Born in New York City on February 18, 1901. As a child, scarlet fever left him deaf and mute. An accidental touch of a downed electrical wire at age 15 miraculously restored his hearing and speech.
Berlenbach excelled in wrestling and won the 1922 and 1923 AAU national championship. However, Berlenbach didn't pursue a wrestling career, but turned his attention to boxing.
He turned pro in 1923 and early in his career was matched and defeated by Hall of Famer Jack Delaney. Undeterred, the "Astoria Assassin" regrouped to score several knockouts, including a 10th round TKO over Battling Siki to set up a light heavyweight title shot against champion Mike McTigue.
Renowned for his punching power, Berlenbach surprisingly outboxed his foe to win a 15-round decision and the title. He successfully defended the title three times (TKO 11 Jimmy Slattery, W15 Jack Delaney and W15 Young Stribling) before losing it to his nemesis Delaney in 1926.
Berlenbach would meet and lose to Delaney once more before retiring in 1933.
Born: Feb. 18, 1901
Died: Sept. 30, 1985