Benny Leonard (born Benjamin Leiner; April 7, 1896 – April 18, 1947) was a Jewish American professional boxer who held the world lightweight championship for eight years from 1917-25. Widely considered one of the all-time greats, he was ranked 8th on The Ring magazine's list of the "80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years" and placed 7th in ESPN's "50 Greatest Boxers of All-Time". In 2005, the International Boxing Research Organization ranked Leonard as the #1 lightweight, and #8 best pound-for-pound fighter of all-time. Statistical website BoxRec rates Leonard as the 2nd best lightweight ever, while The Ring magazine founder Nat Fleischer placed him at #2. Boxing historian Bert Sugar placed him 6th in his Top 100 Fighters catalogue.
|Real name||Benjamin Leiner|
The Great Bennah
Benny the Great
|Height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Reach||69 in (175 cm)|
|Born||April 7, 1896|
Lower East Side, New York City, New York, United States
|Died||April 18, 1947 51) (aged|
St. Nicholas Arena, New York City, New York
|Wins by KO||70|
Benjamin Leiner was born and raised as a youth in the Jewish ghetto, located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, near Eighth Street and Second Avenue, where he learned to fight the sons of other immigrants. His religious Jewish parents Minny and Gershon Leiner, who immigrated from Russia, disapproved of his fighting but understood his frequent need to defend himself in the poor neighborhoods in which he grew up. His father struggled to support a wife and eight children by working twelve hour days in a garment sweatshop at twenty dollars a week. His annual take home pay rarely eclipsed $1400.
Leonard began his professional career in 1911 at age 15. He took the Americanized name Benny Leonard to prevent his parents from discovering he had taken up professional boxing to earn extra money for them and himself.
Leonard was known for his speed, lightning reflexes, excellent boxing technique, and ability to think fast on his feet. Equally important, he taught himself to be a powerful hitter, who scored 70 Knock Outs from his 89 wins. He was defeated only six times in his career and was held to a draw on few occasions. As was common in the era in which he fought, he engaged in many no-decision matches and is believed to have engaged in around 96 bouts. He most distinguished himself by decisively winning over 90% of his career matches in his prime between 1921-32, and all of his matches decided by judges and based on points.
Leonard debuted his boxing career on a Saturday in November 1911, losing in three rounds at the Fondon Athletic Club in New York. The fight was stopped because he was bleeding through the nose. He won 12 of his next 18 bouts which included three 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 world lightweight champion in a May 1915 fight, which 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. In a close bout, 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 wrote, "but even when he was having the best of the going he shut up like a clam and clinched for all he was worth."
On August 14, 1914, Leonard knocked out Tommy Houck in the seventh of ten rounds at Elmsford, New York. Apparently Leonard had learned Houck's strategy after a previous loss to him one year earlier on September 27, 1913, in a ten round newspaper decision in Atlantic Garden, New York.
Leonard defeated Portuguese boxer Joe Azevedo on November 19, 1915 in Azevedo's hometown of Saratoga Springs, New York, outpointing him in all rounds but the first which was even. Azevedo needed to clinch frequently to avoid Leonard's attack. The New York Times clearly gave the decision to Leonard.
On December 17, 1915, Leonard knocked out Joe Mandot in the seventh round of a ten round bout in Harlem. There was brilliant scientific boxing for the first six rounds, and a few sources reported that Mandot held a slight lead until the knockout. In the end, Leonard scored a decisive victory against a leading contender for the lightweight title. On his second attempt to rise in the seventh, Leonard administered a stinging right to Mandot that put him down for the count. As was his habit, Benny was effective in combinations with both gloves, wearing down Mandot with fast jolts throughout the strategically fought bout, until he could deliver the crossing right in the seventh that put Mandot down for the first time. After his second fall to the canvas, Mandot attempted to drag himself up using the ropes but was unable, and the ten count was completed with him in a seated position. His manager later commented that Mandot was sick before the fight.
In their first meeting on February 28, 1916, Leonard defeated Rocky Kansas in ten rounds in Buffalo, New York. In a complete victory, the Buffalo Courier claimed Kansas "landed only one clean blow" to Leonard's face, and that Leonard's trademark dark, center-parted hair remained smooth, and unmussed throughout the bout. Leonard was said to have "caught punches in the air", blocked Rocky's returns, dealt frequent stunning lefts, and shot his powerful right. He also dodged several of Kansas's punches with rapid and beautifully executed shifts of his torso demonstrating his superior speed and reflexes By the close of the tenth, Kansas was groggy.
First lightweight championship attempt, March, 1916
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.
Leonard met Jimmy Murphy On February 21, 1916, and won decisively in a sixth round knockout in Philadelphia. Leonard outpointed Murphy throughout the six round contest landing more and better blows. In the sixth, Leonard landed his powerful right to Murphy's jaw, and though he rose after a brief count, Leonard again attacked with a rapid series of rights and lefts to the jaw that put Murphy down for the count and rendered him unconscious for several minutes. After the bout, Leonard's fans rushed him and carried him on their shoulders to his dressing room. The accomplished Murphy had recently outpointed reigning lightweight champion Freddie Welsh and had met Ad Wolgast, Johnny Dundee, and Pal Moore.
On March 13, 1916 Leonard defeated Sam Robideau in a six round newspaper decision in Philadelphia. According to the Washington Post, Leonard had Robideau "almost out for the count". In the first three rounds, Robideau tried to take the lead, but Leonard waited him out and let him tire against his defense, still getting a few effective counter punches. In the fourth, he tried Robideau more forcing him to defend against his rapid attack. In the fifth, several lefts to the jaw of Robideau weekend him, but Leonard allowed him to recover. In the sixth, Robideau tried to take the lead, and even hold at times, but Leonard broke from his holds and after a couple of shots to the jaw, and a powerful right put Robideau on the canvas for a count of nine. When Robideau arose, he could only manage to clinch Leonard by the waist and wait for the bell. Robideau had an admirable record against many of the best lightweights of his era, including several opponents of Leonard.
Harlem native Frankie Connifrey, the 'Fighting Fireman" lost decisively to Leonard in a sixth round technical knockout on September 14, 1916. Leonard had the edge in the first five rounds using his characteristic ringcraft to outmaneuver and outbox Conifrey who still returned a few punches of his own. In the sixth, a shower of rights and lefts by Leonard had Conifrey "out on his feet". The referee stopped the fight when one of Connifrey's seconds jumped into the ring, and a small riot ensued when around 300 of Conifrey's fans threw chairs and bottles into the ring.
