Jews In Sports: Exhibit Page @ Virtual Museum

Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow
Page 195 of 457

Jews In American Sports


Al Singer

Glass Jaw Champion


After Benny Leonard captured the lightweight title and the hearts of American Jews, Jewish sports fans carried in their minds the victories of the smooth-haired Leonard and hoped that when his reign would end another Jewish boy would take his title from him. For a long time, whenever a likely-looking Jewish boy made a mark as a boxer, he was called, if he was a 135-pounder, "the new Benny Leonard." Benny was the symbol of the champion. He was, to the modern sport-minded Jew and to the Orthodox Jew who knew of boxing only through excited talk on the East Side, the Jewish champion. There was no other.

For years the East Side produced clever fighters, hard hitters and spectacular personalities. Yet somehow, each one lacked something. The long list of Ruby Goldsteins, Sid Terrises and other smart boys made boxing headlines for a short time and then met with obscurity as some rough kid from Nebraska or Vancouver knocked their brains out.

One of the best of this crop was Al Singer, who did manage to win the lightweight title. Today the fight fan is apt to belittle the abilities of Al Singer because, in his later fighting years he developed what is known in the trade as a "glass jaw." This is an occupational disease, which means that a man has a physical weakness in the jaw. A shot at the jaw affects his nervous system and knocks him out.