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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lou Ambers, 1935

1935-02-25 The Sun (New York, NY) (page 28)
Ambers a Greb or Driscoll?
His Bout With Fuller on Friday Night Should Help to Answer Question.

There is going to be fighting this week, and in the Madison Square Garden ring, of all places! The Sun man has positive confirmation that next Friday night Lou Ambers and Sammy Fuller are scheduled to engage in a fifteen-round contest in what was once referred to as the temple of fistiana. Already one hears debates as to what effect the outcome of the tilt will have on the future activities of Barney Ross, and whether this Ambers boy is a miniature Harry Greb or a modern Jem Driscoll.

This writer inclined to the Greb theory, but Eddie Harvey, who assisted his brother Charley in handling Driscoll while he was in this country, insists there is more of Jem than of Harry in the style of the Herkimer Hurricane. Eddie says what he thinks and he usually thinks pretty straight in his estimates of pugilistic quality, though as much cannot be said for his auction pinochle.

"As with Greb and Driscoll, Ambers's long suit," declared Eddie, "is, of course, speed. The secret of Greb's success, aside from his rare stamina and lion heart, was his uncanny knack of rating himself. Without resorting to grabbing or tincanning he still had a way of relaxing while his opponent was trying to fight. Then, as soon as his opponent tried to let down a bit that was just where he didn't get any rest, then it was that Harry really went to work on him. With Driscoll the trick was what may best be described as 'fist lightning.'"

The term "fist lightning" probably more aptly describes Jem Driscoll in action than any this writer has ever heard applied heretofore. You would get Eddie's meaning with more understanding had you been in his company on the two nights--barely a week apart--twenty-six years ago this very month, when Driscoll gave an impressive demonstration of this said fist lightning. It happened right here in this city, and at the expense of Abe Attell and Leach Cross.

Driscoll vs. Cross.

Cross had been fighting about four years when he stacked up against the Welsh Wizard. Leach already had given a very good account of himself against the one and only Packy McFarland, and against Tommy Murphy, Willie Fitzgerald, Charlie Griffin, Mike Glover and other topnotchers, including Fighting Dick Hyland, who was to have his revenge some months later by getting Leach out on the Coast in a finish fight, which Fighting Dick won in forty-one rounds. Leach had displayed something of a punch around this time by stopping Joe Bernstein, Frankie Madden, Battling Hurley and Young Otto.

After Jem was done with Leach, however, some one was inspired to write the following bit of doggerel:

"Driscoll was a Welshman,
His left, it was a peach;
Kept sticking it in Leach's eye,
Now Leach he needs a leech."

"It was the darndest thing," explained Cross right after the bout. "That Welsh guy seemed to have an extra pair of mitts. I'd see his left right there in front of me and the same time I was getting it in the eye."

What really happened was that Jem beat Leach to the punch with an exceptional proficiency. Fist lightning, Eddie Harvey called it, and the Welshman certainly had it. Jem struck with the speed of lightning, but with the difference that Jem struck not only twice but many times in the same place, with special attention to Leach's left eye.

Driscoll vs. Attell.

Nine days later came Driscoll's meeting with Abe Attell, and this time we felt certain American boxing prestige would be avenged, even though Abe would be giving away not less than half a dozen pounds. Abe was recognized as the featherweight champion then, but lightweights of no less renown than Battling Nelson, Freddie Welsh and Matty Baldwin, the best of them in short, usually ran second to the clever Abe.

Alas, Driscoll proceeded to take good care of Attell. It was by no means a master and pupil affair, as some accounts would have it at this far day. No exponent of the manly art that ever lived could actually outclass Abe Attell to such degree. But Jem did succeed in beating Abe to the punch, and in one round made him miss so badly that Abe all but went plunging through the ropes.

If Ambers can get by Sammy Fuller next Friday night you may be certain a worthy opponent for Barney Ross has been developed. Sammy has seen action against boys of such quality as Ross, Billy Petrolle, Tony Canzoneri, Jimmy McLarnin and Jack Kid Berg. To come through Friday Ambers will need plenty of what Jem Driscoll had in the way of fist lightning.

1935-03-02 New York Post (New York, NY) (page 17)
Lou Is Called 'Another Greb'
Fuller's Handlers Note Similarity in First Look at Ambers
From Sammy Fuller's corner last night in Madison Square Garden, Lou Ambers looked like another Harry Greb.

