Titles: World lightweight champion 1943, 1944-1947 Record: 75-19-3 Born: Febuary 10, 1919 in Sumter, South Carolina (USA) Years active: 1938-1950 Nickname: The Bobcat Montgomery is a boxer who if he had used all his skills might have been a legendary boxer instead of a great boxer. In a era of great boxers in his weight class he stood out as one of the toughest along with Ike Williams and Beau Jack. They made up a iron triangle of top flight lightweights that could have been champions in any era and who dominated the very good crop of talent of the time. Bob had extraordinary handspeed and could maneuver in the ring with the best of them, his problem might have been that he also had a great chin. This allowed him to easily be drawn into brawls instead of outboxing his foes, of course his style also made him a fan favorite and thus allowed him to earn more money. This was the trade of the naturally smooth boxer who had a aggressive streak in him made willingly. It is a testament to his ability that he would still win many fights when he did not employ his best skills. Bob also had a tendency to start slowly building momentum as the fight wore on, and his opponents wore down. Montgomery got his nickname of "The Bobcat" from a Philadelphia sportswriter because Bob continually moved forward pawing and striking at his foes. At the tender age of 21 he was already mixing it up with former world champions Lew Jenkings and Sammy Angott. Montgomery should also be applauded for not quitting after losing his first two title shots and plugging away to get back into the title mix. Montgomery was born in South Carolina and after little schooling and a lot of manual labor left his home at age 15 to find his brother who had moved to Philadelphia a year earlier. Montgomery began to box almost at the moment he arrived and fell under the management of Joe Gramby, one of the first influential black managers on the East Coast. At 5 foot 8 inches tall Montgomery used his size and skills to run up a Amateur Record of 32-2. Starting his pro career in the talent rich city of Philadelphia provided him with many learning experiences which were used to carry him to future titles. But the skills Montgomery displayed set him apart even in his early fights and he quickly moved up the rankings in the prestigious "The Ring" magazine rankings. In his first year as a pro he went 6-0 and only one of his foes lasted the distance. 1939 saw Montgomery fight in 19 bouts, which included 1 draw (later avenged) against George Zenegaras and a disputed loss to Tommy Spiegel. All fights were held in Philadelphia or Atlantic City where Montgomery had now build a large following. After 2 years Montgomery was 23-1-1 with 17 knockouts to his credit. His third year saw a decided step up in competition and it showed,in 7 fights Bob went 3-2-2 but his wins over Al Nettlow and Jimmy Vaughn showed Bob could compete at the world level. It is those wins that also earned him his first title shot, which came against Lew Jenkings. All of these fight came within his first 3 years of turning pro! These accomplishments had him ranked as a top lightweight contender for the year of 1941 by "The Ring" magazine even after losing the two title shots. And 1941 would arguably be the best year of Montgomery's career which included a title win. It began with 4 wins over good competition and culminated with a title shot rematch against Lew Jenkings. After winning the title Bob ran of 9 more (no-title) fights in 1941 against admittedly weak opposition. This was done to fatten up his bank account after years of taking the short end of purses. 1942 saw Montgomery come face to face again with a man he just could not beat.... Sammy Angott. He met Angott in his second fight of the year and first title defense and had already lost to Angott a year earlier. Angott was a clever boxer whose nickname of "The Clutch" came because he persisted on clutching his opponent so often following clean punches that Angott had landed. This frustrated Montgomery a lot and had him looking to land one big punch, which never came. 2 distance fight wins after his loss to Angott would earn Montgomery a rematch with Sammy Angott. The same result ensued as Montgomery was once again frustrated over 12 rounds. The year ended with a win over Bobby Ruffin and a inexplicable loss to Max Shapiro which was avenged two months later the same way he lost...... via 10 round decision. 1943 saw Montgomery match his 1941 heroics with 5 wins over good opposition, the most notable a 10 round win over Lulu Constantino which afforded Montgomery a lightweight title shot. This came at his New York City rival's hometown and Jack was considered a 3 to 1 favorite. Montgomery dominated the fight after getting rocked in the opening round and showed how good he could have been if had boxed his whole career. Bob skillfully countered the attacks of Jack with combination punches from angles. Jack continually pressed the action but could never connected cleanly or get out of the way of the counter punches. The fight ended with Jack's eyes swollen shut and his lip badly disfigured. In a ironic twist the favorite would loose every bout. This was the beginning of a 4 fight series that might the best friendly rivalry in all of lightweight history. 