In a twelfth round technical knockout in Kanasas City on October 18, 1916, Leonard convincingly defeated Ever Hammer. In the final round, Hammer's manager stopped the fight at the count of three after his boxer was knocked to the mat. Of the eleven full rounds fought by the two competitors, Leonard had eight, Hammer only two, and one was even. Hammer was considered the top contender for the lightweight title in the Midwest.
With his string of victories, Leonard had earned enough by 1916 to move his formerly struggling family from their Lower East Side ghetto to a better neighborhood in Harlem, a goal he had had since beginning his boxing career.
On January 22, 1917, Leonard beat Eddie Wallace in a six round newspaper decision before a substantial crowd of 6,000 in Philadelphia. The Washington Post gave Leonard all six rounds. Leonard worked in machine-like form, crashing stunning punches to the head of Wallace, who had little in the way of an effective defense. Wallace was close to being knocked out by the end of round six.
On February 28, 1917, he fought onetime Bantamweight Champion Jimmy Reagan at the Manhattan Casino in Manhattan, New York, in a ten-round match, that the New York Times labeled a draw. The Des Moines Register considered Reagan having gone ten rounds without being knocked out by the extraordinary Leonard a remarkable accomplishment. According to the Ogden Standard, "Dozens of times Jimmy seemed on the point of going down, but always he kept afoot. The Standard also wrote of Leonard, that "there wasn't a punch that he didn't aim at Reagan, and there wasn't one that was forceful enough to keep the Californian at bay."
Taking the world lightweight championship, May, 1917
Winning 17 of 19 bouts after his second loss to Freddie Welsh, the 21-year-old Leonard fought lightweight champion 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 fight with Welsh hanging unconscious on the ropes, making Leonard the World Lightweight Champion. Reflecting the sentiments of the perfect Jewish son, Leonard confided to the press, "My mother deserves all the credit. She always made me live right...tonight he (Welsh) showed more skill than I ever saw before...he is a game fellow. I didn't know it was the ninth round when I went after him at the finish, but I knew the time was getting short...He is a brainy fighter but I know then that his brain wasn't in control. I've always been afraid of hitting a man who was helpless like that so I didn't hit him on the chin again, I hit him on the head, hoping he would go down." Rather than a harsh blow, Leonard used a lighter one, hoping not to excessively injure his opponent. Leonard displayed sportsmanship, humility, consideration for others, and the ability to articulate the qualities that endeared him to the Jewish community of New York, and made him a great draw and a role model to many of his fans. After the bout, Leonard said he intended to enroll in the Army for WWI, where he served as a valued boxing instructor for the troops.
On June 4, 1917, Leonard defeated Joe Welsh in a six round newspaper decision in Philadelphia. Using precision combination punching, Leonard jabbed and hooked with his left and crossed rights to the jaw of Welsh throughout the bout. He threw lightning jabs in the fifth, though their speed did not give him time to set for power. Though he tried hard in the sixth to make Welsh his sixth straight knockout victim, Benny lacked the steam and precision to send Welsh down for the count.
Johnny Nelson lost at Leonard's hometown Harlem Sports Club in New York on June 18, 1917 in a third round technical knockout. The bout was considered Leonard's first defense of his title by some reporters, as he would have lost it if he had been knocked out by his opponent. Nelson was a strong boxer, but he was ineffective against the speed, timing and ringcraft of Leonard who was able to land more powerful punches throughout the bout. With great and unusual gifts of athleticism, Benny defeated stronger opponents without retreating by employing a more complex ring strategy executed with superior speed and agility. His ability to rarely retreat, and his long streak of knockouts, pleased his audience who considered him a true champion.
Victory over featherweight champ, Johnny Kilbane, 1917
On July 25, 1917, Leonard defeated Johnny Kilbane, reigning world featherweight champion from 1912-23, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia in a third round technical knockout. Impressively, it was only the second knockout loss in 122 bouts for Kilbain. Biding his time in the first two rounds, Leonard knew he clearly had the edge in the third, and his blows began to land with authority, speed and precision. Twenty seconds into the round, Leonard landed a crossing right to the chin that put Kilbane against the ropes, then two more rights put him on his knees. After his manager threw in the towel, Kilbane was staggering and unable to return to his corner unaided. It was one of Leonard's most decisive wins against one of his most skilled opponents.
He officially defended the title seven times over the next eight years. Leonard defeated Leo Johnson on September 21, 1917 in one of his first defenses of the World Lightweight Title and won convincingly in a first round technical knockout.
Leoonard defeated Frank Kirke on November 28, 1917 in a stunning first round knockout at Stockyards Stadium in Denver. Kirke was first down from a right to the body, and when he arose, Leonard hammered a right hook to the jaw that put Kirke down for the count, only 1:20 into the first round. Earlier in the first, Leonard shot rights and lefts to Kirke's jaw that caused him to cover and retreat. Leonard's speed and reflexes proved to great for Kirke who could find no adequate defense for Leonard's attack.
On December 12, 1917, Leonard defeated Patsy Cline at the Olympia Athletic Club in Philadelphia in a six round newspaper decision. It was one of the hardest bouts of Leonard's early career, and he had to use his best defenses to guard against the attack of Cline. Leonard was forced to use speed when he had it in the early rounds to defend against Cline, though the pace of the match slowed somewhat in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Leonard was ineffective with his left as a result of the precise right handed blocks of his opponent. In the final round, Leonard attempted to end the match with his powerful left, but was prevented again by the defense of Cline. Cline suffered most in the last two rounds when Leonard scored frequent blows against which he could not defend. Cline excelled most at short range attacks, a more difficult offense to defend, and scored with them occasionally even in the fifth, when Leonard had taken the lead. Cline prevented Leonard from attacking at long range in most instances in the early rounds by retreating or expert blocking, but in the fifth Leonard scored with a few stiff left jolts, and again dominated in the sixth, where he secured his points margin.
