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WBA TItle Bouts
Abe Attell CH (34-2-1) vs Grover Hayes #11 (18-3)
With few of the top names available, the Little Champ elected to defend against a lesser-known opponent whom many felt would be overmatched in this bout. As the bout unfolded, the experienced Attell totally outclassed his younger foe, mixing aggression with caution and strong defense. Attell closed it out by dropping a game Hayes for the count in the 11th. Attell by KO 11.
Abe Attell CH (35-2-1) vs Terry McGovern #2 (32-12-1)
A rematch of the prior's year title tilt was over at just 1:25 of round one when Attell landed a strong shot to put McGovern out cold. This may be Terrible Terry's swansong as he seemed a shell of his former self. Attell by KO 1.
Abe Attell CH (36-2-1) vs Aurelio Herrera #6 (26-12-2)
Herrera (now USBA champ) gets what may be his last WBA title shot while in the prime of his career (his aging kicks in next year). Hard punches by Attell produced a welt near Herrera's left eye in round one--the eye just got worse as the bout proceeded. Herrera did most of his work on the inside, while Attell preferred the long range technique. Herrera went head-hunting in round 5 and landed a couple of strong shots but Attell remained upright. Attell dominated round 6 and then scored the bout's first knockdown in the 7th when Herrera got overly aggressive. Herrera kept at it but was floored in the 8th by a nifty combination landed by the champ. Attell bloodied Herrera's nose and scored yet another KD in the 9th. A barrage of unanswered blows forced the ref to halt the bout. Attell by TKO 9.
Abe Attell CH (37-2-1) vs Brooklyn Tommy Sullivan #4 (34-11-1)
The two were 1-1 lifetime going in, and Attell was eager to avenge a KO loss to Sullivan back in 1906. Attell, moving well, got off to a quick start, scoring well with crisp, accurate punches. By the end of round 2 the left eye of the challenger was starting to swell. In round four, with both men toe-to-toe, Attell opened a cut over Brooklyn Tommy's right eye. Attell kept up the pressure by working inside, controlling the action. In Round 6, Brooklyn Tommy staggered Attell with a big hook, but could not follow up as Attell covered up well. In Round 7, the champ re-opened the cut which gradually worsened until it resulted in a late round stoppage. Attell by TKO 12 (cuts).
NABF: Five NABF title bouts were staged in 1908, with Young Corbett starting off by defending versus veteran Harry Lyons (UD 12), then losing the crown to Brooklyn Tommy (UD 12) who in turn was upset by Billy Snailham (also UD 12). Corbett wound up the year as NABF champ once again, taking the crown from Snailham (UD 12) before wrapping up the year with a convincing KO 12 win over the aging vet, Joe "Pride of the Bowery" Bernstein.
USBA: Brooklyn Tommy,who had held the USBA belt since 1905, relinquished it after winning the NABF crown. Aurelio Herrera captured the vacant title with a four-round KO of Joe Bernstein. (Not a good year for Joe in title bouts as he wound up on the canvas in both!)
CBU: Brit Owen Moran defended versus fellow Brit, the aging Ben Jordan (UD 12) and then went down under for what was to be Young Griffo's 90th and final bout. The veteran Aussie proved he was still stiff competition, taking the crown from Moran via a UD 12. This crown will be vacant due to Griffo's retirement as 1909 commences.
GBU: Moran's UD 12 win over Jordan also retained his GBU belt; he carries this title with him into 1909.
Jan. 1909 Rankings (Perf Pts and changes from prior year in parens):
Champ Abe Attell 38-2-1 (17) (1217) (NC)
1. Harry Lyons 48-11-1 (26) (847) (up 2)
2. Young Corbett 32-13-4 (20) (794) (up 5)
3. Brooklyn Tommy Sullivan 34-12-1 (21) (729) (down 2)
4. Billy Snailham 22-12-1 (11) (704) (up 9)
5. Percy Cove 17-7-2 (6) (660) (up 9)
6. Terry McGovern 33-14-1 (30) (659) (down 4)
7. Owen Moran 26-7 (14) (605) (down 2)
8. Aurelio Herrera 26-13-2 (24) (605) (NC)
9. Benny Soloman 33-13 (27) (551) (down 3)
10. Grover Hayes 22-5 (17) (525) (up 1)
With a nearly 400 pp gap, it looks like Abe and the 10 dwarves here, much as it was IRL in the FW division where Abe held the crown from 1904-12 as it took some time for credible challengers to emerge. Harry Lyons emerged as the new #1 contender with wins over Soloman, Griffo and Moran after losing an NABF title clash early in the year. Lyons, however, is in the Post-Prime career stage, as are McGovern, Soloman and now Herrera (1909 was his last year IRL). Young Griffo, who was #4 in 1908, retired but had he remained active, with 711 pp, he still would have been #4. An aging Joe Bernstein fell out of the Top 10, down 2 spots to #11, after two KO losses and despite a SD win over Hayes. Eddie Santry also seemed to lose a step, dropping down two spots from #10 with losses to Hayes and Bernstein -- Eddie is also now at Post-Prime. Snailham and Cove made decisive moves, Snailham when he won the NABF belt over BT Sullivan and Cove when he upset the veteran Terry McGovern. Owen Moran's career stalled with a SD loss to Lyons coupled with his CBU title defeat to Griffo, but he still has time to get back into the top ranks of this relatively old-looking division.
Top-ranked TC in FW is Gus Hyatt of Canada, who has a 6-6-1 record and is 19th with -58 perf pts. By the way, left out this info from the above LW report, top LW TC is Canadian Mike Dempster, ranked 29th with a 16-15-2 mark and 23 pps.
The brightest prospect for the future is without doubt Johnny Kilbane, who was the man who took the title from Attell IRL. Here, Johnny is 10-0 versus TC stiffs, all by KO. Other prospects include Billy Elliott of the UK and Jimmy Hill of Australia, each with 5-0 marks versus TCs, and then there is Patsy Kline who actually checks in at 4-1 (upset loss to a TC) and Eddie O'Keefe at 2-0 (1). Patsy Brannigan, Ty Cobb and Italian Kid Julian are set to join the FW ranks in 1909.
Finally, we would be remiss not to mention the four FW boxers who hung up the gloves in 1908, led by the all-time great Young Griffo. Their career stats:
Young Griffo (AUS) 1886-1908 75-11-4 (29) WBA Champ
Dave Sullivan (IRL) 1894-1908 33-20-3 (20) WBA Champ
Tim Hegarty (AUS) 1892-1908 35-33-1 (22) CBU Champ
Hugh McPadden (USA) 1899-1908 18-19-1 (12) No Titles
Griffo set all-time marks for total number of bouts (90) and number of wins (75). He contested 46 different title bouts, winning 37 of them (including his final farewell bout where he beat Owen Moran for the CBU title).