Mickey Blair, born Michael Tenerelli in 1908, was a professional boxer hailing from Camden, NJ. Raised on South 4th Street in Camden alongside his younger brother Frank and sisters Nettie and Mary, the Tenerelli family resided at 833 South 4th Street. Living nearby at 839 South 4th Street were the Scola family, known for their son Vincent Scola, who gained notoriety through his involvement in organized crime during the 1930s and 1940s.
Despite standing at a height of 5’5″, Mickey Blair made a name for himself in Camden’s vibrant 1920s boxing scene, competing as a super featherweight and lightweight. He demonstrated dominance in amateur competitions across South Jersey and turned professional in 1926. From that point until December 21, 1931, Mickey Blair’s known record included 25 wins, 11 losses, two draws, and 33 no decisions. His opponents included notable fighters from Philadelphia and South Jersey, such as Roxie Allen, Eddie Chaney, Eddie Cool, Harry Blitman (managed by bootlegger Max “Boo-Boo” Hoff), and Tony Falco, with whom Blair had two split decisions. It’s noteworthy that Mickey Blair’s younger brother, fighting as Frankie Blair, also faced Tony Falco.
Even after 1931, Mickey Blair continued his boxing career, participating in at least one bout in 1936 where he defeated Bob Wilson on points. By then, he had shifted to the welterweight category but weighed two pounds over the limit in the mentioned fight in 1936.
Throughout the 1930s until his death in November 1941, Mickey Blair often made headlines for activities beyond the boxing ring. He found himself entangled with the law on multiple occasions. In February 1933, Blair, along with Thomas Bonalli and Charles Parisi, was acquitted of charges related to an armed robbery in Atlantic City in May 1932. In July 1933, he faced charges for threatening to kill a Pennsauken man by bombing his house. Blair, along with Bonalli, was present at a Sycamore Street speakeasy when Detective William T. Feitz was murdered on September 2, 1934, becoming the first Camden police officer killed in the line of duty. Although initially held as a material witness, Blair later refused to testify, resulting in contempt of court charges.
On November 4, 1941, Mickey Blair returned to Atlantic County and was fatally shot at the Pleasure Bay Inn, a club he operated. His murder continued to make front-page news, even amid the events of World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Throughout the 1930s until his death in November 1941, Mickey Blair often made headlines for activities beyond the boxing ring.
Vincent Scola, also known by the nicknames “Cheeno” and “China,” first came to the attention of law enforcement in 1929 when he was only 18 years old. He was later killed at 38th and Myrtle in East Camden.
Detective Feitz was investigating three men who had entered a home at 243 Sycamore Street when he was gunned down from behind. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at West Jersey Hospital.
Camden Courier-Post – July 26, 1955 Standout Performers Appeared in Bouts Held at Armory Camden has had its ups and downs in the boxing game, but probably reached its peak so far as performers are concerned when bouts were held at the Haddon Avenue Armory during 1919-20. However, a number of clubs flourished in the…
Down Memory Lane with that Old Gang of Yours… in a few of the years when Our Town was as good a sport town as any in the land… from the time that Taylor and Gunnis promoted fights through the years to Roxey Allen… Mickey Blair… Eddie Chaney… Shamus Maguire… Pee Wee Ross… Jackie Hindle……
Camden Courier Post – November 20, 1948 By TOM RYAN A new boxing triumvirate soon will be formed in Camden, it was learned today. Those involved are Tony Georgette, Joe Webster and Eddie Prince, all Camden residents. The merger of the trio into one group has been talked over for the past months among the…