Bout with Willie Jackson, and other WWI benefits, 1918
In a four round newspaper decision at New York's shrine to boxing, Madison Square Garden, on July 16, 1918, he defeated Jewish boxer Willie Jackson. Jackson was born Oscar Tobin on the Lower East side of New York, as was Leonard. In the well publicized Army benefit that raised $20,000 to buy soldiers athletic equipment, Leonard took criticism and boos among the audience for not unleashing his best punching against his highly rated lightweight opponent. In other benefits Leonard had also been reluctant to risk injury to his hands, or bring excessive injury in a match that served the community. Regardless, as was his habit, his boxing showed careful strategy, speed, and exceptional reflexes and interested most among the record crowd in the Garden. Leonard appeared far superior to Jackson in frequency of punches, defenses, and speed. He moved easily against Jackson, but threw lefts and rights at will. Leonard staged a total of four exhibition bouts in 1918 to raise war bonds for America's efforts in WWI.
On September 23, 1918, Leonard fought a draw with future British World Welterweight Champion (BBOC) Ted Kid Lewis, another Jewish champion, before an exceptionally large crowd of 20,000 for the World Welterweight Title in Newark, New Jersey. Lewis fought cautiously for the first six rounds but opened up in the seventh and the eighth. The prestigious New York Times and New York Tribune considered the fight a draw, though a few newspapers believed Leonard had won. One reporter considered the bout farcical and lacking traditional boxing technique. The Lincoln Star, as did other papers, gave Leonard the edge five rounds to two, but noted that the bout had no knockdowns or much hard punching.
In an early win on January 13, 1919, Leonard defeated Harlem Eddie Kelly in a sixth round newspaper decision in Philadelphia. Leonard was given four of the six rounds, with Kelly taking only the first. Harlem Eddie was given severe punishment by Leonard throughout the match. Kelly fought top lightweight talent, but usually not with a winning record.
Leonard soundly defeated Portland Jewish lightweight Joe Benjamin on the evening of January 31, 1919 in a four round newspaper decision in San Francisco. In the opinion of the San Francisco Chronicle, Leonard could have ended the bout at any time. Showing fear, Benjamin backed away often, with Leonard inserting his left frequently in the first two rounds, but by the third, Leonard was fully in control but refrained from putting Benjamin down. By the fourth, there was so little interaction between the boxers, that many in the crowd disapproved. Benjamin would fight many highly rated lightweights, and in his later career would win against them with frequency.
Leonard defeated Harvey Thorpe in Joplin, Missouri, on the evening of March 26, 1919, in a ten round newspaper decision of the Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times. One reporter gave all ten rounds to Leonard and considered his victory an "easy win". Leonard had soundly defeated Thorpe earlier in November of 1916 in a twelve round knockout in St. Louis. Although Thorpe fought several top rated lightweights, including Charley White, Ritchie Mitchell, and Lew Tendler, his record was poor against them, and he never competed for a world championship, though he took the Southwest lightweight title in July of 1917.
Leonard defeated fellow Russian-born, New York Jewish lightweight Johnny Clinton, born Morris Elstein, on September 8, 1919, at the Arena in Syracuse in a ten round newspaper decision. Benny led throughout the fight, using his left jab and right uppercut effectively and often, demonstrating his ability to adjust his punching combinations to the style of any given opponent as an opening occurred. Clinton was in the greatest distress in the sixth, when he appeared to be hanging on the ropes on the verge of a knockout instants before the bell, and was nearly floored again in the tenth, when Leonard attempted to finish the bout. The Pittsburgh Daily Post wrote that Leonard deserved every one of the ten rounds.
In their final meeting on October 15, 1919, Leonard defeated fellow Jewish boxer Phil Bloom decisively in Detroit in a ten round newspaper decision of the Detroit News. Leonard came close to a knockout in three of the rounds. As a fellow Jewish New Yorker who could draw the Jewish crowd, Bloom fought Leonard in seven previous meetings extending back to January, 1914, but with little success. Leonard had previously defeated Bloom five times with one draw and only one loss according to newspaper decisions. Bloom competed against top talent, but would never obtain a title shot in his prolific twelve year career in the ring. After his boxing career ended, he appeared in a number of boxing movies usually shot near Los Angeles.
On November 17, 1919, Leonard defeated Lockport Jimmy Duffy in a second round technical knockout of a fifteen round match at the Convention Hall in Tulsa. The bout was billed as a World Lightweight Title match. In a peculiar spectacle, and decisive one sided victory, Duffy was knocked down three times in each round, with the referee stopping the bout on his last fall to the canvas. Spectators suspected Duffy was intentionally not putting up a fight.
Leonard defeated Mel Coogan On December 10, 1919, in a second round technical knockout at the fourth regiment armory in Jersey City. In a convincing victory, Coogan was knocked to the mat three times in the second round. The first two knockdowns were for counts of eight, with the third resulting in the fight being called. Coogan fought many of the top lightweights of the day, including Lew Tendler, and many of Leonard's opponents, and had an admirable record against them.
Leonard defeated Red Herring on December 19, 1919 in an early sixth round technical knockout in Memphis, Tennessee. Leonard outmaneuvered Herring with speed and footwork, slipping the half dozen punches thrown by his opponent, with most going well wide of their mark. By the fifth, Herring was helpless against the ropes with the crowd roaring for Leonard to finish the match. Leonard fought with a deadly left, and sent terrific blows to the head and body. One minute into the sixth, Leonard backed Herring into a neutral corner and put him on the canvas with three short rights to the jaw, that led the referee to end the bout at 1:10, after Herring attempted to rise after his first count. The Arkansas Democrat gave Leonard five rounds, with the fourth even. Herring remained on his feet through the first five rounds, but took considerable punishment from the lightweight champion.
Matches with Johnny Dundee, 1920
In their last match, on February 9, 1920, Leonard defeated one of his most frequent opponents, future World Jr. Lightweight and Featherweight champion Johnny Dundee, in an eight round newspaper decision many reporters considered a title match at the Armory in Jersey City. One reporter felt Leonard had simply out punched his opponent in every round, though Dundee put up a stiff defense. In six previous matches, Leonard had two wins, two losses, and two draws, at least according to the decisions of the more trustworthy newspapers. In their February bout, Leonard delivered several effective uppercuts to Dundee during the infighting, but Dundee make a valiant attack in the first three rounds. Afterwards, Leonard went on the defensive, and built a margin in blows delivered, winning on points.
