Sammy Angott, born in 1915, began fighting for free at age 17. Dozens of fights as an amateur made Angott a Golden Gloves champion in Pittsburgh, and led the fifth of nine children born to a Pennsylvania coal miner to his first professional fight in 1936.
“People were poor in the ’30s,” explained Angott years later. “A lot of people had to fight to make a living.”
His part of the purse was no more than $50 for many of those early pro fights. In fact, Angott began raising a family on the “security” offered by $35 he earned for a fight in New York City.
His wife. Evelyn Angott, two daughters and a namesake son stayed in Washington during the 15-year professional career in which Angott carved out a record of 97 wins, 25 losses and four draws. In less than five years, the boxer became lightweight champion, beating Davey Day in Louisville, Ky., for the National Boxing Association crown on May 9, 1940. Angott retired undefeated as champion in 1942. But much as today, boxing careers were frequently interrupted before they were finally concluded. Angott returned to and retired from the ring several times during comeback attempts.
He regained a portion of the lightweight title in 1943 by beating “Slugger” White, and again in 1945 by knocking out Ike Williams.
Angott’s pugilistic skills were recognized in the years before his death in 1980 by his induction into a dozen athletic halls of fame, including the Boxing Hall of Fame in the Ring Museum at Madison Square Garden.
Angott fought Sugar Ray Robinson (3 time), willie Pep, Fritzie Zivic, Beau Jack (2 times), Henry Armstrong. Ike Williams, Juan Zurita, Johnny Bratton – all Champions themselves.