Abe Attell Suspended For Fight Fixing

     Abe Attell was a tough boxer.  He won the World Featherweight Boxing Championship twice.  He and his brother Monte were the first brothers to be world boxing champions at the same time after Monte won the World Bantamweight Championship.

      Abe Attell won his first title when he was based out of the West End Boxing Club in St. Louis, MO.  During his second title run in 1906, he fought out of California.  A hearing on December 31, 1904 in St. Louis may have been the reason for the relocation.

     A talented boxer Abe Attell hung out with some unsavory characters.  He was a  friend of Arnold Rothstein, a notorious gambler and gangster.  When Rothstein arranged to fix the 1919 World Series by bribing several members of the Chicago White Sox, Abe Attell reportedly delivered the money.  Attell was also known to gamble.  In 1904, his bad habits caught up with him in St. Louis.

     Abe Attell was scheduled to fight John Reed in Chicago during late 1904.  While future champions Johnny Regan and Monte Attell were training at Mannion’s Park, Abe Attell and John Reed agreed to go the distance and have their fight end in a draw.  Tom Smith was also aware of the agreement to fix the fight.


Abe Attell from the Public Domain

     According to the January 1, 1905 edition of the St. Louis Republic, the directors of the West End Club summoned the five fighters to the club for a hearing on December 31, 1904.  The Chairman was Charles Haughton.  He was joined by Tom Kutis, James Smith, William Meers and Pierce Killian.  Charles Haughton called Johnny Regan as the first witness in the fight fixing hearing.

     Johnny Regan testified he observed Abe Attell and John Reed agree to go the distance, so the fight would end in a draw.  Regan stated that he would not participate in a fixed fight.  Initially, the Board suspended Johnny Regan for six months but Chairman Haughton convinced the other directors that he was duped by “astute fixers”.  They exonerated Regan and restored him to good standing.

     Chairman Charles Haughton called Monte Attell and Tom Smith in next.  The article did not say that Haughton interviewed either man.  He just spoke very harshly to them and then restored them to good standing as well.  Abe Attell and John Reed were not so fortunate.

     Chairman Haughton interviewed Abe Attell, who admitted to fixing the fight with Reed.  The board suspended Attell for one year.  However, after further discussion, the board suspended Attell for six months.  The suspension may have led to Abe Attell’s decision to go back to California.

     John Reed, who originally fought out of Chicago where the fixed fight occurred, also admitted to fixing the match.  He too was suspended for a year, which was reduced to six months.  Haughton stated that the men were not suspended for fixing the fight but because both men placed bets on the fight.

     Haughton made the following statement to the St. Louis Republic.   “Every member of the West End Club is entitled to the protection of the institution, fighter, patron or promoter can hope to cast a shade of suspicion on the club without having justice meted out to him, or them, with the greatest impartiality.”

     These men must be applauded for taking action could and did end up with them to losing some fighters.  It would be easy to cut corners to keep a talented fighter like Abe Attell but these men decided the reputation of their club was more important.  Abe Attell did leave St. Louis but the board retained their reputations.

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