Paul Lester Pender, the son of William and Anna Lester Pender, was born in the Boston neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts.
In 1949, he graduated from Brookline High School. Pender was touted as an All-American football player by Michigan State and Penn State, but while at Staley College, he decided to pursue a career in professional boxing. He was, however, a boxing champion. Boxing is his second career, and being a Brooklyn firefighter is his first.
He won the New England welterweight title as an amateur. Paul was now a member of the United States Marine Corps. The United States Boxing Association canceled Sugar Ray Robinson’s middleweight title in 1959. Gene Fulmer wins the NBA title over Carmen Basilio.
Paul defeated one of the greatest fighters of all time, Robinson, for the disputed middleweight belt. He won a split decision in the Round of 15. Paul met Robinson again to defend his title, and this time he won a split decision.
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