Charlie Phil Rosenberg

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Charley Rosenberg
Real nameCharles Green
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
NationalityUnited States American
Born(1902-08-15)August 15, 1902
New York
DiedMarch 12, 1976(1976-03-12) (aged 73)
Boxing record
Total fights69
Wins by KO7
No contests1

Charley Phil Rosenberg (Charles Green; August 15, 1902 – March 12, 1976) was an American boxer. He was the World Bantamweight Champion from 1925 to 1927.[1] His trainers were the legendary Ray Arcel, and Whitey Bimstein, and his manager was Harry Segal.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Charlie Rosenberg was born in New York City's Lower East Side on August 15, 1902 as Charles Green. He came from a large family of nine siblings. His father died in an accident while working as a laborer at a clothing factory before he was born. His widowed mother Rachel, struggling to provide for the family, was forced to place three of his siblings in a Hebrew Orphan Asylum. When Charley was only five, his mother decided to move the family from the Lower East Side to Harlem, a more ethnically mixed section that still contained many Jews. Charley grew up poor and struggling in a neighborhood where children from different races and religions often competed in the streets to get by.

In one of his earliest boxing matches, he substituted for a friend, Phil Rosenberg, and subsequently took his name as his ring moniker. He retained his real first name of Charlie.[4][5]

Early boxing career[edit]

Rosenberg began fighting as a bantamweight in 1921, and lost most of his fights through May 1922.

Charlie's manager Harry Segal, frustrated with Charlie's poor record in his early fights, may have intentionally overmatched him with Olympic Flyweight Champion Frankie Genaro around that time. Although losing the twelve round points decision at the Commonwealth Sporting Club against Genaro on May 23, 1922, the close fight could have gone either way, and Charlie's manager was impressed with his young boxer's ability to learn. Rosenberg had picked up pointers on bobbing, ducking, and effectively using his left, from Jewish boxing great Benny Valgar, while training at his gym. He would meet Genaro again on October 21, 1922 in another close twelve round bout. Rosenberg would become known for his speed, hard hitting ability, and cleverness in the ring.[6]

After his first bout with Genaro, Rosenberg defeated important prospects Sammy Butts and Henry Catena.

He defeated Harry London on November 22, 1923 in a twelve round points decision at the Commonwealth Sporting Club at 120 pounds. He then lost to future Bantamweight World Champion Bud Taylor on October 19, 1923 in Madison Square Garden.

Rosenberg and "Cannonball" Eddie Martin, 1925 Bantamweight Champion of the World, met three times, twice in six round decisions and once in a draw. On November 29, 1923 and January 28, 1924, Martin defeated Rosenberg, in close decisions on points, both times in New York's Madison Square Garden. In their third meeting, a fast and furious affair on April 29, 1924, Rosenberg gave Martin a closer battle which ended in a ten round draw.[7]

Winning the World Bantamweight Title[edit]

Charlie won nine fights in a row in 1924, three by knockouts, and earned a title shot. He defeated Eddie Martin on March 20, 1925, to win the world bantamweight crown. The bout was a fifteen round unanimous decision that took place in Madison Square Garden. In the sweeping victory, the Lincoln Evening Journal wrote "Rosenberg had a clean margin in eleven of the fifteen rounds, and three were even." Martin appeared to have held a slight lead only in the early rounds.[8] The Palm Beach Post noted that Rosenberg won using a "tantalizing left jab and a right uppercut, outboxing Martin at every turn and at the latter part of the match, holding his own in a furious toe-to-toe skirmish."[9][10] Rosenberg had had trouble making weight for the bout, and needed to lose twenty pounds during his training. According to his trainer Ray Arcell, this had been a difficult process, though a successful one.[11]

Rosenberg was described by Time magazine as:

wan as if he had spent his life loitering with La Belle Dame Sans Merci beside her autumnal lake, her birdless woods; his face was drawn, his body lean almost to emaciation. He was a young Jew, the challenger.... For 13 rounds, the sturdy champion took a dreadful drubbing.... At the end of the 15th round, the referee lifted the hand of the challenger, Charley ("Phil") Rosenberg, thus giving him the title of the champion.[12]

Batamweight title defense against Eddie Shea, July 1925[edit]

One of his most important title defenses was against Eddie Shea on July 23, 1925, at New York's Velodrome. Rosenberg won the battle in a fourth round TKO. Shea had the advantage until the third round, when Rosenberg began pounding Shea with blows to the midsection. In the fourth, Rosenberg floored Shea with a straight right, but somehow Shea managed to rise. Rosenberg then followed with a feinted left followed by a hard right which ended the fight. The blows look authentic ringside, but the boxing commissioner Jim Farley considered the bout "suspicious" and banned both boxers from fighting in New York for life, though Rosenberg's ban was later lifted. Vast betting on the bout was one of the reasons for the suspicions of the commissioner.[6]

Losing the World Bantamweight Title for not meeting weight limit[edit]

Rosenberg lost the World Bantamweight Title to Bushy Graham on February 4, 1927 in a fifteen round decision at Madison Square Garden. He was only a slight favorite in early betting. Though he won the fight, he forfeited the title because he had exceeded the weight restriction for bantams. Also punished for the weight infraction, and a secret agreement that would have split the winnings against the rules of the boxing commission were the managers of both boxers including Rosenberg's manager Harry Segal, who had his license revoked in New York.[13]

Rosenberg won a few more matches before his retirement in January 1929. His wins included opponents Harry Scott, Georgie Mack, and the ex-champion Johnny Dundee.[10]

Life after boxing[edit]

In the late 1930s, Charley became an insurance salesman and stayed in the field for the next thirty years.[5]

Rosenberg's professional record in 65 bouts: won 33 (7 KOs), drew 8, lost 17, 7 no-decisions.[10]

Hall of Fame[edit]

Rosenberg was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Lineal Bantamweight Champions". Cyber Boxing Zone.
  2. ^ Dewy, Donald (2012) Ray Arcel: A Boxing Biography, p. 31, McFarland and Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina
  3. ^ "Eddie Martin Bio". BoxRec. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  4. ^ Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame, (1988), Shapolsky Publishers, Inc, New York, Pgs. 219-221
  5. ^ a b Silver, Mike, Stars in the Ring, Jewish Champions, (2016) Rowman and Littlefield, Guilford, Connecticut, pgs. 247-8
  6. ^ a b Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame, (1988), Shapolsky Publishers, Inc, New York, Pgs. 185-188
  7. ^ "Eddie Martin To Defend Title in Bout with Rival", Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, Wilkes-Barr, Pennsylvania, pg. 33, 20 March 1925
  8. ^ "Rosenberg is too Much for Martin", Lincoln Evening Journal, Lincoln, Nebraska, pg. 8, 21 March 1925
  9. ^ "Phil Rosenberg Dethrones Eddie Martin", The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Florida, pg. 9,21 March 1925
  10. ^ a b c "Rosenberg, Charley Phil". Jews In Sports. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  11. ^ Dewy, Donald (2012) Ray Arcel: A Boxing Biography, p. 33, McFarland and Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina
  12. ^ Time Magazine article
  13. ^ "Secret Agreement on Fight Bars Two", Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, Pg. 7, 12 February 1927
  14. ^ Charlie Rosenberg at Jewish Sports

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eddie Martin
World Bantamweight Champion
March 20, 1925 – February 4, 1927
Title next held by
Panamá Al Brown