweight. Don't think there have been many who profited as heavily from the 'No Decision' era as he did.

One name which I am surprised to have not seen so far would be Benny Bass. Would certainly figure for me.

Top ten would change a lot, but right now I'll go for 1) Benny Leonard 2) Barney Ross 3) Abe Attell 4) Maxie Rosenbloom 5) Ted 'Kid' Lewis 6) Lew Tendler 7) Jack 'Kid' Berg 8) Benny Bass 9) Joe Choynski 10) Charlie White

Kaplan would be amongst my near misses, as would Mike Rossman, Fields, Levinsky and a host of others.

Good work.
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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 6:15 pm

Will openly admit I had completely forgot about Bass, he would still be outside my top ten but around 11/12, good to see im not the only one who has Harry Lewis so low.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by 88Chris05 on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 7:05 pm

Will admit, Ghosty, that I was surprised to see Rowley giving Harry Lewis such a high ranking, but at the same time I have to admit that my knowledge of him isn't exactly top notch, either. Therefore I felt it best not to rank him as I can't really make a one hundred percent informed opinion on the man. Given that Rowley puts him so high, though, I imagine I'll be looking for some in depth information on him soon.
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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 7:13 pm

Christoph think this is a list Rowley has copied from a book rather than his personal rankings. Only Lewis' name in passing and having done a little bit of research he doesn't look to have been anything overly special.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 7:44 pm

Welcome to the board Golbaboy.


Anyway, Gary Jacobs? Zab Judah (I believe Zab belongs to some African American black jewish cult).

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 8:06 pm

Jewish fighters had have such a great legacy in that era but I have always wondered what happened to the great talent pool of Jewish fighters since their hayday. Great names like Barney Ross and Leonard stand out but most were Jews of Eastern European decent. Was any of them from Isreal?

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 8:07 pm

Jewish fighters had have such a great legacy in that era but I have always wondered what happened to the great talent pool of Jewish fighters since their hayday. Great names like Barney Ross and Leonard stand out but most were Jews of Eastern European decent. Was any of them from Isreal?

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 8:59 pm

Onetwo

Simple economics. As jewish people became more prosperous, boxing (fighting) their way out of poverty became less of an attractive option.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:07 pm

azania

You underestimate those great Jewish boxers. Benny Leonard by all accounts was a fantastic fighter in his time, who made a ton of money and still carried on boxing. He fell on hard times later in life but that was due to bad investment or bad advice during the depression but you cannot doubt the love of the sport that they had.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:11 pm

ONETWOFOREVER wrote:azania

You underestimate those great Jewish boxers. Benny Leonard by all accounts was a fantastic fighter in his time, who made a ton of money and still carried on boxing. He fell on hard times later in life but that was due to bad investment or bad advice during the depression but you cannot doubt the love of the sport that they had.

Not underestimating anyone. I dont know how you can say that seeing as I haven't commented on any of them. But Benny Leonard was a class act.

The question I responded to is why there aren't more jewish boxers. I gave my answer.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:14 pm

You implied that Jewish fighters became rich and left the sport they used just to make ends meat. I think that belittles their desire and passion for the sport of boxing. Yes economics plays a huge part especially in those times but you disregard the achievements of the Jewish fighters.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:21 pm

ONETWOFOREVER wrote:You implied that Jewish fighters became rich and left the sport they used just to make ends meat. I think that belittles their desire and passion for the sport of boxing. Yes economics plays a huge part especially in those times but you disregard the achievements of the Jewish fighters.

I implied nothing of the sort. I said as jewish people became more prosperous..........

Why on earth are you building a story based on nothing I have written?

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:26 pm

Lets agree to disagree.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:30 pm

ONETWOFOREVER wrote:Lets agree to disagree.

Disagree on what? When jews became more economically prosperous, many didn't see the need to take up boxing as a career choice. Becoming lawyers, doctors, Nobel Prize winners became a better and safer choice.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:33 pm

azania wrote:
ONETWOFOREVER wrote:Lets agree to disagree.

Disagree on what? When jews became more economically prosperous, many didn't see the need to take up boxing as a career choice. Becoming lawyers, doctors, Nobel Prize winners became a better and safer choice.

Wow! what an assumption to make.

There must be some seriously tough lawyers and doctors out there.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:38 pm

ONETWOFOREVER wrote:
azania wrote:
ONETWOFOREVER wrote:Lets agree to disagree.