4 wins followed the victory with the most notable coming over Fritzie Zivic. The end of the year saw Montgomery facing off with Beau Jack again as a 4 to 1 favorite. In the rematch the heavily favored Montgomery traveled to New York City to meet Jack who was bolstered by his home town crowd. Jack won the early rounds with pressure and pushing Montgomery into the corners. But Montgomery launched a furious rally in the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds and was thought a bit unlucky by some to loose the 15 round fight via split decision. The decision however was judged to be fair by most ringsiders even though he floored Jack twice, in our era of 10-8 scoring instead of rounds scoring it might have made the difference in Montgomery retaining a title. Two wins would open 1944 including what was perhaps the best win of Bob's career when he dominated future champ and Hall of Fame boxer Ike Williams over 12 brutally one sided rounds. Montgomery felt so sure of a win that he bet $1,000 on himself. It was a loss that Ike Williams took personally, and he held a grudge towards Montgomery in the years to come feeling that Montgomery had unnessaceraly extended the fight. Maybe Bob was feeling full of himself after the great win over Ike Williams and overlooked his next opponent. As a results he was knocked out in the first round by self proclaimed streetfighter Al "Bummy" Davis in just 63 seconds of the first round. In that 63 seconds Williams was down twice. Davis was by no means championship material but he had the reputation as a knockout puncher which Montgomery obviously did not pay attention to. Davis had previously knocked out the great Tony Canzoneri, and was the only man to ever do so. Beau Jack perhaps feeling the Davis KO of Montgomery signaled a decline of Montgomery signed to meet Bob for a third time. Two weeks after the Davis knockout Montgomery stepped through the ropes to meet his nemesis Beau Jack again. Before a packed house of 19,066 at Madison Square Garden Montgomery won a 12 round split decision. The rematch with Montgomery again went 15 rounds but this time Beau Jack was the crisper fighter and his offensive style won the judges favor and his crown back. Unlike the first fight Jack did not tire in the later rounds. A easy win over Joey Peralta would lead to a another showdown with Beau Jack, this time in a non title bout. In his 4th fight with Beau Jack, Montgomery would loose a 10 round decision. It was the dullest of the 4 fight series and ended their 55 rounds of boxing against each other. The fight was basically a wrestling and mauling match. Montgomery forced his way past the jabs of Jack (when he did try to box) to tear down the midsection of Jack. Again Beau Jack faded late and Montgomery won a very close decision. The fight produced $35,864,00 in sales of war bonds at the arena, a record not even Joe Louis fights could equal! After the fight Montgomery (on the same day as Beau Jack) was called into the U.S Army and spent most of his 7 months in the Army performing in exhibition fights in aid of the war troops and to earn money for war bonds. In 1945 Montgomery after he had been released from the army he traveled to the West Coast for fights. He was rudely received by Nick Moran in his third fight on the West Coast, Moran outpointed him over 10 rounds. The loss was quickly avenged two months and 1 day later. But there seemed little doubt that Montgomery for some reason was no longer on top of his skills. A 4 fight wining streak in 1946 lead to a Allie Stolz fight in New York City in which Montgomery retained his title via a 13 round knockout. Over the next two years Montgomery fought 10 times with success but his skills were eroding to the point where he suffered two unexpected losses, one to Wesley Mouzon (avenged via KO) and Tony Pellone (his first time at the 140 pound weight limit), both were capable boxers but Montgomery was the favorite in both fights. On a side not Mouzon fought the two fights with Montgomery with a detached retina. Any doubts about the fading skills of Montgomery were put to rest when Ike Williams brutally sent Montgomery into a fistic spiral at Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium in front of 30,500 fans. It was Montgomery's biggest payday as he walked away with a $47,000 paycheck but the physical punishment he absorbed was incalculateble. The fight was still a pick' em fight even though most saw Williams as a fading star. For two rounds of the fight Montgomery looked the faster man, after 5 rounds the fight was actually pretty even as Montgomery seemingly found a reserve of youth. In the 6th round however Williams knocked Montgomery down twice and the referee was forced to stop the fight. The bout up until that point however was wildly exciting with both