"What were those guys talking about?" asked Harry Kelley, Fuller's veteran trainer. "I never saw Ambers fight before and when we got in town they told me Lou was a bum."

Kelley has been around a long time. During his career he has trained Johnny Wilson, Jack Sharkey, Jim Maloney, and Jock Malone.

"Why, Ambers is the nearest thing to Harry Greb I've ever seen," Kelley declared.

"That goes for me, too," said Dan Carroll, Sammy's manager. "He's Greb all over again."

1935-03-04 Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY) (pages 10, 12)
Concerning Ambers and Ross

Now that Lou Ambers has performed his first 15 round test, speculation is flourishing as to his chances of beating Barney Ross for the lightweight title. In soundly thrashing Sammy Fuller last week Ambers removed an obstacle to the royal match. A bout is in the making between Ambers and Tony Canzoneri, 'tis said. But this is not too important, assuming they do meet. Ambers, I believe, will handle Tony rougher than he did little Fuller. Canzoneri dropped a decision to an unknown, Chick Woods, in Detroit the other night. He was a grand little fighter once, but the parade has passed him by--as parades will. And close to the leader of that parade is this Ambers boy, surely too pugilistically young and talented for the present shopworn edition of Canzoneri.

But to get back to Ambers and Ross. They will probably meet this Summer, likely in a New York ball park. When they do you'll find two mighty capable glovesters with sharply contrasting styles. Each is showy and skilled in his own way. Ambers' style is what is familiarly known to cauliflower as "unorthodox." He has no conventional boxing attitude, no standard means of defense.

Ambers holds his gloves lightly in no set position, often dangling them at his sides, hitting with either hand when the whim seizes him. He rarely blocks with the arms, depending on sensing the coming punch, bobbing out of range or ducking the thrust. This was the method used by Jimmy Slattery, Pal Moore and Harry Greb. Ambers is talented in this respect, but not to the degree of a Slattery or Moore. He lacks the gusto and diversified slambang attack of Greb.

Sparkling Skill.

Ross is of the highest order of orthodox boxing skill. He punches with the swiftness of a striking cobra, is fast afoot, is a remarkable counter-puncher and an aggressive, crowding fellow as well. Blocking, slipping and ducking he is as elusive as a frisky eel. Ross is a smart, nimble-witted ringster, capable of diagnosing all styles and applying his tactics to them. Although not a terrific hitter he possesses a more damaging wallop than Ambers, a comparatively light hitter. Which will win? Well, I think Ross will, brother.

One of the points argued against Ambers is his limited experience. Although Ambers has been fighting but three years, and reached his forty-sixth bout against Fuller Friday night, so that is sufficient for the purpose--if he is as good as claimed.

Ross' record somewhat supports that. The Chicago Hebrew beat Canzoneri for the title in his thirty-ninth battle, and he was five years reaching that number. Of course, he will have had considerably more valuable experience than Ambers when they meet, what with the two McLarnin jousts last year.

And in Ross, of course, Ambers will be facing a more redoubtable champion than the Canzoneri who was whipped by the then challenger Ross. Tony was good but nevertheless on the down slide then.

That Sinking Spell

Ambers has had but two really "big time" shots, those with Harry Dublinsky and Sammy Fuller. He won both. However, figuring his chance against Ross on his showing in these bouts, he was not entirely convincing in either. The cyclonic Herkimer youngster seems to have difficulty getting off to a fast start against the better class of ringsters. He was a long while getting under way against Dublinsky, coming from behind to win what I thought was a questionable decision. Against Fuller he experienced a severe sinking spell in the third round after being nailed flush with a left hook on the jaw.

It was during these squally third-round moments, too, that he furnished evidence that he wasn't exactly an iron man for all his reputed stamina. He made mute signs of protest against a series of savage body wallops, holding his gloves to foul territory, although Fuller's punches were legitimate enough.

That has a strong bearing on the impending conflict with Ross. The champion is a mighty accurate and damaging body puncher, particularly in the close fighting. A fine tactician, Ross knows that the way to slow down a whirlwind, perpetual motion type like Ambers is to batter the body. It was with a steady, concentrated assault of this kind, you'll recall, that Tunney finally mastered Harry Greb. Ambers, to my mind, will have to bear up better under this attack from Ross than he did with Fuller in that brief stormy spell Friday night.

