International Boxing Hall of Fame

Benny Bass

"The Little Fish"

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benny Bass, known as "Little Fish," (born December 15, 1904, in Kiev, Ukraine; immigrated to the United States in 1906; died June 25, 1975, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American boxer.

He was world featherweight champion, and world junior lightweight champion.


Boxing career

Regarding Bass, Jack Dempsey was quoted as saying: "He is the greatest fighter of his weight and inches I have ever set my eyes upon."[1] At a diminutive 5' 2", Benny possessed a bull neck and extraordinary musculature around his shoulders & biceps. He was a powerful force & rarely fought at over 130 pounds. Bass was one of the hardest punchers ever in the featherweight and junior lightweight divisions. Contemporary Ring Magazine writer, Francis Albertani, described Benny as "A deadly puncher, cool as the proverbial pebble under fire and a masterful boxer."

By the age of 15, Benny began his amateur career, winning 95 out of an estimated 100 bouts. He earned a shot at representing the U.S. in the Olympics, but lost a heated decision to future world flyweight champion Frankie Genaro in the box-offs. Genaro went on to win the gold medal at flyweight in the 1920 Olympics.

In 1920, at age 16, Bass won the U.S. Middle States Flyweight Championship.

Benny turned pro in 1921 under the tutelage of Phil Glassman, who also handled the quintessential Philadelphia fighter, the great Lew Tendler.

Over the next three years Benny socked his way to an outstanding record of 53-4 with 1 NC, 2-Draws & 13 ND. Then, the great featherweight champion, Lewis "Kid" Kaplan, resigned the featherweight title due to weight problems leaving a small group of contenders to vie for the vacant crown.

The N.B.A. matched Benny with a leading contender, Morris Kaplan, whose nom de guerre was Red Chapman. Chapman was a mauling bruising in-fighter who had previously lost to Bass (WF-1). Benny and Chapman squared off for the vacant N.B.A. featherweight title on September 19, 1927, in Philadelphia. Upon winning a well-deserved decision Benny Bass became the featherweight champion of the world.

On February 10th, 1928, he faced Tony Canzoneri in New York City for the undisputed world title. Even though he lost a 15-round decision along with his title, Bass covered himself with fistic glory in a display of courage & stamina. During the third round of the encounter Bass somehow got his collarbone broken in five places. This kind of injury is excruciatingly painful making even something as simple as clenching your fists & holding them up agonizing. He somehow not only mustered the will too fight on for another 12 rounds; but from the 10th round on, he mounted a furious rally & almost pulled out of an extremely close 15 round split decision loss.

He then successfully challenged Todd Morgan for the junior lightweight title in 1929.

Following a successful title defense, he lost the crown to Kid Chocolate on July 15, 1931.

He retired after two consecutive 10 round losses in 1940.

During a career that lasted until 1940, Bass registered over 200 fights, and wins over such notables as Red Cochrane, Joe Glick, Harry Forbes, Bud Taylor, and Johnny Jadick.

After all the years of blood and effort Benny was dead broke. As Benny put it: "Everybody who needed money got it from me."Cyber Boxing Zone bio

Benny was no dummy, however, and even though he lacked much formal scholastic training he had a sharp mind, as evinced by his fluency in five languages. Applying himself with the same resolve he had displayed in the ring, Benny passed a Civil Service exam and worked a desk job for the Philadelphia traffic courts for many years.

Hall of Fame

Bass was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.[2]

Bass, who was Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.[3]

He is enshrined in the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall Of Fame.