Monte Attell

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Monte Attell
Nickname(s) The Knob Hill Terror
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Reach 67 in (170 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1885-07-28)July 28, 1885
San Francisco, California
Died November 11, 1960(1960-11-11) (aged 75)
San Francisco, California
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 131
Wins 66
Wins by KO 29
Losses 41
Draws 23
No contests 1

Monte Attell (July 28, 1885 – November 11, 1960), born in San Francisco, California, United States, was an American boxer who took the vacant World Bantamweight title on June 19, 1909 by defeating the 1904 bantamweight title holder Frankie Neil.[1]

In his career he faced bantamweight champion Jimmy Reagan in title defenses, and after losing his title, Frankie Britt, and Johnny Kilbane.[2][3]

Early life and career[edit]

As a poor Jewish kid of diminutive stature raised in a tough Irish neighborhood, Attell began his career as a fighter from a very early age. As his older brother Abe Attell (1884–1970) was the Featherweight Champion of the World during the same period, Monte and Abe became the first brothers to simultaneously hold world boxing titles. Their brother, Caesar, also fought and was called "Two and a Half," for always giving that amount whenever the hat was passed for charity at boxing events. Like his brother Abe, Monte spent some of his youth and likely some of his later life selling newspapers for a living. At the age of 14, Attell was treated for burns to the face and hands from a childhood accident with a toy cannon which may have contributed to his decline as a boxer as he aged.[4]

From fighting for survival in the streets, Monte Attell turned professional by 1902, winning his first five bouts. He lost several of his early bouts, but between February 1906 and May 1909, he won ten continuous matches. His performance earned him a chance to fight for the vacant Bantamweight championship in 1909.[5][6][7]

Championship reign[edit]

On March 29, 1905, Attell fought Jimmy Walsh in Philadelphia in what many sources considered a World Bantamweight Title match that ended when the referee called a disqualification against Walsh in the sixth round. One source noted that Walsh, "had the better of the bout from the start", and that the blow which occurred two minutes into the sixth round was accidental.[8] Attell claimed to have been injured, and a foul was called by the referee, but Walsh was recognized as the Bantamweight Champion, by the National Boxing Association.

Frankie Neil, 1904 World Bantamweight Champion

On June 19, 1909, Monte Attell won the World Bantamweight title defeating Frankie Neil at Coffroth's Arena, in Colma, California.[9] According to W. W. Naughton writing for the Oakland Tribune, Attell won every round of the eighteen round bout, which was ended by a full left blow to the chin of Frankie Neil. Neil reportedly "took a terrible mauling without flinching." Neil had last held the title in 1904, before losing it to British bantamweight Joe Bowker.[10][11]

He fought Jimmy Reagan on February 22, 1909 in World Bantamweight Title match that resulted in a twenty round points decision at the Mission Street Arena in San Francisco, California. In this exciting match, Attell was down four times in the early rounds, though he came back quickly. The Oakland Tribune had Attel winning every round after the seventh. On August 11, 1909, he successfully and more decisively defended his title once again against Jimmy Reagan in a fourth round knockout in Oakland, California.[12] He had fought Reagan earlier in a non-title match in Oakland, California, on November 30, 1908, that resulted in a fifteen round points decision.

Frankie Conley in 1910

In the seven months following his winning the title on June 19, 1909, Attell successfully defended it seven times until losing the championship to Frankie Conley on February 22, 1910, at the Pacific Athletic Club in Los Angeles, by a knockout in the 42nd round.[13][14][15][16]

Conley's knockout win was something of a surprise to the audience, as he was only 20, and Attell was a well established champion. The grueling three hour spectacle ended when Conley knocked out Attell with a strong right.[17][18] Some sources may give an earlier date as to when Attell first relinquished the World Bantamweight Title.

Declining years as a boxer[edit]

Credible boxers Attell fought near the end of his career included Frankie Britt, and Johnny Kilbane in March 1911, who would fight Abe Attell for the featherweight championship one year later. He fought the lesser known Patsy Brannigan and Ad Zotte several times. Tellingly, though not unusual for an aging boxer in the era, Attell lost nineteen of twenty-four bouts between February 7, 1912, and October 30, 1916, near the end of his boxing career.

Retirement and later life[edit]

Monte Attell retired from boxing around 1916 as the result of an eye infection that eventually led to his going blind. By February 1923, according to one source, Attell was short on funds, blind, and residing at the Alameda County Hospital.[19] He was married to wife Mary. On his passing in 1960, he was interred in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California, the city in which he had first taken his World Bantamweight title.[20][21][22]

Primary boxing achievements and election to the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame[edit]

Attell was elected to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Lineal Bantamweight Champions". Cyber Boxing Zone. 
  2. ^ Dan Rafael, "Can Juan Manuel Repeat the Feat?,", 15 March 2007.
  3. ^ "Monte Attell Boxing Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "A Painful Fourth for Some People:, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, 5 July 1900
  5. ^ "Monte Attell Is After the Title," Pittsburgh Press, 9 March 1911, Sporting Page.
  6. ^ "Attell Best White Boy in Fistic Game," Pittsburgh Press, pg. 8, 28 December 1907
  7. ^ "Monte Attell Boxing Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Monte Attell Was Carried Out", The Plain Speaker, Hazelton, Pennsylvania, pg. 4, 30 March 1905
  9. ^ Martin Mulcahey, "Resting Places of Boxing Icons,", 24 August 2005.
  10. ^ Naughton, W. W., "Frankie Neil Takes Terrific Beating From Clever Bantamweight Champion", Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, p. 28, 20 June 1909
  11. ^ "Monte Attell Boxing Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Monte Attell Boxing Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Mulcahey 2005.
  14. ^ Cliff Christl, et al., "Sports in Wisconsin -- The 20th Century," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 October 1999, 3C.
  15. ^ "Late S. F. Boxing Champ to be Enshrined". Jewish Weekly. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Monte Attell Boxing Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "Morgan and Murphey Looks Good to Fans", San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, p. 21, 26 February 1910
  18. ^ "Wolgast Defeats Battling Nelson, Conley Whips Attell", Belvidere Daily Republican, Belevidere, Illinois, pg.1, 23 February 1910
  19. ^ From San Francisco Chronicle, 9 February 1923, in "Monte Attell BoxRec biography". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Mulcahey 2005.
  21. ^ "Monte Attell," Find A Grave, 16 May 2001.
  22. ^ Attell went blind after retiring in Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame, (1988). Shapolsky Publishers, Inc, New York, end of Chapter 4, on Abe Attell, pg. 48.
  23. ^ "Late S. F. Boxing Champ to be Enshrined". Jewish Weekly. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Title last held by
Jimmy Reagan
World Bantamweight Champion
June 19, 1909 – February 22, 1910
Succeeded by
Johnny Coulon