Great Old Days


Days of gore and glory, such as will never again be seen in this old town, were brought to mind yesterday with the news that Billy Speary died in Bethlehem Tuesday night at the age of 49.

This was the Billy Speary who, for half a dozen years or so through the late 1930s and early 1940s, starred in one of the most colorful periods of Allentown boxing history.

Here was an era, believe it or not, when amateur boxing was the big thing during a decline in the professional variety. It drew as well as the pro game because of a few outstanding boxers, the best of which was Billy Speary, who then lived in Nanticoke.

His bouts with Billy Davis of Philadelphia were sure fire drawing cards and fans literally went wild over these two kids.

Anyone who knew the least thing about the ring sport in those days knew full well that the cards were amateur in name only. The kids were paid off just like the pros, but under the table, and earnings became quite substantial for favorite performers like Speary and Davis, who really gave the fans a show.

Speary later turned pro and then eventually moved to Bethlehem to work at the Bethlehem Steel plant.

In the history of Lehigh Valley boxing, Billy Speary must be counted in as one of those who helped to write some of its most exciting chapters.


Please use your browsers BACK button to return to the previous page.




Email to:  william -at-

Sorry, but due to the large volume of junk email we have had to take the email links out.  Please copy the address line above, paste it in to your email & change the -at- to @