Win against Charley White, July, 1920
On July 5, 1920, Leonard defeated Jewish boxer and exceptional Chicago lightweight, Charley White, in a ninth round knockout before an audience of 12,000 at Benton Harbor, Michigan. The fight was a careful battle of boxing strategy, but White always held the potential for stronger punching with his left hook. Leonard may have won largely due to his faster reaction time, and reflexes, against an opponent who was nearly his equal at times. He showed better speed and agility, and used footwork to gain advantages in the angle of his attack. The hard punching White knocked Leonard out of the ring in the fifth round with his left hook, but by the ninth, White was down five times, finally landing on the canvas for the count from a right cross from Leonard. Benny had been looking for an opening since the eighth, and found it after he opened White up with his left jab, and dealt the final right cross in the ninth. Though he had continued to train, Leonard may have performed better if he had not just taken five months off from prizefighting while living in Hollywood. It was one of White's better showings, as he dominated the infighting, and appeared to have thrown more punches, but he fought against an opponent who simply refused to be beaten.
Leonard defeated Joe Welling on November 27, 1920, before an estimated crowd of 12,000, at Madison Square Garden in a World Lightweight Title match. The bout resulted in a fourteenth round technical knockout for Leonard. Both boxers weighed in within a pound of 135. Welling shone only in the fifth round, and by the tenth seemed able to continue, but had no chance of success against Leonard. In the thirteenth Leonard sent Welling down three times. In the fourteenth, Leonard sent Welling to the canvas for a count of nine, and the referee, stepping between the two boxers, ruled a technical knockout, ending the fight, 1:07 into the round. The lack of compassion in the boxing crowd was noted by one reporter, who wrote that the audience was disappointed by referee Haukup's decision to end the bout in the thirteenth. He believed they would have enjoyed seeing two more rounds of punishment given to Welling by the reigning lightweight champion. By today's rules, the bout would have stopped in the thirteenth, before Welling had been sent to the canvas for the third time. On a lighter note, Charlie Chaplain performed before the opening bell and Leonard received a world lightweight championship belt from Tex Rickard, manager of the Garden and legendary heavyweight Jack Dempsey, at the end of the match.
Matches with Pal Moran and Ritchie Mitchell, 1920-1
On September 25, 1920, Leonard defeated Pal Moran in a ten round newspaper decision in East Chicago before a substantial crowd of 10,000. Only occasionally did Moran break through the champion's defenses, and Leonard always had a remedy. Benny could not get started in the early rounds, but in the last four he took the lead. Leonard scored frequently with swift left jabs and powerful right crosses. In the seventh through the tenth, Leonard seemed continuously on the verge of scoring a knockout, but Moran fought gamely on.
On October 4, 1920, Leonard soundly defeated Frankie Britt in Hartford, Connecticut in a five round technical knockout. At the end of the contest, the referee stopped the bout to save Britt from a knockout, as Leonard had been striking him repeatedly.
Before a capacity crowd, Leonard scored an easy victory over KO Willie Loughlin on the evening of November 12, 1920 at the Camden Sporting Club in Camden, New Jersey in a ten round newspaper decision. Leonard began cautiously wary of the skills and two inch longer reach of Loughlin, whom he had met previously. In the last three rounds, Leonard used his punching power, though it was met with frequent, but less effective blows from Loughlin. In the fourth, Leonard's jabs to Loughlin's face were frequent, but Loughlin continued his defense and never retreated. In the fifth, Leonard scored more punches, and began to take a point's margin, but not without receiving a few blows from his opponent. In the ninth, Leonard tried to end the fight with uppercuts, but could not deliver a knockdown blow to Loughlin who remained on his feet even through the exchange of blows in the tenth. Leonard knocked Loughlin across the ring and staggered him at times, but Loughlin's ability to take punishment repeatedly saved him from a knockout.
Leonard defeated Ritchie Mitchell in six of fifteen rounds on January 14, 1921, in a tough world lightweight championship bout in Madison Square Garden. Atypically, Leonard was down in the first round for a count of nine, when his alarmed seconds applied salts. In an incredible first round, Mitchell was down as well for a count of nine from a right to the stomach by Leonard, and down twice more before the bell. With a hook to the stomach, and a right to the jaw, Mitchell went down for a count of nine in the sixth. Mitchell was up, before Leonard with a flurry of punches put him down again. On his third trip to the mat, the referee called the bout. By today's rules, the fight would have ended shortly after the second knockdown. A significant portion of the gate proceeds of $75,000 were given to aid war torn France.
Victories over champion Rocky Kansas, 1921-2
On June 6, 1921, Leonard defeated future lightweight champion Rocky Kansas in a twelve round world lightweight title match, before a roaring crowd of 28,000 at a baseball park in Harrison, New Jersey, winning by newspaper decision. The title would have gone to Kansas if he had scored a knockout before the end of the match. The Sheboygan Press gave Leonard the win, and nine rounds with only two to Kansas. Perhaps feeling fatigued, Leonard was said to have fought conservatively and uncharacteristically punched on the defensive throughout the match. Only in the eighth, ninth, and twelfth, did Leonard go on the aggressive. Showing his versatility, Leonard was judged to have won by a clear margin, scoring points through the attacks of Kansas in as many as nine of the rounds, despite never taking the offensive. Kansas's blows appeared wild against the precise technique of his champion opponent.
On November 22, 1921, Leonard defeated Sailor Friedman in Philadelphia in a ten round newspaper decision of the top three newspapers in the area. In the early rounds, Leonard piled up a sizable margin on points due to the understandable reluctance of Friedman to attack the lightweight champion. The fight was action packed throughout, but Leonard took the lead in most rounds, and gained a sizable advantage by the end of the bout. As both fighters were above the lightweight limit, the contest could not be deemed a title match.
Leonard defeated Tim Droney on December 20, 1921 at the Ice Palace in Philadelphia in an eight round decision of three leading Philadelphia newspapers. In a complete victory, the Philadelphia Inquirer gave Leonard every round but the fourth when Leonard retreated to rest and allow Droney to take the offense. Nonetheless, Droney landed only one solid right to the jaw of Leonard in the round. Oddly, Leonard leapt in the air in a few instances to avoid the blows of Droney, and though the move was effective, it was done primarily to amuse the crowd. Leonard was said to display "wonderful ring work, and amazing speed". Droney fought gamely and remained on his feet throughout the bout, though most reporters believed Leonard could have knocked him out in the final rounds, as he was defenseless by the seventh and eighth. Droney fought some outstanding lightweights, but his record against the better contenders was poor in his later career. Both boxers fought in the lightweight range near 140.
