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Friday, April 8, 2011

1918-04-08 Benny Leonard ND6 Young Joe Borrell [Olympia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, PA, USA]

1918-04-09 Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA) (page 15)
Lightweight Title-holder Decisively Defeats Local Boy in First Bout in Four Months


All doubts as to whether Benny Leonard, the popular world's lightweight champion, had lost any of his unusual cleverness of foot and machine-like hitting ability as a result of his four months' work as boxing instructor to 43,000 men at Camp Upton were smashed to smithereens or something last night at the weekly show of the Olympia A. C., when he out-jabbed, out-hooked, out-punched, out-boxed--but didn't out-game Joe Borrell in six fast and exciting rounds.

Many were of the opinion that the four months' lay-off from real fighting would tend to slow up the dethroner of Freddy Welsh, but his performance of last night demonstrated to the satisfaction of the many clubmen that he still is the lightweight king.

The bout last night was his first fight in four months. His duties at Camp Upton have been to teach the soldiers the Benny Leonard knockout punch and not how to defend oneself. As a result, he has been on the defensive the majority of time and hasn't been forced to extend himself in an effort to stop his opponents.

Leonard Very Serious

It was a different Leonard that entered the Olympia ring last night than the one that stopped Johnny Kilbane at Shibe Park last fall. He still had his hair brushed nicely, but there was a marked change in his face. Instead of the half-smiling countenance Benny had a very serious appearance, and when he started to fight he went about his work in a determined and businesslike manner.

His work at the cantonment has filled him out, and although no definite announcement was made of his weight, I would say that he tips the scales considerably above the 140-pound mark. But he carried only a few extra pounds.

Knocks Borrell Through Ropes

Borrell appeared nervous in the opening round and kept retreating with Leonard following him with cautious movements. It wasn't until two minutes had passed that the champion let loose. He backed Borrell against the ropes and slashed out with a left hook, which caught Joe on the side of the jaw and shook him up considerably and sent him reeling. A right smash to the jaw, as the whistle sounded announcing the ten-second time caused Borrell's knees to sag.

Leonard thought the whistle was the end of the round and started for his corner. Billy Gibson shouted to Benny to carry on, so he turned and walked over to the very weak Borrell and sent a terrific right to the jaw, the force of which sent the local boy through the ropes, landing on his back on the press seats. Before he could return to the ring the bell sounded. This was the first time in Borrell's career that he had been floored.

During the intermission Muggsy Taylor worked like a bee with his boy. Many of the clubmen had gathered their hats and overcoats together, anticipating a knockout in the second round. But Borrell was far from a knockout. He kept his guard high. Try as he could, Benny couldn't find an opening to land his celebrated knockout blow. He sent four consecutive right hooks to Borrell's stomach, but Joe weathered the bombardment and proved that he was better than Joe Grim by making a counter-attack and landing several right swings on the title-holder's head, causing Benny some annoyance by mussing his hair.

Joe took everything Leonard had in the third and fourth rounds and also gave some in return. The game fight Borrell was making had won the house over to his favor, and every time he landed a blow the crowd applauded. Once Joe, after landing an overhand right on Leonard's jaw, had an excellent opening to shoot one of his horseshoe punches across, but he failed to seize the opportunity.

It was in the fifth that Benny showed his best form. He stepped around with a lot of dash that fairly bewildered Borrell; his blows carried more force than in any of his former bouts in this city, and it looked as though he was booked for a short voyage. Backing Joe against the ropes, Leonard opened up with an attack of lefts and rights. How Borrell ever escaped he only knows. He came out with arms flying. Leonard had two or three openings, but missed each time. It was plain that Benny was trying his utmost to stop Borrell.

Leonard Cut Over Eye

The sixth was similar to the other rounds, with Leonard striving to land a haymaker. It couldn't be done, and amid the cheers of the several thousand spectators the round ended with Borrell still on his feet. The blood was streaming down his face from a cut on his cheek and nose, while Leonard had a cut over his eye and his nose was a little damaged. Borrell made many friends by his plucky showing against such great odds.

Leonard was accompanied by his brother, his manager, Billy Gibson, and Captain Frank Glick, the former Princeton star who is the athletic director at Camp Upton, where Leonard is boxing instructor. The title holder will meet Jack Brazo at the National A. A. Saturday night.

O'Brien Loses

Harlem Eddie Kelly, of New York, was the only thing that stopped Young Jack O'Brien from winning the honors in the semi-final. As it was Kelly had a little on O'Brien. In the other bouts Freddie Reese defeated Buck Taylor, of Baltimore, due to his great fighting; Patsy Wallace, despite a handicap of height and reach, earned a draw with Abe Attell Goldstein; and Jack Hayman won from Young McDonald.

1918-04-09 The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) (page 12)
Benny Leonard enjoyed an eighteen-minute romp with Young Joe Borrell in a one-sided affair before the Olympian Club last night. The lightweight champion won as he pleased, for Borrell hardly laid a glove on him during the six rounds and had Benny been so disposed he could probably had put Young Joe away before the bout concluded. The champion jabbed at will to Joe's battered nose, occasionally stung him with a right-hand uppercut and just when the crowd began to warm up in expectations of seeing a knockout Leonard would ease up and allow the battered Borrell to regain his wind and strength.

Benny scored a clean knockdown in the first round, a right swing to the jaw, but as he did not follow the punch up Borrell managed to stick out the round. Benny eased off for a couple of rounds, then nearly drove Joe out of the roped arena in the fifth by giving him an unmerciful beating, but then let up in the sixth just to let Joe stay to the finish.

It was too one-sided to suit the crowd, which packed the building to the doors.

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