by Hal Walker
Harry Jeffra had enough of what it takes in the clutch to outpoint
the willing Billy Speary in the main 10-round bout headlining Jack
Allen's fight show at the gardens last night.
But he didn't have much to spare.
When the last punch had been deftly flicked away and the gong
sounded to end the meeting of these classical little ringman, Jeffra was
the winner by a split decision. He gained the votes of referee Billy
Burke and one judge, Dr. Les Black. The other judge, Freddie Nobert,
cast his ballot for Speary and the dark-hair lad from Nanticoke, Pa.,
got a lot of sentimental support from the crowd.
It was close fight and a crowd pleaser too, although Deacon Jack
Allan would liked to have had more customers then the approximate 4,300
who braved sub-zero weather to watch the first local fight show of 1942.
Alan operated at a slight financial loss.
To get back in front, Jeffra, the former featherweight King, had
to come up with a brisk rally in the late rounds to offset a slight lead
that Speary enjoyed. Jeffra came with a bounce from the eighth round,
hitting sharply and more often than Billy Boy, and so well did he
accomplish his punching that he had Speary bleeding from a cut over his
left eye, left ear and the back of his head what was all over.
Both fighters showed a keen respect for each other in the early
rounds, and after leading would fall into a clinch and hang on until
Referee Burke broke them up. Speary piled up points with his
aggressiveness, and he had Jeffra back-pedaling on two or three
occasions. But when Harry, a notoriously slow starter, began to get the
feel of his guns in the sixth round, he looked a whole lot better.
Jeffra fired right hands to Speary's face and finally he opened a
deep cut over Billy's left eye. Standing off more in refusing to lead
into a clinch, Jeffra worked effectively to the head and body and paid
particular attention to his rival's bad eye.
For all of that Speary was holding his own. Even in the last round
he was standing at manfully and slugging with Jeffra, and for a little
man Mr. Speary throws a mean left hook.
In the very first round Speary almost decked the former title
holder and the crowd, definitely pro Speary roared for a knockout. A
left took to the stomach and straight right to the head rocked the
Baltimore scrapper. Speary concentrated on the body, shifting his attack
but seldom, and in the late rounds Jeffra was wincing every time he was
hit in the stomach. Jeffra was to 2 to 1 betting choice, but he didn't
look like anything resembling that price when they started in to trade
The Global and Mail score card gave Jeffra five rounds, Speary
three and scored two even.
Jack Dempsey, co-manager of Jeffra, worked in his fighter's
corner, and the former Manassas Mauler received a big welcome from the