Leonard defeated Rocky Kansas again on February 10, 1922 in a fifteen round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden. Leonard had a more difficult time with the fight than in their previous meeting, as Kansas was the aggressor throughout the match, and Leonard had trouble when fighting at close quarters. The tide turned in the ninth round, when Kansas, fighting against the ropes, let his guard down and Leonard, with characteristic lightning speed shot a smashing left that sent his opponent down for the count of nine. Somehow, Kansas recovered, and after arising managed to defend Leonard's considerable efforts to end the match. Feeling more confident against a weakened opponent, Leonard bored in for the rest of the bout, taking the lead. Winning the eleventh through the fifteenth, Leonard built up a significant enough point's margin to win the match. By the fifteenth, Leonard was trying for a knockout, but to his credit, after the ninth, Kansas remained on his feet though badly batttered in the remaining rounds.
On May 19, 1922, Leonard defeated Hungarian born Jewish boxer Soldier Bartfield, originally Jacob Bartfedlt, in a four round points decision at Madison Square Garden. Bartfield had an incredible career, fighting 55 world title claimants in his 220 recorded fights. As was Leonard's strength, he defeated Bartfield with a variety of moves, including blows to the head and body using both lefts and rights, and built a solid points margin. Leonard seriously affected Bartfield with an uppercut to the chin in the fourth round, one of his most telling and lighting fast blows. The match was a charity event for the Sports Alliance, and Jack Dempsey was introduced. In three previous meetings in 1919, Leonard had gained significant margins against Bartfield in matches in the Northeast.
Attempt at the welterweight championship, Jack Britton, June, 1922
Moving up a weight class from the world lightweight championship which he already held, 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 he was down in the thirteenth round. A few in the audience, including news reporter Earnest Hemingway, likely suspected the possibility of a fix, as there were rumors that a Jewish underworld figure, Arnold Rothstein, had influence over Leonard, and that Leonard had been pressured to lose the fight. In a somewhat anti-semitic twist, Hemingway later penned a short story, Fifty Grand, in 1927, about a corrupt boxing manager who fixes a fight to profit from the outcome with the aid of gangsters and gamblers. The original version of the story mentioned Leonard by name, before being edited out by F. Scott Fitzgerald before publication.
Bouts with Jewish lightweight Lew Tendler, 1922-3
On July 27, 1922, Leonard defeated fellow Jewish boxer Lew Tendler in a twelve round newspaper decision in Jersey City in a lightweight world title match, that may have been the most remarkable bout of his career. Before a record audience of 70,000 enthralled fans, Leonard won five rounds, Tendler four, with three even. Tendler may have led in the first five rounds, as Leonard could not adjust to or penetrate his unique Southpaw stance, style, and defense. In the eighth, Tendler crashed a terrific left to his opponent, but Leonard distracted him by mumbling a few words, and then going to a clinch to slow Tendler down. Tendler never delivered the follow up knockout blow, and Leonard, getting time to recover, dominated the next seven rounds. In their last meeting on July 24, 1923, Leonard won a unanimous fifteen round decision at Yankee Stadium before an extraordinary crowd of 58,000. The bout took place in the Bronx in another lightweight world title match. Leonard excelled in the speed and precision of his attack, while still managing to ward off most of his opponents blows, particularly Tendler's strong left. Leonard demonstrated his mastery of ring tactics against an opponent who became sluggish, and was unable to mount the offensive he had shown in their bout the previous July. By one account, Leonard managed to land three blows for every one of Tendler's, demonstrating his speed and mastery of tactics. With the huge crowd, Leonard's take home pay exceeded $130,000, an extraordinary sum for the era.
Bout with light welterweight champion, Pinky Mitchell, 1923
Leonard defeated Pinky Mitchell on May 29, 1923, in a ten round technical knockout in Chicago. Mitchell was the reigning world light welterweight champion from 1922-26, and Leonard's win signaled another victory against a world champion, though the fight was not a title fight. As Leonard refused to weigh in, neither world lightweight or world junior welterweight titles were at stake. After a slow first five rounds with few blows, Leonard took the lead in the remaining rounds with the exception of the eighth and ninth. In the eight, Mitchell scored with four rights to the chin of Leonard. Though both boxers scored points, Leonard seemed to have the edge from the fifth. In the tenth, Leonard dropped Pinky to the mat, and upon arising, he knocked him to the mat a second time. The referee called an end to the match, resulting in a technical knockout. Immediately afterwards, Pinkie's brother Ritchie believed a foul had been committed, claiming Leonard had hit Pinky when he was down on one knee on the mat, but the referee disagreed. The Buffalo Courier wrote that Leonard was in the motions of hitting Pinky when he was on one knee, but that the referee waved him away before the blow occurred. Regardless, a fight between Richie and Davey Mitchell, the referee, ensued that ended in a near riot among the spectators. The police put down the protests with their billy clubs, though no arrests were made. Despite the protests, the charity event ended with a win by Leonard and no foul called by the referee against Mitchell in the tenth.
Leonard soundly defeated Andy Hart on July 9, 1923 before a record crowd near 30,000, in a resounding newspaper win at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. In the third, Leonard delivered many straight jabs which were unreturned, and his hard rights to Hart's ribs in the fourth, forced his opponent to hold. In the sixth, Leonard stung Hart with blows to the jaw and chest, which appeared to sap Hart's strength, but he persevered. Though Leonard showed speed and aggression throughout the bout, several reporters felt he took it easy on Hart, lacking the characteristic snap to his punches, until the seventh and eighth when he gained a more comfortable points margin and came closest to putting Hart on the canvas. His nine months off making theater performances, may have reduced his strength or speed, but it certainly failed to decrease his boxing technique enough to lose the match.
