MYSTERIOUS BILLY SMITH
MYSTERIOUS BILLY SMITH –
Welterweight Boxing Champion.
Out of Little River, Digby County, came the first recognized Welterweight Boxing Champion of the World. Born on May 15, 1871, to Robert and Adelia (Dakin) Smith, he was named Amos M. Smith, and was the sixth child born in the family. His grandparents were James and Sarah (Outhouse) Smith, of Tiverton, Digby County.
“ By the time he had reached his early teens, Amos had left home, before he reached his twentieth birthday he was fighting professionally. It is not known how he became involved in the sport, it was known, however, that Amos could and did handle himself very well in the rough and tumble outbursts that took place in the dock areas of Digby, Halifax, Maine, and Boston”. --- ( from an article in the NOVASCOTIAN, “ Mysterious Billy Smith, one of boxing’s greatest” by Frank Alnutt, October 12, 1985).
On Dec. 12, 1892, at the Wigwam Theatre, in San Francisco, California, SMITH, knocked out Danny Needham in the fourteenth round, becoming the Welterweight Champion of the World. “Mysterious Billy” Smith held the championship against several opponents, until July 26, 1894, when he lost to Tommy Ryan, after a hard fought twenty rounds. (He had fought Ryan to a draw twice previously).
Mysterious Billy Smith fought all the top fighters of his day – Tommy Ryan, Joe Walcott, Kid McCoy, and even exhibition matches against Jack Dempsey. “ As his record indicates, he proved to be a fighter among fighters, who never questioned the size of the purse nor the distance over which the bout was to go. He was an outstanding fighter of his day”. -- Frank Alnutt article.
In 1896, Mysterious Billy Smith, regained the Welterweight Championship, when Tommy Ryan “ vacated the Welterweight title because of weight problems”
Smith fought eight matches in 1897, and “ In 1898 at the age of twenty-seven, Smith took part in thirteen bouts during the year. He fought six twenty-five round bouts, three over twenty rounds and one fifteen rounds. He fought Joe Walcott to a draw over twenty-five rounds and won a twenty round decision in defence of his title”. Smith held the title until Jan 15 1900, when he was disqualified in the twenty first round against Jim Kearns.
Mysterious Billy Smith eventually settled in Portland Oregon, where he lived until his death on October 15, 1937, at age sixty six. He was rated by “ Nat Fleisher, founder of RING MAGAZINE and the RING RECORD BOOK” in his ALL TIME RATINGS of the Welterweight division “ … Joe Walcott in top spot, followed by Smith.” (All quotes from the Frank Alnutt article).
Transcribed by John Thurber ;
from an article in the NOVASCOTIAN,
“ Mysterious Billy Smith, one of boxing’s greatest” by Frank Alnutt,
October 12, 1985
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