AAbebAberAbeaAbehAbeaAbemAbe AbeWAbeaAbesAbehAbeiAbenAbegAbetAbeoAbenAbe AbeâAbe€AbeśAbeAAbebAbeeAbeâAbe€AbeťAbe AbeAAbetAbetAbeeAbelAbelAbe (Abraham Washington Attell)

Abraham Washington “Abe” Attell

Hall-of-Fame Professional Boxer. A legendary featherweight (126 pound) world titleist called variously “The Little Champ” and “The Little Hebrew”, his reputation was tarnished by his participation in the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” affair. Born Abraham Washington Attell, he was raised in an Irish neighborhood of San Francisco where he was frequently bullied because of his small size and ethnicity until he and others found that he was more than capable of beating up his tormenters. Attell sold newspapers for a time then had his first professional fight at 15, knocking out a nonentity named Kid Lennett in the second round on August 19, 1900. After scoring 10 straight knockout victories he moved to Denver in 1901 and on October 28th. of that year claimed a share of the world championship by winning a 15 round decision from Canadian George Dixon in St. Louis. Also in St. Louis he beat Johnny Reagan for the vacant and undisputed crown on September 3, 1903, then lost it to Tommy Sullivan on October 13, 1904. He was to regain the title by outpointing Jimmy Walsh at Chelsea, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1906, then successfully defend it 18 times before losing a decision to Johnny Kilbane in Vernon, California, six years to the day after beating Walsh. Attell opened a New York shoe store in 1916, a prosperous venture as plenty of customers wanted to meet The Little Champ, but quit about a year later to go into Vaudeville. His retirement from the ring was gradual with his last bout a win on points over Billy Burke on November 29, 1917, at Allentown, Pennsylvania; his final record was 125 wins with 51 by knockout, 18 losses, 21 draws, and 8 no-decisions. Attell was no stranger to sports’ dark side as his mother apparently made money betting on his fights; he was for many years associated with New York Jewish Mafia boss Arnold Rothstein and is said to have made money for the Mob by tanking bouts he could easily have won, though on the other side of the coin he sometimes tried dirty tricks as when his corner men put a caustic substance on his gloves during his 1912 loss to Kilbane. The Chicago Black Sox scandal of 1919 will forever remain part of myth and folklore but in basic fact eight members (officially at least) of the heavily favored American League champion Chicago White Sox took payments of $5,000 each to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The operation was apparently the brainchild of Boston gambler Joseph “Sport” Sullivan (though in a separate version of the tale first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil hatched the idea and approached Sullivan) with Rothstein supplying most of the cash and Attell acting as middleman in dealing with the ringleader Gandil, chosen for the role because as a world class athlete himself he could be accepted by the players. Cincinnati won the Series five games to three and a great deal of money was made, some of it by Attell; when things blew-up in 1920 Attell hid out in Canada for a year before returning to New York to face a trial in which he won acquittal by somehow convincing a jury that there must have been another Abe Attell. In the aftermath he suffered no legal sanctions and remained free to participate in boxing while the “Eight Men Out” were banned from baseball for life. Still allied with Rothstein he is said to have helped rig the September 23, 1926, Philadelphia fight in which Gene Tunney decisioned Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight crown. Attell was named to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1955, the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, the San Francisco Boxing Hall of Fame in 1985, was a 1990 charter inductee into the World Boxing and International Boxing Halls of Fame, and was placed third behind Terry McGovern and Jim Driscoll on “Ring” magazine publisher Nat Fleischer’s list of the all time greatest featherweights. He managed one boxer, Marty Goldman, to a successful career and lived out his days as a New York “man-about-town”, remaining active into old age. His brothers Monte and Caesar were also fighters with Monte holding the bantemweight crown in the early 1900s marking the first time that brothers were concurrent world champions. (bio by: Bob Hufford)


  • February, 22, 1884
  • USA


  • February, 02, 1970
  • USA


  • Beaverkill Cemetery
  • USA

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