Herbie Kronowitz 1923-2012

By Mike Silver on November 19, 2012
Herbie Kronowitz 1923-2012
Whatever Herbie accomplished in the ring he did it the old-fashioned way—he earned it.

Former middleweight contender Herbie Kronowitz passed away on November 9th. He was 89 years old.

Herbie was ranked among the top ten contenders by The Ring magazine from July to September 1947. That year, in a rousing 10-round bout, he lost a disputed decision to Artie Levine at Madison Square Garden. Over the next three months he outpointed veteran contenders Sonny Horne (57-12-4) and Harold Green (51-8-2) to earn a #9 rating. At the time Herbie’s record was 44-8-3. His match against Green, on June 19th, 1947, was for “the middleweight championship of Brooklyn” and attracted 15,000 fans to Ebbets Field.

Kronowitz was featured in two Madison Square Garden main events, against Levine and Pete Mead. His four battles with Mead were corkers. Herbie lost their first 10-rounder but outpointed Mead in the return. Mead took the next two bouts by split decision.

Herbie also crossed gloves with Laverne Roach, Rocky Castellani, Jimmy Flood, Vinnie Cidone, Lee Sala, Johnny Greco and Joey DeJohn. He was stopped only twice in 83 bouts, by DeJohn and Bobby Hughes, but never counted out. They were the last two fights of his career.

Herbie was only 17 years old when he began his professional boxing career in 1941. He squeezed in 32 fights in two years before joining the Coast Guard in 1943. A year later he was about to be transferred overseas for duty aboard a Coast Guard cutter when he received word that his brother had been killed in the Battle of the Bulge. Since another brother was serving with the Army in the Pacific, Herbie was ordered stateside for the remainder of the war.

Herbie retired in 1950 with a 55-23-5 record (10 KOs). He was primarily a boxer whose style featured a busy left jab combined with deft footwork. Many of his losses were by split or close decision. After hanging up his gloves he used his ring earnings to purchase two taxi medallions. But Herbie never strayed far from the sport he loved. From 1955 to 1984 he worked as a referee for the New York State Athletic Commission. He always put the safety of the boxers first and was respected for his competence and impartiality.

Herbie is representative of a vanishing breed of contenders from the great Golden Age of boxing talent and activity. He fought during a time of brutal competition and was competitive with some of the best boxers of his era. There were no free passes in his day and few tomato cans to pad a phony record. Whatever Herbie accomplished in the ring he did it the old-fashioned way—he earned it.

Rest in Peace contender.

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1948 Middleweight Contender Herbie Kronowitz

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  1. Tex Hassler 05:35pm, 11/28/2012

    Herbie possibly is unknown to many of today’s fans but he was a product of the Golden Years and an old school all the way. He would probably quickly win a title today but he came up fighting top level competition, something that simply is not available to today’s fighters. Mike Silver made me aware of Herbie and I quickly became a of Herbie’s. If you check out Herbie’s record you quickly find that he fought some “tough folks” as we say here in Texas.

  2. Jeff 08:47pm, 11/18/2012

    There’s no such thing as “tough” Jews like Herbie Kronowitz, Artie Levine, and Harold Green anymore.  On second thought, all the really tough Jews live in Israel.

  3. peter 06:24pm, 11/15/2012

    He doesn’t talk like a tough guy, but he fought like one. R.I.P.

  4. Bob 08:15pm, 11/14/2012

    Great tribute, Mike. And what a great video to go with your piece. Herbie looked like a tough piece of work.

  5. Dan Cuoco 07:55am, 11/14/2012

    A tough fighter from a tough era. May he RIP!

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 05:15am, 11/14/2012

    Mazel Tov to Herbie for an exciting and very successful life well lived….talk about a fighting spirit…we should all do so well!

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