Of all the pages included here, this "introduction page" has proven the most difficult to write. How does one
"introduce" - within the confines of a single page - a story that spans an entire lifetime?
What words can one choose to tell the story of a sickly, 89 pound young man who went on to become one of the world's most celebrated boxers of his time? ....a man who had his
Olympic dreams crushed by a World War? ....a man who passed away much too early to see himself inducted in to the
boxing Halls of Fame?
This man, Billy Speary - born in the small coal mining town of Nanticoke, Pa.- made ring history
as a flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight in both the amateur and
professional boxing rings.
As an amateur, he held more championship
titles than any other fighter of his time. Never before
and never since has another fighter held the national championship 3 years running. In the late 1930s - long before the advent of cable television & personal computers (two mediums that can "create" a new "celebrity" in a matter of minutes) his name was a household word from coast to coast.
As a professional, he fought the best in the world including Harry Jeffra, Jackie
Callura, Willie Pep and Joey Archibald. When Billy beat Jeffra
in 1940, Harry managed to save his title due only to a
weight clause and Joey Archibald,
upon losing to Billy in 1940 proclaimed him " the best featherweight I ever fought."
How then to tell this story - particularly without it sounding boastful? Braggart was not a word anyone would have used to describe Billy Speary. Indeed, upon his death, many people who had known him only since his retirement from the ring had no idea he ever was a boxer.
Not even his widow & children knew he had traveled to Europe
to box for the Prince of Wales. It simply was not in his nature to brag.
Some may also ask "Why tell this story at all?". Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that after years of grueling training and constant exposure to serious injury, these "boxers of yesteryear",
usually have little more than a scrapbook of clippings when they "hang up the gloves". Veteran boxers are very soon forgotten. Somehow,
that just doesn't seem to be enough.
It is from these very scrapbooks that this site is taken. All entries are original newspaper or magazine articles along with original press photos. Also included are
photos of his belts, gloves, Golden Gloves
& Diamond Belt rings and the like. It is my sincere hope that they have been organized and displayed here in such a manner as to tell their own story in a way that no one else's words ever could.