International Boxing Hall of Fame

Lew Tendler

"Lefty"

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Lew Tendler
Statistics
Real name Lew Tendler
Rated at Welterweight
Nationality Flag of the United States USA
Birth date 1898-09-28
Birth place Philadelphia, PA
Death date November 15, 1970 (aged 72)
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 172
Wins 135
Wins by KO 39
Losses 15
Draws 9
No contests 13

(Lefty) Lew Tendler (born September 28, 1898, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; died November 7, 1970, in Atlantic City, New Jersey) was an American boxer.

Tendler is called “the greatest southpaw (left-hander) in ring history” by The Ring Magazine’s editor-publisher Nat Fleischer. Yet, as great a fighter as he was, Tendler never won a championship.

Boxing career

The son of Russian immigrants, Tendler was raised around 6th Street and Reed in Philadelphia, and was a newspaper boy who began fighting on the streets to preserve territory.

From his first professional fight in 1913, at age 15, until his final bout in 1928, Tendler fought the best in four weight classes, including seven world champions. As a young pro he competed at bantamweight and later developed into one of the hardest punchers in the lightweight division.

A brilliant lightweight and welterweight, Tendler made just one career mistake: fighting in the same era as the legendary Benny Leonard. Most experts agree that Tendler would have been lightweight champion in any era but Leonard's.

On May 5, 1922, Tendler positioned himself for a title shot when he earned a 15-round decision over Johnny Dundee.

He met champion Leonard in two classic and widely heralded matches, losing the first bruising battle on a no-decision. Although the younger Tendler had soundly thrashed Leonard throughout their 12-round bout, the State of New Jersey (site of the July 27, 1922, match) had a “no-decision law” that meant a champion could only lose his title by a knockout.

On July 24, 1923, nearly a year to the day later, a New York City crowd of 58,519 paid $452,648 to see the pair clash again for the title at Yankee Stadium. It was the largest gate ever for the lightweight division. This time Leonard prevailed in a 15-round decision — decisions being legal in the State of New York.

Lefty Lew moved up a weight class and defeated the two top contenders for the Welterweight Championship, Ted Marsh (4-round KO) and Sailor Friedman (10-round decision). Just 11 months after his second fight with Benny Leonard, on June 2, 1924, Tendler battled Mickey Walker for the World Welterweight crown in Philadelphia. He lost a 10-round decision.

He continued to fight until 1928, but did not receive another title shot.

Tendler’s professional record over 168 bouts was W 59 (37 KOs), drew 2, L 11 (7 by decision, 3 on fouls, one KO by), 94 no-decisions, 1 no-contest.

Boxing style

Tendler employed a non-stop, all-action style, and became a highly skilled craftsman with a terrific body attack. What made him special was the fact that he threw perfect straight punches out of his southpaw stance, and revolutionized boxing for the left handed fighter.[1]

Hall of Fame

In 1961, Tendler became the 16th prize fighter elected to the World Boxing Hall of Fame.[2]

Tendler, who was Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.[3]

In 1997 Tendler was inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[4]

In 1999 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[5]

 Miscellaneous

After his career, Tendler became a successful restaurateur in Philadelphia (his restaurant, at Broad and Locust Streets, was called "Lew Tendler's") and Atlantic City.