Leonard defeated Johnny Mendelsohn On September 7, 1923, in an eight round newspaper decision in Philadelphia. In the seventh and eighth, Leonard showed complete dominance of his opponent. Nonetheless, at points in the bout, Mendelsohn delivered a few left hooks and right swings, that landed well on Leonard and showed he was not facing a novice. The Associated Press gave Leonard an impressive seven of the eight rounds, as Mendelsohn connected with strong blows infrequently and failed to hurt his opponent in the vast majority of the bout. The match demonstrated Leonard's versatility in his ability to dominate an opponent without taking the offensive, and proved again the effectiveness of his defense. Though Mendelsohn faced some top lightweight talent throughout his career, his record by 1923 was well on the wane, and he was not one of Leonard's best opponents.
Retirement as lightweight champion in 1925 and comeback
Leonard announced his retirement from boxing on January 15, 1925, as the reigning World Lightweight Champion partly because his mother wanted him to leave boxing due to her failing health. He lost most of his considerable fortune from real estate investments, boxing, and his work as an actor, in the stock market crash of 1929. As a result, between 1931-2, he made an ill-advised comeback, defeating a total of 19 handpicked opponents who were unlikely to end his comeback hopes. In a second round technical knockout in Queens, New York on October 6, 1931 he won against Pal Silvers, an opponent who would have been vastly inferior to Leonard in his prime. The "dive" taken by Silvers in the second made many in the audience question the authenticity of the bout, while many horrified fans witnessed Leonard, the formerly flawless tactician, taking continuous blows to his face before the end of the bout. Although described as pudgy and slow, the balding Leonard won 23 total fights in his comeback, albeit against nondescript opposition. Leonard hoped eventually he would have a big payday with a top rated opponent.
Win over Marty Goldman, May 1932
Boxing as a welterweight on May 16, 1932, Leonard won a knockout only 45 seconds into the second round from Jewish boxer Marty Goldman, another product of New York's lower East Side. The bout was fought at Laurel Gardens in Newark, New Jersey. Leonard's final blow was a short but powerful right to the jaw, which was preceded by a brief flurry of jabs. To many fans, Leonard's footwork and use of rapid combination punching brought back images of the Leonard of old, but in reality Goldman, though a solid club fighter, was far from a world ranked welterweight contender.
Win over Andy Saviola, June 1932
Leonard, boxing as a welterweight, defeated Andy Saviola on June 8, 1932 in an easy ten round points decision at Brooklyn's Coney Island. Leonard sustained cuts to both his eyes, but fought with great technique throughout the bout and had Saviola on the verge of a knockout by the final round. In the sixth, Saviola had no defense nor counter punches for Leonard's punishing lefts and rights to the body. Both boxers remained on their feet throughout the bout.
On June 16, 1932, Leonard defeated Billy Angelo, before a crowd of around 10,000 at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. His best round was the tenth, in which he landed repeated rights and totally dominated his opponent. Leonard was down in his weight, and had likely trained hard for the bout.
Win over Eddie Shapiro in the rain, July 1932
On the comeback trail as a 153 pound welterweight, on July 22, 1932, Leonard defeated Eddie Shapiro at Coney Island in an eight round points decision of which the United Press wrote "Benny Leonard completely outboxed Sharpiro, pounding him at will". In reality, the first four rounds were slow and Shapiro was warned three times in the first two rounds by the referee to speed up the pace and land more blows. Before a modest crowd of around 6,000, in a strong rain, Leonard won decisively in the later rounds, disposing of Shapiro handily. In the fourth, Leonard nearly flattened Shapiro, asserting his dominance. Shapiro, however, was far from a lightweight contender and his record after the Leonard fight was quite poor.
Leonard defeated Billy Townsend on July 28, 1932 at Queensboro Stadium in Long Island in a ten round points decision before a sizable crowd of 6000. Leonard attacked Townsend with left hand jabs and strong right hand smashes that staggered Townsend in several rounds and pushed the judges to a unanimous decision. Townsend, however, staggered Leonard in the fourth. Benny's knees dropped, but he clutched Townsend around the waist, whispered into his ear, and clutched long enough to recover. Leonard completed the bout well ahead on points, despite a closer tenth round. One reporter gave Leonard all but the fourth and tenth rounds, but Leonard took more punishment than he would have in his earlier days from his competent, but not championship quality opponent.
Final bout and loss to Jimmy McLarnin, October, 1932
Leonard found his payday on October 7, 1932, but it ended his career when he was knocked out after 6 rounds by future champion, Irish-Canadian boxer Jimmy McLarnin. Madison Garden was packed near capacity with 19,000 excited fans to see the fight. Only two minutes into the first round, Leonard connected with a right to McLarnin's chin, and his knees brushed the canvas for an instant. The huge crowd was in a frenzy. Clinching, and retreating, the younger and fitter McLarnin managed to recover from the blow, and by the end of the round had taken charge. McLarnin dropped Leonard in the second, and only his great defensive skills allowed him to stay in the contest through the next four rounds while he received continual punishment. In the sixth, Leonard was dazed by a series of punches from the exceptionally skilled McLarnin, and the referee mercifully halted the fight to save Leonard from further punishment. It was a humiliating defeat for many of Leonard's supporters, particularly his Jewish fans, but a loss to one of the greatest boxers of the century, a future triple weight class champion. After the loss, the New York World Telegram wrote, "The real Leonard already is immortal, the artist of the ring canvas who glided up and back, the genius of punch slipping, the counter-puncher of lightning reflex snap, the lion-hearted campaigner, and the devoted believer of all that's good in boxing".
|Win||UD||15||1923-07-24||Retained World Lightweight Title.|
|Win||UD||15||1922-07-27||Retained World Lightweight Title.|
|Loss||DQ||13 (15)||1922-06-26||For World Welterweight Title.|
|Win||UD||15||1922-02-10||Retained World Lightweight Title.|
|Win||NWS||12||1921-06-06||Retained World Lightweight Title.|
|Win||TKO||9 (10)||1917-05-28||Won World Lightweight Title.|
|Loss||NWS||10||1916-07-28||For World Lightweight Title.|
Life outside of boxing
Leonard worked as a front man for National Hockey League owner Bill Dwyer of the New York Americans, who had secretly purchased the Pittsburgh Pirates of that league. Leonard was supposed to appear as if he owned the team. The team suffered both at the gate and on the ice, moved to Philadelphia for 1930–31 and then folded.
Film and acting career
Leonard worked as an after dinner speaker and lecturer after leaving boxing in 1925. With his good looks and the crowd his fame could bring, he performed in vaudeville, making several appearances as a dancer and performer shortly after his first boxing retirement. He appeared in the vaudeville musical Battling Butler in 1927.
