Johnny Dundee

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Johnny Dundee
Johnny Dundee.jpg
Real name Giuseppe Curreri
Nickname(s) Scotch Wop
Rated at Lightweight
Nationality United States American
Born November 19, 1893
Sciacca, Sicily,
Died April 22, 1965
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 343
Wins 183
Wins by KO 22
Losses 64
Draws 39

Johnny Dundee (November 19, 1893 – April 22, 1965) was a featherweight and junior lightweight boxer who fought from 1910 until 1932. Dundee was born Giuseppe Curreri in Sciacca, Sicily, but was raised in the United States. Dundee was a clever boxer with little power. He was highly skilled at fighting off the ropes and was always in outstanding condition. He fought 59 times in his first two years in boxing.

Dundee began fighting professionally in 1910 and didn't stop until 1932. During that time he had 330 bouts and won featherweight and junior lightweight titles. Only two fighters in history, Len Wickwar (463) and Jack Britton (350) had more fights than Dundee. Perhaps even more remarkable was that Dundee was knocked out just twice in his entire career.

Dundee met the best fighters of his era. He fought great lightweight champion Benny Leonard nine times and entered the ring against top contender Lew Tendler three times. He also fought lightweight champions Freddie Welsh and Willie Ritchie.

Dundee earned a world title fight in his 87th fight and fought to a drew with featherweight champion Johnny Kilbane in 1913. The slick boxer waited until his 265th fight for another shot at the title. His patience paid off. He won the junior lightweight championship in 1921 when his opponent, George "KO" Chaney, was disqualified in the fifth round. Dundee earned the distinction of being the first universally recognized junior lightweight champion in history. Then in 1922 he knocked out Danny Frush to earn recognition in New York State as the featherweight champion of the world.

Dundee successfully defended his junior lightweight crown three times before losing it to Jack Bernstein in 1923. Two fights later he unified the featherweight title by defeating Eugene Criqui and finished 1923 by regaining the junior lightweight title in a rematch with Bernstein.

Dundee lost the junior lightweight title to Steve Sullivan in June of 1924 and then relinquished the featherweight crown two months later. The last significant fight of his career was in 1927 when he challenged featherweight champion Tony Canzoneri but lost a 15-round decision. Dundee finally retired in 1932 after posting a six-round decision over Mickey Greb.

Known as the Scotch Wop, Dundee faced all of the great fighters in the featherweight, lightweight and junior-lightweight divisions of his era. He fought the great Benny Leonard nine times, and Lew Tendler three times. He also boxed lightweight champions Freddie Welsh and Willie Ritchie.

Dundee was regarded as a skillful boxer with great footwork. He fought 330 bouts, third in ring history, and won the featherweight and junior lightweight world titles. Dundee was knocked out only twice in his career. His final record was 194 wins (22 KOs), 60 losses and 41 draws. The remaining bouts were No Decisions, which were common during the era in which he fought.

He received his first opportunity to win a world title in his 87th fight, in 1913. Although he fought the champion, Johnny Kilbane, to a draw, he would not receive another shot at a title until 1921. By this time he had fought an astounding 264 fights. He won the title when his opponent, George KO Chaney, was disqualified in the fifth round. Dundee thus became the first universally recognized world junior lightweight champion in ring history.

In 1923 he also unified the world featherweight championship by defeating Eugene Criqui of France.

Jack Bernstein won the World Junior Lightweight Championship on May 30, 1923 from titleholder Dundee in New York City’s Velodrome in a unanimous 15-round decision. Dundee won it back on December 17 that same year in a 15-round decision in Madison Square Garden. The two fought a “rubber” third match 10 months later, on September 15, 1924. This time the 15-round decision went unanimously to Bernstein.

Unable to make the weight he relinquished the featherweight crown in 1924.

Although today he is almost completely forgotten, Dundee was highly regarded by many old time boxing experts. Ring Magazine founder and editor, Nat Fleischer, rated Dundee in the top five of his list of greatest featherweights of all time.[citation needed]