No Privileges

In Ross, Ambers will meet a fighter different in many ways from any he has hitherto encountered. Ambers' style scintillates against boxers who permit him to do most of the forcing. He isn't likely to have any such privilege against Ross, a crowding, fast-hitting boxer in his own right. Fuller and others soon became tamed and beaten out of all descent resemblance to a forcing, aggressive fight against Ambers. They waited for the flurry of blows, simply hoping they didn't get hit too many times while firing a random shot here and there.

Ambers, like Greb, is a terror when he can force the fight to his order. Ross isn't generously inclined that way. He makes his own pace, generally. The chances are Ambers will wish he had devoted some attention to orthodox defense and attack before Ross is through with him. One of Ambers' pet stunts--the pumping rapid-fire chops to the head--is likely to prove a dud against Ross. It is showy and effective against slow-thinking fighters like Fuller, Dublinsky, a smarter boxer, smothered it, after a few rounds, with his forearm. Ross, I imagine, will quickly check it in the same fashion. He knows all about this tying up and smothering business.

Greb and Bartfield

Of course some of the cleverest, most polished boxers have been made to look foolish by weird stylists. The modern ring hasn't developed two cleverer ringsters than the Gibbons boys--Tom and Mike. Yet Greb could always beat the conventionally skilled Tom. I once saw this crazy stylist take almost every round of ten from the bewildered master boxer in the old Garden.

Mike, who was even cleverer than Tom, who copied his stuff from his middleweight brother, was once humiliated by your own rough and tough Soldier Bartfield in Brooklyn. Mike had an original trick of rubbing his nose, then unexpectedly letting the punch go from that disarming pose.

It didn't fool rough and tough Bartfield. He punched the brilliant Mike about and wound up insulting Michael by imitating his nose-rubbing stunt!

Perhaps Ambers will prove another Greb or Bartfield against Ross. But I'll be surprised if he does. I don't think he's that good--yet.

1935-05-07 Buffalo Courier-Express (Buffalo, NY) (page 17)
Herkimer Lightweight Is Second Harry Greb, May Be Too Speedy for Ex-Champion

New York, May 6--A right brisk bit of beak-busting--we'll even go so far as to predict it'll be the most savage scrap staged by the smaller sluggers here all season--will be offered when Lou Ambers and Tony Canzoneri fight fifteen rounds in Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

The winner--and he looks like Ambers from where we sit--will be recognized by the New York State Athletic Commission as the successor to Barney Ross, the lightweight champion who abandoned his title a few weeks ago.

Youth vs. Age

The Ambers-Canzoneri shindig will be a splendid test of Youth versus Age. Lou is an ambitious and brilliant newcomer from Herkimer, N. Y., who has decisively whipped such able athletes as Harry Dublinsky and Sammy Fuller, while Tony, from New Orleans, is a gallant little veteran with his palmiest days behind him.

His legs about gone, Canzoneri will try to knock out Ambers early in their match. If he doesn't he's sunk, for the Herkimer lad, a two-fisted leather swinger from start to finish, will give Tony a terrific going over and he may even succeed in flattening his foe if Canzoneri starts to wabble.

A great money fighter in the past, Canzoneri will attract many sympathizers who believe he can drop Lou. These rooters should remember that Fuller, a harder hitter than Tony, larruped Lou on the lug with his Sunday punch and failed to feaze Ambers.

Ambers Another Greb

A weaving, bobbing boy who boxes much like the late Harry Greb, Ambers in his past performances has convinced most critics that Canzoneri will have a tough time laying a glove on this elusive target. Lou is an 8 to 5 favorite today and should be a 2 to 1 or better to win at ringtime.

If Ambers runs true to form and whips Tony he is likely to get his cherished shot at Ross, for the Chicagoan already has announced he will return to the 135-pound ranks after he has fought Jimmy McLarnin for the welterweight championship up at the Polo Grounds on May 28th.

"There's nothing I'd like better than to fight Ross," declared Ambers at his Orangeburg training camp today. "I was terribly disappointed when Barney gave up his title recently because I thought I'd meet him this summer. And now it looks as if I'll get my wish."