Friday, May 2, 2014

Alert The Media: Willie Pep Not Jewish

Willie Pep is one of my favorite boxers.  The "Will O' the Wisp" was a great Featherweight champion.  He ended his career with a record of 229 wins, 11 loses, and 1 draw.  I've always thought that he was Jewish.

But no, his real name was Guglielmo Papaleo, and, as that name suggests, he was Italian.  I suppose that it's possible to be both Italian and Jewish, but I don't think that was the case with Willie.

Check out this video.  Willie really earned his reputation of being hard to hit.  A better nickname might have been "Mr. Where Did He Go?"  Boxing writers called him an expert in "escapology."  He could hit too though, many of his victories were by knockout.

Willie is best remembered for a four bout series with Sandy Saddler, Sandy won three of those meetings.  Not surprising though, Sandy was a great boxer himself, with a record of 144-16-2.  Sandy was also a Lightweight (135 lbs.) to Willie's Featherweight (127 lbs.), and five feet, eight inches tall to Willie's five foot, five inches.

These few loses notwithstanding, Willie Pep was a great fighter.  You can almost see the guys in the video thinking, "wait, he was here a minute ago." 

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