men taking the initiative and was voted one of the 20 greatest fights of all time in a 1981 "The Ring" magazines poll of experts. After the fight Ike Williams was still mad at over his previous loss to Montgomery (where he thought Montgomery had needlessly punished him) and stated "I didn't get him as good as I wanted to. I wanted to murder him, he's no bleeding good." Montgomery would not win another fight after the brutal loss to Williams, going 0-6 in comeback fights against weak foes. Still the last 6 fights should not be held against Williams when looking over his entire fistic career. In 1950 Montgomery retired from boxing with some Philadelphia properties and tons of memories to show for his career. But over the years Montgomery would loose all his assets to a gambling habit and would go back to work as a salesman. In the 1970's Montgomery would again give back to his community by counseling street gang members for the city of Philadelphia. In 1995, Montgomery was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Montgomery died 3 years later on August 25th, 1998 of a heart attack in his adoptive hometown of Philadelphia Pa.
-1938- Oct 23 Johnny Buff Atlantic City KO 2 Oct 27 Pat Patucci Atlantic City KO 2 Nov 4 Eddie Stewart Philadelphia KO 2 Nov 10 Joe Beltrane Atlantic City KO 3 Nov 17 Red Rossi Atlantic City KO 2 Dec 8 Jackie Shepard Atlantic City W 8 -1939- Jan 19 Harvey Jacobs Atlantic City KO 1 Feb 2 Charley Burns Atlantic City W 8 Feb 23 Jay Macedon Atlantic City W 8 Mar 9 Billy Miller Atlantic City KO 2 Mar 16 Frankie Saia Philadelphia KO 4 Mar 30 Benny Berman Atlantic City W 8 Apr 13 Young Raspi Atlantic City KO 6 Apr 20 Eddie Guerra Atlantic City W 8 May 1 George Zengaras Philadelphia D 10 May 23 Norment Quarles Philadelphia KO 4 Jun 15 Charley Burns Atlantic City KO 2 Jun 21 Tommy Rawson Philadelphia KO 1 Jul 3 Frankie Wallace Philadelphia W 10 Aug 14 Jimmy Murray Philadelphia KO 3 Aug 24 Ray Ingram Atlantic City W 10 Oct 5 Charley Gilley Atlantic City KO 6 Oct 23 Mike Evans Philadelphia W 10 Nov 10 Tommy Spiegel Philadelphia L 10 Nov 17 Mike Evans Philadelphia KO 1 -1940- Jan 29 Al Nettlow Philadelphia D 10 Mar 11 Al Nettlow Philadelphia W 10 Jun 3 Al Nettlow Philadelphia W 12 Jul 5 Jimmy Vaughn Atlantic City KO 2 Sep 16 Lew Jenkins Philadelphia L 12 Nov 7 Norment Quarles Atlantic City D 10 Nov 25 Sammy Angott Philadelphia L 10 -1941- Jan 29 Julie Kogon Brooklyn W 8 Feb 7 Al Nettlow New York W 8 Mar 3 George Zengaras Philadelphia KO 3 Apr 28 Nick Peters Philadelphia KO 3 May 16 Lew Jenkins New York W 10 Jun 16 Manuel Villa Baltimore KO 1 Jun 30 Wishy Jones Washington DC KO 6 Jul 3 Frankie Wallace Atlantic City KO 3 Jul 14 Luther "Slugger" White Baltimore W 10 Sep 8 Mike Kaplan Philadelphia W 10 Oct 10 Davey Day Chicago KO 1 Oct 24 Julie Kogon Chicago W 10 Oct 30 Frankie Wallace Williamsport, PA KO 5 Dec 8 Jimmy Garrison Philadelphia KO 4 -1942- Jan 5 Mayon Padlo Philadelphia KO 8 Mar 6 Sammy Angott New York L 12 Apr 20 Joey Peralta Philadelphia W 10 May 8 Carmen Notch Toledo, OH W 10 Jul 7 Sammy Angott Philadelphia L 12 Aug 13 Bobby Ruffin New York W 10 Oct 6 Maxie Shapiro Philadelphia L 10 Dec 1 Maxie Shapiro Philadelphia W 10 -1943- Jan 8 Chester Rico New York KO 8 Feb 22 Lulu Constantino Philadelphia W 10 Apr 5 Ramon Alvarez Philadelphia KO 4 Apr 30 Gene Johnson Scranton, PA W 10 May 3 Henry Vasquez Holyoke, MA W 8 May 21 Beau Jack New York W 15 (Wins New York State Lightweight Title) Jul 4 Al Reasoner New Orleans KO 6 Jul 30 Frankie Wills Washington DC W 10 Aug 23 Fritzie Zivic Philadelphia W 10 Oct 25 Petey Scalzo Philadelphia KO 6 Nov 19 Beau Jack New York L 15 (Loses New York Lightweight Title) -1944- Jan 7 Joey Peralta Detroit W 10 Jan 25 Ike Williams Philadelphia KO 12 Feb 18 Al Davis New York KO by 1 Mar 3 Beau Jack New York W 15 (Regains New York Lightweight Title) Apr 28 Joey Peralta Chicago W 10 Aug 4 Beau Jack New York L 10 -1945- Feb 13 Cecil Hudson Los Angeles W 10 Mar 20 Gennaro Rojo Los Angeles KO 8 May 8 Nick Moran Los Angeles L 10 Jul 9 Nick Moran Philadelphia W 10 -1946- Feb 3 Bill Parsons New Orleans W 10 Feb 15 Leo Rodak Chicago W 10 Mar 8 Tony Pellone New York W 10 Mar 21 Ernie Petrone New Haven, CT KO 4 Jun 28 Allie Stolz New York KO 13 (Retains New York Lightweight Title) Jul 29 George LaRover Springfield, MA W 10 Aug 19 Wesley Mouzon Philadelphia KO by 2 Nov 26 Wesley Mouzon Philadelphia KO 8 (Retains New York Lightweight Title) -1947- Jan 20 Eddie Giosa Philadelphia KO 5 Feb 7 Tony Pellone Detroit L 10 Feb 25 Joey Barnum Los Angeles KO 7 Mar 31 Jesse Flores San Francisco KO 3 May 12 George LaRover Philadelphia W 10 Jun 2 Julie Kogon New Haven, CT W 10 Jun 9 Frankie Cordino Springfield, MA W 10 Aug 4 Ike Williams Philadelphia KO by 6 (Loses NY, For NBA and World Lightweight Titles) Nov 24 Livio Minelli Philadelphia L 10 Dec 22 Joey Angelo Boston L 10 -1948 to 1949- Inactive -1950- Feb 3 Aldo Minelli Washington DC L 10 Feb 27 Johnny Greco Monreal L 10 Mar 9 Don Williams Worcester, MA L 10 Mar 27 Eddie Giosa Philadelphia L 10