can one write about a pugilist from the Coal Regions, who demonstrated he
could well handle the opposition in both the amateur and professional
It doesn't take much imagination to realize that the name Billy
Speary, born in Nanticoke, Pa, has made ring history as a bantamweight and
featherweight as an amateur and as a pro.
As "Simon Pure" this gloveman from the Anthracite Region
was supposed to be "AN EASY MARK." But before the going was over
in the punch for honor competition, he had won a grand total of 267
contests. To climax it all Speary wound up with a total of 13 amateur ring
championships in both the 118 and 106 (should
read 112) pound divisions.
Having no more fields to conquer, Speary became a leather pusher for
pay. As a result of his professional battle, he soon discovered he
had participated in a total of 68 money earning ventures.
He fought the best in the world, including sizzlers with
bantamweight and featherweight champion Harry Jeffra, of Baltimore; Joey
Archibald, of New York, Willie Pep and Jackie Callura, the later trio
having held the 126 pound crown.
Speary beat Jeffra when he held the bantamweight and the
featherweight crowns, both being over the legal title poundage. He
also beat and lost to Archibald. Archibald, Pep and Callura eked out
unpopular verdicts over the "Upstart from Northeast
Pennsylvania." Efforts to gain rematches with Messrs.
Archibald, Pep and Callura proved futile. Speary's ability to give
and take proved he was no "easy mark" for the cream of the
crop. One meeting with him was just too much - an experience they
The name of Billy Speary well merits being enrolled with all the champions
and near champions that have already gotten into the Pennsylvania State
Boxing Hall of Fame.
Upon his retirement from active competition, the one time bantam and
feather ring great became a fistic referee, as a licensee by the Keystone
State Athletic Commission. He performed these chores in the
Speary passed away while still a very young man but his ring feats
will always be remembered by the residents of his home sector as one of the
nations foremost bantam and featherweight challengers.
Plaque commemorating induction