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Abe Attell
Abe Attell LOC.jpg
Real name Abraham Attell
Rated at Featherweight
Nationality United States American
Birth date February 22, 1884
Birth place San Francisco, California
Death date February 7, 1970 (aged 85)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 172
Wins 125
Wins by KO 51
Losses 18
Draws 21
No contests 8

Abraham Washington "Abe" Attell (February 22, 1884 – February 7, 1970), better known in the boxing world as Abe "The Little Hebrew" Attell, was a boxer who became known for his record-setting period as world Featherweight champion, as well as for his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal and other scandals.


Life and career

Attell was born in San Francisco, California. He was Jewish, but grew up in an Irish neighborhood. Because of that, he often found himself involved in fights, and according to him, he would get involved in as many as 10 bouts each day as a kid. Attell's father abandoned his family when Attell was 13, and Attell had to sell newspapers to support his family. He used to sell them on the streets and corners, and while selling newspapers, he got a chance to witness the fight between Solly Smith and George Dixon for the world's Featherweight championship. With that, Attell and two of his brothers were convinced that maybe they had a future in boxing.

Attell's first fight was on August 19, 1900, when he knocked out Kid Lennett in two rounds. His mother, who strongly opposed Attell's idea of being a boxer, later became one of Attell's staunchest supporters, even betting on her son to win. He gained the nickname "The Little Hebrew" in these early fights.

Attell won 10 fights in a row by knockout and later moved to Denver, Colorado, where he met Dixon for the world's Featherweight championship in 1903, when Attell was 18. He beat Dixon by a decision in 15 rounds, and became world Featherweight champion. He lost the crown in his second defense, being knocked out in five rounds by Tommy Sullivan. However, he regained the crown from Sullivan by beating him in their rematch by knockout. Attell then went on his streak of 18 defenses in a row (a division record until Eusebio Pedroza broke it in 1985). Attell beat, among others, Battling Nelson and Johnny Kilbane during that streak. His nicknamed changed into the "The Little Champ" during this streak.

During his time as a world champion, Attell was allegedly involved with gambler/gangster Arnold Rothstein. According to some legends, they became very good friends during this period.

Attell went on to lose his world Featherweight title to Kilbane in 1912, losing by a 20 round decision, in a fight where Kilbane declared that Attell's handlers put a substance on Attell's glove to make Kilbane blind. According to live witnesses, Attell also tried an assortment of other illegal methods to win the fight.

On July 4, 1913, Attell accidentally hit the referee on the face during a win against Willie Beecher. He finally retired in 1917.

Attell managed one boxer in his career, Marty Goldman, to a 33 Win (10 ko's), 11 Loss, 3 Draw record in 47 career fights.[1]

Attell was involved in one of sport's largest scandals of all time, when he was accused in 1920 of being the messenger between Rothstein and players of the Chicago White Sox baseball organization, during the planning stages of the alleged fix of the 1919 World Series, also known as the Black Sox scandal. Attell's name made it back to the newspaper headlines, and he along with Rothstein and many White Sox players, were formally accused of many charges, including fixing the event. All were eventually found not guilty but banned from participating in baseball activities. Attell subsequently denied being involved in any talks about fixing the series, and he alleged that the wrong Abe Attell was accused.

Bat Masterson, dean of the New York boxing journalists, considered Abe Attell pound for pound the best fighter, outside of Wyatt Earp, that he had ever seen.

He was, however, inducted as a member of various halls of fame for boxers.

Attell had a record of 92 wins, 10 losses, 18 draws and 45 no-decisions, with 51 wins by knockout, making him a member of Ring Magazine's list of fighters with 50 or more knockout wins.

Attell died in New Paltz, New York.

Halls of Fame

Attell was inducted into the original Boxing Hall of Fame.

Attell, who was Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.[2]

Attell was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a member of their original class, in 1990.

Attell was also inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the San Francisco Boxing Hall of Fame.


External links



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