SAMMY ANGOTT, whose real name was 'Samuel Engotti' was never a fan favorite. The Washington, Pa.-native was a clever boxer, but persisted on clutching his opponent so often following clean punches that he landed, that he was given the moniker: "The Clutch."
The 5-8 Angott began boxing in 1935. His first marquee opponent was former featherweight champ Freddie Miller, who he outpointed over 10 rounds, Dec. 5, 1938. He finished that year as 'The Ring' magazine's No. 5 ranked 135-pounder.
He won nine of his 10 bouts in 1939, including a 10-round decision over Petey Sarron. He also split a pair of verdicts with Davey Day. It was against Day, who he outpointed over 15-rounds on May 3, 1940 that he won recognition from the N.B.A. as lightweight champion. He had two noteworthy non-title fights against future champions later that year. He lost a 10-round decision to Fritzie Zivic, but beat Bob Montgomery. He also beat rising contender Lenny Mancini (the father or Ray Mancini) in May 1941, but lost a verdict to a young Sugar Ray Robinson in July.
Angott closed out the year on a high note by beating Lew Jenkins, who was recognized as the world title claimant, on Dec. 19, at Madison Square Garden. He defended the title only once, a 15-round points win over Allie Stolz in May 1942. He also bested Montgomery in two non-title 12-rounders, but lost again to Robinson.
Angott announced his retirement on Nov. 13, but returned to the ring four months later and defeated reigning world featherweight king, Willie Pep. Angott continued to campaign and re-won the N.B.A. 135-pound crown by outpointing Slugger White over 15 rounds in Hollywood. But he lost that crown to Mexican Juan Zurita on March 8, 1944.
Although he would enter the top-10 rankings at welterweight, Angott never again fought for a world title. He did, however, continue to tangle with top lightweights -- and future Hall of Famers -- from 1944-46. Among them were Robinson, Montgomery, Beau Jack and Ike Williams. His most noteworthy win, was a sixth-round kayo of Williams. In July 1946, he suffered his only career kayo, in the seventh round, at the hands of Jack.
Angott, although no longer a world class fighter, continued to fight through Aug. 1950. In all, Angott fought seven Hall of Famers: Zivic, Montgomery, Robinson, Pep, Henry Armstrong Jack, and Williams.