During his boxing career Leonard starred in the film serial The Evil Eye (1920) and a series of boxing related film shorts titled Flying Fists (1924–1925). He also appeared in The Come-Back (1925), and Hitting Hard (1925).
Leonard lost the vast majority of his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929.
When the United States entered World War II, he enlisted in the Maritime Service and took charge of the physical training of 100,000 men, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander by the time he had completed his three years of service.
Work as a referee
In 1943, Leonard worked as a boxing referee and continued in that endeavor after the war, with the majority of his bouts in New York and Philadelphia. After refereeing the first six bouts of the April 18, 1947, card at the St. Nicholas Arena in New York, Leonard was stricken with a massive heart attack during the first round of the next bout, between Mario Ramon and Bobby Williams. He toppled to the canvas, and died in the ring. The ringside physician, Dr. Vicent Nardiello, attempted to revive him unsuccessfully. He was only 51 years old. Leonard was interred at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale, New York. A majority of Jewish boxing historians still consider him the greatest Jewish boxer of the twentieth century for his astounding record of wins during his long reign as lightweight champion.
Achievements and honors
| World Lightweight Champion
May 28, 1917 – January 15, 1925
Leonard was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (1979), the World Boxing Hall of Fame (1980), the International Boxing Hall of Fame (1990), the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (1996), and the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame.
- Kieran Mulvaney. "50 Greatest Boxers of All-Time". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
- Dan Cuoco (November 2005). "All-Time Lightweight Rankings". IBRO.com. International Boxing Research Organization. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
- Bert Sugar (2005). Boxing's Greatest Fighters. Lyons Press. pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-1-59228-632-4.
- Silver, Mike (2016). Stars of the Ring, Published by Roman and Littlefield, Los Angeles, pps. 57-62.
- "Benny Leonard record". BoxRec. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- John A. Garraty; Mark C. Carnes, eds. (1999). American national biography. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-520635-7.
- Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxer's Hall of Fame, (1988), Shapolsky Publishing, New York, New York, pps.109-127
- "Benny Leonard, cyber boxing zone". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- Won all but first round in "Joe Azevedo Loses to Benny Leonard", San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California, p. 6, 20 November 1915
- "Stops Boxing Bout to Save Wolgast",New York Times, New York City, pg. 8, 18 December 1915
- Dragged himself up in "Mandot Takes the Count", The Buffalo Commercial, Buffalo, New York, pg. 9, 18 December 1915
- Mandot was sick in "Spike Kelly Comes to Bat", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, pg. 20, 20 December 1915
- "Kansas Outclassed by Benny Leonard", Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, pg. 10, 29 February 1916
- "Murphy Knocked Out By Benny Leonard", The Scranton Republican, Scranton, Pennsylvania, pg. 12, 22 February 1916
- "Jimmy Murphy Knocked Out in Six Rounds By Leonard", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pg. 8, 22 February 1916
- Murphy had beaten Welsh in "Benny Leonard Scores KO Over Quaker Boxer", Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, pg. 12, 22 February 1916
- Leonard rushed after winning in "England is Not to Busy to See Bombadier Welles", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pg. 14, 22 February 1916
- "Robideau All But Defeated By AKO", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 12, 14 March 1916
- Out on his feet in "Leonard's Wallop Started Riot", The Buffalo Inquirer, Buffalo, New York, pg. 12, 15 September 1916
- Small riot in "Conifrey Stopped and Riot Follows", The News Journal, Wilmington, Delaware, pg. 14, 15 September 1916
- "Benny the Great", The Buffalo Enquirer, Buffalo, New York, pg. 13, 19 October 1916
- Levine, Peter, Ellis Island to Ebbetts Field, (1992), Oxford University Press, New York, pg.152
- "Benny Leonard Slams Wallace", Pittsburgh Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pg. 10, 23 January 1917
- "To Stage Athletic Show", Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, pg. 31, 13 January 1918
- "Jimmy Reagan". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Fight Fans are Gathering From All Corners", The Ogden Standard, Ogden, Utah, p.3, 25 December 1917
- Edgren, Robert, "Now That He's Champion, Leonard Wants to Fight in Army of Uncle Sam", The Evening World, New York, New York, pg. 1, 29 May 1917
- Jaffe, Lewis, "Joe Welsh Puts Halt to Benny Leonard's Knockout", Evening Public Ledger, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 13, 5 June 1917
- Farnsworth, W. S., "Johnny Kilbane Knocked Out", Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pg. 8, 26 July 1917
- "Benny Leonard Knocks Out Kirk in Opening Round of Denver Bout", Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona, pg. 5, 29 November 1917
- "Leonard Hangs KO on Kirk", The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, Kansas, pg. 2, 29 November 1917
- "Leonard Wins From Irish Patsy Cline", Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 16, 13 December 1917
- Leonard best in fifth and sixth in "Leonard Had Better of Bout With Irish Patsy", The Allentown Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, pg. 15, 13 December 1917
- Threw lefts and rights at will in "Boxing Show Nets $20,000", The Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin, pg. 6, 17 July 1918
- Leonard far superior to Jackson in "Great Boxing Show in New York is a Fizzle", Harrisburg Telegraph, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, pg. 13, 17 July 1918
- "Garden Bouts Almost Frost", Courier-News, Bridgewater, New Jersey, pg. 10, 17 July 1918
- The audience booed in "Champion Leonard Hissed and Booed", The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., pg. 14, 17 July 1918
- "Benny Leonard is Defeated By Ted Lewis", The Buffalo Enquirer, Buffalo, New York, pg. 11, 24 September 1918
- Baird, W. J., "Ted Kid Lewis Outpoints Benny Leonard", The Central New Jersey News, pg. 4, 24 September 1918
- "Honors Even in New Jersey Ring", The Lincoln Star, Lincoln, Nebraska, pg. 7, 24 September 1918
- Leonard Kind to Harlem Kelly", Reading Times, Reading, Pennsylvania, pg. 8, 14 January 1919
- "Fistic Notes", The Evening News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, pg. 9, 14 January 1919
