Bill Speary Determined to Erase Decision Held over Him before Going Professional

Bantamweight Champ Meets Conqueror at Mealey's Monday

Jan. 1940

You can count the decisions National Bantamweight Champion Billy Speary has lost during his career as a boxer on one hand. That goes for nearly 200 contests.

Last August, in an outdoor contest in Philadelphia, Champion Speary came nearer to being counted out than any other time. A young man named Hubert Samuels clipped him on the button and he went down. He regained his feet at the count of 9 and finished  the bout. It was one of the decisions he lost.

There is one distinction between that Samuels decision and the several others he dropped, one or two during the early days of his amateur ring career and several since he holds the bantamweight title. In the two years he held the national flyweight title, he went undefeated. That distinction is that Speary rubbed out those other defeats by trouncing the fellows who had administered them in return matches.

On Monday night, in Mealey's auditorium, Speary will get his chance to wipe out the Samuels defeat. This is going to be his last bout as an amateur. Offers of purses, if he turns professional, have been so lucrative, he has decided to go after them. So he begins his pro career in Scranton on Monday night, Feb. 5. But before he turns pro, he hopes to even the score with Mr. Samuels. In short his out to take the measure of the Philadelphian in no uncertain terms.

Speary's trainer, the man who started him on a ring career and has seconded him in every contest he has engaged in, will hold the managerial reins after Billy turns pro. He is Art Thomas of Nanticoke, a peaceable kind of chap who knows his job. There's only one thing that could possibly make Art Thomas ornery, and that is if someone would have the temerity to impugn Billy Speary.

Some of the fans think Speary is cocky, that he likes Billy Speary pretty well. If he is, Art Thomas is the reason. Art has taught Speary at all times to believe that there isn't another amateur in the world who can lick him, at his weight. Speary has every confidence in Art Thomas and when the latter tells him that, he believes it and Thomas is certain that his feeling of superiority has contributed materially to Speary's success.

"I'm delighted that Billy is going to box Samuels again," says Thomas. "He'll lick Hubert this time. It will be Samuels who will hit the deck. I'm so glad because this is Billy's last fight as an amateur. If the whip Samuels, and he will, he can start his professional career with his chin up."

Speary is now boxing 126 pounds, not 118, the weight at which he won the national title last year. He was 126 1/2 for his bout with Paul Jackson here. There won't be more than a pound difference in weight between him in Samuels tomorrow night.

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