Michael Tenerelli (aka Mickey Blair)

Mickey Blair - 1931-10-23

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.

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