Regular price $185.00

Benny Leonard (born Benjamin Leiner; Hebrew name ãåá áòø áï àáøäí âøùåï [Dov Ber ben Avraham Gershon]; April 17, 1896 – April 18, 1947) was an American professional lightweight boxer. He was ranked 8th on the Ring Magazine's list of the "80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years" and #7 on ESPN's "50 Greatest Boxers of All-Time." In 2005, the International Boxing Research Organization ranked Leonard as the #1 lightweight of all-time. Leonard was known for his speed, excellent boxing technique and ability to think fast on his feet. He also was a hard hitter, who scored 70 KOs out of his 183 wins. Leonard was defeated 24 times and was held to a draw on 8 occasions. As was common in the era in which he fought, Leonard engaged in several no-decision matches and is believed to have fought 219 bouts. Leonard debuted on a Saturday in November 1911—the exact date is unknown—losing in three rounds at the Fondon Athletic Club in New York when the fight was stopped because he was bleeding through the nose. He won 12 of his next 18 bouts (three were no-decisions), establishing a reputation as a good local fighter before meeting Canadian Frankie Fleming in May 1912. Leonard was knocked out for only the second time in his career. He lost a rematch with Fleming 16 months later. (Not surprisingly, Fleming got the first shot at Freddie Welsh, failing to unseat the lightweight champion in a May 1915 fight the newspapers awarded to Welsh.) Leonard’s next big test came when he took on featherweight champion Johnny Kilbane in Atlantic City in April 1915. Kilbane won six of ten rounds to win the decision. “Leonard might have beaten the champion if he had a little more confidence,“ the Chicago Tribune said, “but even when he was having the best of the going he shut up like a clam and clinched for all he was worth.” Leonard then reeled off a string of 15 straight victories (interrupted by two draws), which earned him the chance to meet Freddie Welsh for the lightweight championship on March 3, 1916. Although newspaper reporters at Madison Square Garden believed that Leonard had won, Welsh retained his title in a bout that was officially recorded as a no decision. The two fighters met again four months later in Brooklyn, and this time Welsh won decisively, staggering Leonard and nearly putting him down with a right to the jaw in the sixth. After winning 17 of his next 19 bouts, the 21-year-old Leonard fought Welsh for the third time in the Manhattan Casino on May 28, 1917. The challenger floored the champion three times in the ninth round before referee Billy McPartland stopped the bout, making Leonard the lightweight champion of the world. He officially defended the title seven times over the next eight years. Besides being lightweight Champion, Leonard challenged welterweight Champion Jack Britton for his title on June 26, 1922. He lost the fight when he was disqualified for hitting Britton when Britton was down in the thirteenth round. Leonard announced his retirement from boxing on January 15, 1925, as the reigning World Lightweight Champion because his mother wanted him to. He lost most of his considerable fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, and embarked on an ill-advised comeback in 1931. Although described as pudgy and slow, the balding Leonard won 23 fights, albeit against nondescript opposition, before meeting a championship caliber fighter. On October 7, 1932, his career ended when he was TKOed in 6 rounds by future champion Jimmy McLarnin. Offered here is cartoon artwork of Benny Leonard done by artist Jack Lustig for the San Francisco Bulletin on January 30, 1919. Entitled, THE CHAMPIONS SMILE, this cartoon art was to promote Leonard's fight the following day in San Francisco against Joe Benjamin which Leonard won by 4 round decision.
This is cartoon art done on paper. Bold image and print. Edge and corner wear. Not creased. Some toning of the paper. Not creased. 9 1/4" x 10."

Size: 9 1/4 x 10

Condition: very good