During the early 1930s, boxing was filled with great boxers such as Sammy Mandell, Tony Canzoneri, and Jimmy McLarnin, and Singer faced them all. The world lightweight champion in 1930 (for 3 months and 28 days), Singer was a terrific puncher, and Canzoneri said of him: "I know the kind of fighter Al was from experience, and I say you can't say enough good things about him." Unfortunately, he also had a "glass jaw" -- a solid blow that landed directly on his chin could render him unconscious. After losing the title in November 1930, he seemed to lose interest in boxing and retired.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. September 6, 1907 - d. April 20, 1961
Apprenticed as a diamond cutter, Singer went against his parents' wishes and took up boxing. He had a successful amateur career before turning pro at the age of 19. For his first professional fight in 1927, he received $75 and defeated Joe Salamone in four rounds. Over the next year and a half, Singer fought a breathtaking total of 34 fights, winning 28, losing 4, with 2 draws before fighting Tony Canzoneri. Singer and Canzoneri, a former featherweight champ, battled to a 10-round draw in December 1928 (in front of 21,630 fans), and Jimmy Dawson of the New York Times called Singer "the new Benny Leonard."
The following year, Singer continued his success and lost only 2 of 18 fights, to Ignacio Fernandez and Kid Chocolate. Then in 1930, Singer defeated his first five opponents, including a 10-round decision over Fernandez. His sixth fight was held on July 17, 1930 against the world lightweight champion, Sammy Mandell, with the title on the line. More than 35,000 people crowded into Yankee Stadium and watched Singer knock out Sammy Mandell in only 1:46 of the first-round. Although he lost his next fight to the great Jimmy McLarnin (on September 11), it was not a title fight, and Singer remained champion. Only months later, though (November 14), the heavily favored Singer was knocked out by Tony Canzoneri in only 66 seconds and lost the crown.
After his quick rise and fall as world lightweight champ, Al retired in 1931, after he knocked out Eddie "Cannonball" Martin on August 28. Four years later, Singer returned to the ring. Although he won all four of his fights, he again retired -- this time for good -- at the end of the year.
New York City
5'4-1/2", 123-136 pounds
Wins: 60 wins (24 by knockout)
Use links below to navigate through the boxing section of Jews In Sports.
Also, read a chapter from The Jew in American Sports by Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co, 1965)