A tough lightweight who averaged 15-20 bouts a year during his career with a world’s title on his resume.
A boxer of unquestionable toughness, Sammy Mandell was one of the top lightweights in the post-Benny Leonard era of the late-1920s. A tough slugger who turned pro in 1920, the still-teenaged Mandell averaged 15-20 bouts a year during his early career.
Mandell lost only five bouts en route to his title shot against lightweight king Rocky Kansas, winning a decision on July 3, 1926. He didn’t put the title on the line for year, but did fight against a host of tough boxers, including contenders Phil McGraw, Billy Petrolle and Jackie Fields.
On May 21, 1928, he completely outclassed future welterweight great Jimmy McLarnin and later outpointed two-division champ Tony Canzoneri. In 1929, the pace of Mandell’s fighting took a toll and he lost two decisions to McLarnin. Eventually, in a title fight, he lost the belt via KO, in just 1:46 of the first round, a victim of power puncher Al Singer. Although no longer a title contender, he fought on until 1934, with at least one noteworthy win, against Battling Nelson.
Sammy died on November 7, 1967. He was elected to the National Italian American Hall of Fame in 1984 and to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.