- "Leonard Holds Lead Over Joe Benjamin", Lansing State Journal, Lansing, Michigan, pg. 10, 1 February 1919
- "Leonard Lacks Desire to Stow Benjamin Away", The Oregon Daily Journal, Portland, Oregon, pg. 8, 01 February 1919
- "Harvey Thorpe is Easy for Champion Leonard," Star-Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, pg. 13, 27 March 1919
- "Leonard Wins Again", The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, pg. 4, 9 September 1919
- "Leonard Beats Clinton", The Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pg. 13, 9 September 1919
- "Phil Bloom Nearly Out in Bout with Leonard", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pg. 20, 16 October 1919
- "Leonard Stops Mel Coogan in Second Round", Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, Michigan, pg. 9, 11 December 1919
- Stone, W. N., "Red Herring Puts Up Game Battle Against Champion", Arkansas Democrat, Little Rock, Arkansas, pg. 9, 20 December 1919
- "Leonard Drops Herring in Sixth", The Times, Munster, Indiana, pg. 7, 20 December 1919
- One minute into the sixth in "Champion Benny Leonard Knocks Out Red Herring", The Evening World, New York, New York, pg. 8, 20 December 1919
- "Benny Leonard Wins From Johnny Dundee", News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, pg. 1, 10 February 1920
- "Leonard Extended to Win Decision Over Dundee", The Evening World, New York, New York, pg. 18, 10 February 1920
- "Leonard Puts White Away", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 27, 6 July 1920
- White better on the infighting in "Benny Leonard Keeps His Title", The News-Palladium, Benton Harbor, Michigan, pg. 6, 6 July 1920
- De Casonova, Louis, "Only the Most Rabid Fans Object", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pg. 14, 27 November 1920
- Newman, Harry, "Champion Leads Throughout Fight", Daily News, New York, New York, pg. 18, 27 November 1920
- "Pal Moran Easy for Benny Leonard", Austin-American Statesman, Austin, Texas, pg. 9, 26 September 1920
- "Stop it in Fifth to Save Frankie Britt", The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, pg. 7, 5 October 1920
- Loughlin could take punishment in "Boxing Notes", The Sandusky Star-Journal, Sandusky, Ohio, pg. 13, 13 November 1920
- Round by round coverage in "Leonard Wins from Loughlin", Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 16, 13 November 1920
- Knocked Loughlin Across the Ring in "Loughlin is Easy for Benny Leonard", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, pg. 23, 13 November 1920
- "Rocky Kansas Outpointed by Champion", Green Bay Press-Gazette, Green Bay, Wisconsin, pg. 4, 7 June 1921
- "Sailor Friedman Loses to Champ", New Castle News, New Castle, Pennsylvania, pg. 13, 23 November 1921
- "Leonard Wins", Mount Carmel Item, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, pg. 6, 21 December 1921
- "Droney Easy Mark for Benny Leonard", The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, pg. 11, 21 December 1921
- Lewis, Perry, "Benny Leonard Picks on Time Droney And So Whips Him Easily", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 16, 21 December 1921
- "Gotham Fans Worry Until Leonard Starts", Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, pg. 19, 11 February 1922
- Uppercut to the jaw in New York Herald, New York, New York, pg. 10, 20 May 1922
- Rothstein had influence over Leonard in Ellis, Peter, Ellis Island to Ebbetts Field, (1992), Oxford University Press, New York, pg.156
- "Tendler Talked Out of the Championship", Press and Sun Bulletin, Binghampton, New York, pg. 27, 28 July 1922
- "Benny Leonard Gets 134,662", Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln, Nebraska, pg. 10, 26 July 1923
- "Benny Leonard Beats Tendler", Albany, Democrat, Albany, Oregon, pg. 1, 26 July 1923
- Crowd of 58,000 in Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxer's Hall of Fame, (1988), Shapolsky Publishing, New York, New York, pps.132
- "Leonard Stops Pinky Mitchell", Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, pg. 14, 30 May 1923
- "Near Riot Marks Ending of Charity Affair", Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pg. 17, 30 May 1923
- "Benny Leonard KO's Mitchell in the Tenth Round", The Montgomery Adviser, Montgomery, Alabama, pg. 6, 30 May 1923
- Leonard hit Ritchie while he was down on one knee in "Chicago Fight Ends in Riot", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 33, 30 May 1923
- "Leonard Bests Hart Before 35,000 fans", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 14, 10 July 1923
- Blow by blow account in "Leonard Defeats Alex Hart Before Thirty Thousand Fans", The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, pg. 21, 10 July 1923
- Leonard great on the defensive in "Victory is Won By Leonard", The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, pg. 14, 8 September 1923
- McKay, Gordon, "Leonard Outpoints Johnny Mendelsohn", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 18, 8 September 1923
- Awarded seven of eight by the AP in "Leonard Outpoints Johnny Mendelsohn", Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, pg. 6, 8 September 1923
- "Leonard Kayoes Goldman in Second Round", The Courier News, Bridgewater, New Jersey, pg. 17, 19 May 1932
- "The Philadelphia Inquirer", Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 18, 9 June 1932
- Leonard used body blows in the sixth in "Leonard's Skill Too Much for Saviola", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pg. 29, 9 June 1932
- X"Benny Leonard Wins Decision", The Morning Call, Allantown, Pennsylvania, pg. 26, 17 June 1932
- "Lenny Defeats Eddie Shapiro at Coney Island", Daily News, New York, pg. 44, 23 July 1932
- "Benny Leonard Defeats Shapiro at Coney Island", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pg. 12, 23 July 1932
- "The Boston Globe, "Benny Leonard is Awarded Decision", Boston, Massachusetts, pg. 22, 29 July 1932
- "Benny Leonard Nearly Knocks out Paulie Walker", Shamokin News-Dispatch, Shamokin, Pennsylvania, pg. 10, 12 August 1932
- Summary of Leonard's greatness in Century, Douglas, Barney Ross, The Life of a Jewish Fighter, (2006), New York, Random House, pg. 65-66
- "Benny Leonard's Professional Boxing Record". BoxRec.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
- "Benny Leonard filmography". IMDb. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- "Benny the Brain". Sport. Time. April 28, 1947. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
- Michael DeLisa (ed.). "Benny Leonard". Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
- "Inductees/Honorees". National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "Elected Members". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Benny Leonard.|
- Professional boxing record for Benny Leonard from BoxRec
- Benny Leonard at Find a Grave
- Benny Leonard on IMDb