Disagree on what? When jews became more economically prosperous, many didn't see the need to take up boxing as a career choice. Becoming lawyers, doctors, Nobel Prize winners became a better and safer choice.

Wow! what an assumption to make.

There must be some seriously tough lawyers and doctors out there.

Mate, you have lost me. What is the issue here? Can I help?

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:43 pm

You can start by reading the original comment I made which you first responded to and point out to me the question you say I asked. Then if you read on you can see the actual question I did ask.

Here is a clue, there is a question mark at the end.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 9:49 pm

The talent pool dried up because they went on to other professions. I dont know what you object so much about that.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 11:06 pm

Onetwo

Not sure if it's pure coincidence but there were less Jewish fighters and hardly any world class ones after the second world war, take from that what you will.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by azania on Sat 07 Jan 2012, 11:19 pm

Imperial Ghosty wrote:Onetwo

Not sure if it's pure coincidence but there were less Jewish fighters and hardly any world class ones after the second world war, take from that what you will.

Weren't the better jewish boxers american or US based 1st generation americans?

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Rowley on Sun 08 Jan 2012, 8:45 am

There has been research done in the past which suggests that every second generation of mass immigration into the US tends to do well at boxing, before taling off as they become settled and better economic opportunities exist, makes sense because for those asking where are all the great Jewish boxers could just as easily be asking where are all the great Irish American boxers or where are all the great Italian American boxers, both of which have in the past produced some truly terrific fighters.

What also should be remembered in the Jewish situation is after the second world war the US government introduced a scheme whereby veterans who had served could either get free or funded college education, so all of a sudden the opportunity of higher education opened up to a whole generation it had previously been closed to. There are a lot of interviews with jewish fighters in the books and almost to a man they say their parents would have prefered them to go to college and really valued education so is likely a lot of the great fighters would have similarly be lost to the sport had they had the educational opportunites their post war counterparts had.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by ShahenshahG on Sun 08 Jan 2012, 8:56 am

rowley wrote:There has been research done in the past which suggests that every second generation of mass immigration into the US tends to do well at boxing, before taling off as they become settled and better economic opportunities exist, makes sense because for those asking where are all the great Jewish boxers could just as easily be asking where are all the great Irish American boxers or where are all the great Italian American boxers, both of which have in the past produced some truly terrific fighters.

What also should be remembered in the Jewish situation is after the second world war the US government introduced a scheme whereby veterans who had served could either get free or funded college education, so all of a sudden the opportunity of higher education opened up to a whole generation it had previously been closed to. There are a lot of interviews with jewish fighters in the books and almost to a man they say their parents would have prefered them to go to college and really valued education so is likely a lot of the great fighters would have similarly be lost to the sport had they had the educational opportunites their post war counterparts had.

Of course. Onetwo seems to be looking for an excuse to hate Azania Laugh It's one of those common sense things - I can't imagine there is a parent out there who would prefer their son to be punched in the head for a living rather than being a nice respectable doctor, lawyer,business man etc. The holocaust has something to do with it too - how could it not - but definately greater opportunities elsewhere play a part. Even now - you can look at americas supreme athletes -opting for Gridiron, Basketball, Baseball when some of them could probably succeed in boxing too - its just that boxing doesnt offer the security of educational scholarships along with their career.


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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Gordy on Sun 08 Jan 2012, 9:05 am

I think the main reason is that Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Jews, Poles etc have all more or less integrated. Plenty of boxers out there will have mixed heritages with part Irish, part Jewish, part Italian in their ethnic make up. Heck even Ali was a 6th Irish or something and had white ancestory in him. Its become a melting pot.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by alexd on Sun 08 Jan 2012, 5:18 pm

Great topic!

These two didn't quite reach the heights of the men on your list, but they're certainly two of the best Jewish fighters - indeed two of the best fighters per se - to come out of Britain.

Al Foreman, one of the hardest hitting lightweights of the pre-war era (for many years he held the record for the quickest ever KO):

http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=54824&cat=boxer

And Harry Mizler, a very clever and stylish boxer:

http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=36447&cat=boxer

I think Al Foreman would have had a fair chance against Jack Kid Berg - in fact it was a fight the public was clamouring for, but one that never happened.

Mizler, of course, fought Berg twice and lost, though if I remember rightly in their first fight he was hampered by a shoulder injury.

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Re: Top Ten Jewish Boxers

Post by Lance on Sun 08 Jan 2012, 11:34 pm

my favourite jew is natalie portman, but i guess that doesnt count as shes not a boxer

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