With Johnny Dundee. The super featherweight division was born 99 years ago

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With Johnny Dundee. The super featherweight division was born 99 years ago

The super featherweight division recognized by the boxing’s world governing organizations, was created at the end of the second decade of the twentieth century. It features fighters weighing more than 57.152 kilos and no more than 58.967 (over 126 pounds, but not over 130).

It dates back 99 years and 3 months from its first champion, Johnny Dundee, 11/22/1921 to the most recent one, the Venezuelan Roger “Kid” Gutierrez, WBA regular champion, 01/02/2021 with his victory by UD against the Nicaraguan René Alvarado in Dallas, Texas. The undefeated American Gervonta Davis (24-0-0, 23 KOs) is the Super Champion, and also lightweight champion.

The super featherweights got deactivated between the years 30-50 and would only shine again from 1959 onwards. It records many illustrious names such as Cuban Eligio Sardinas, “Kid Chocolate”, champion between 1931-33; Americans Sandy Saddler, Floyd Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya; Filipinos Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Manny Pacquiao; Puerto Ricans Samuel Serrano, Alfredo Escalera, Héctor “Macho” Camacho and Wilfredo Gómez; Nicaraguan Alexis Argüello, and Mexican Julio César Chávez, among others.

DUNDEE MAKES HISTORY

It is safe to say that no expert on the subject would dare to say that Johnny Dundee was the best super featherweight in the records of boxing. However, there is no doubt that he is a relevant name in the category, born on November 18, 1921 when he became world champion.

Dundee, The Ring Magazine Hall of Famer since 1957 and exalted in 1991 to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, was born Giuseppe Corrara, was Angelo Dundee’s older brother (Angelo Mirena his real name), perhaps the most famous trainer in history.

Dundee, born on November 23, 1893, was a native of Sciacca, southwest of Sicily, Italy, and emigrated as a child with his parents to New York City, thrown by the horrific horrors of World War I (1914-1917). He made his professional debut on August 10, 1910 in New York against Bob Skinny, with 105 lbs. in a fight that ended in his favor with a “newspaper decision”, frequent in those times, rulings granted by the chroniclers of the written press. Specialized sites do not compute these results.

Nicknamed Scotch Wop, something like Scottish Spaghetti, he got his first chance on April 29, 1913 against Johnny Kilbane, in Vernon, California, for the featherweight title, a fight that ended in a draw. Eight years later, Dundee fought for the throne for the first time in the Madison of NY. The opponent was George “KO” Chaney and Dundee became world champion by disqualification of the opponent, in the fifth. In the first defense he defeated Jack Sharkey on points in July 1922 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY, and followed with victories over Vincent Martin (August 1922), and Elino Flores (February 1923). Jack Bernstein dethroned him on June 15 of the same year at Madison.

The restless Johnny Dundee then knocked out Danny Frush in 9 and was recognized as champion at 126 pounds in 1922, with the endorsement of the New York Athletic Commission, later NBA. In a unification against the NBA sovereign -later WBA since 1962-, Welshman Eugene Criqui, the Italian-American won on points at the Polo Grounds in New York in July 1923. In December of that same year, he regained the 130 lbs. belt in a rematch against Bernstein.

After winning two more and losing a couple of others, in June of the following year he lost in 10 rounds to Steve “Kid Sullivan” in NY. He then fought against Tony Canzoneri on 10/24/27 for the vacant NY Athletic Commission featherweight title at the Madison. He came down from the corner with his 16th loss on his back, a lot for someone of his proven quality.

Four wins, 8 setbacks to inferior opponents deterred him from continuing and he retired after dominating Mickey Greb in 6 in May ’32. After 22 years of action (1910-32), he finished with 83 (17 by KO)-32 (2 by KO) -20, according to BoxRec, and 92 (22) -33 (1)-18 for The Boxing Record Book.

He died at the age of 72, on April 22, 1965.




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