Monte Attell was born on July 28, 1885 in San Francisco, California. Born into a poor, Jewish family, Attell fought in the streets as a young boy. He began his professional career in 1903. In 1909, Attell won the vacant bantamweight title by defeating Frank Neil.
He and his brother, Abe Attell, became the first pair of brothers to hold championship titles simultaneously. Attell, unlike his brother, Abe, was not able to defend his title for long—only until 1910, when he lost to Frankie Conley in the 42nd round. Attell retired from boxing in 1916 due to vision problems, eventually losing his sight completely. He passed away in 1960.