The Boxing Biographies Newsletter
Volume 2- No 2 12th January 2008
Box O’ Tricks”, Pedlar Palmer was from fighting stock. His father was a bare knuckle champion of Essex, and it was said his mother could handle any women in London’s East End !.
Pedlar was an elusive and extremely clever boxer who developed into an extravagant showman with moves learned in a boyhood stage act with his brother.He won bouts advertised as for the world 100lb title in 1893 against Walter Croot and Mike Small, and was acknowledged as world bantamweight champion in 1895 when he beat Billy Plimmer of Birmingham on a 14th round foul.
He boxed a draw with the world featherweight champion George Dixon in New York in 1896 and kept his bantamweight title through five defenses against Johnny Murphy, Ernie Stanton. Dave Sullivan of Cork, Plimmer and Billy Rochford.Palmer lost his title in Tuckahoe, new york in September 1899 when he claimed that he was blinded by the lights when Terrible Terry McGovern knocked him out in the first round. He was then still only 22 years old.
Life remained a source of adventure for Palmer even though his skills faded as his liking for drink took its toll. He lost the British bantamweight title to Harry Ware in November 1900 and although e won two out of three fights with George Dixon and beat Digger Stanley, another world champion, he was twice beaten in British featherweight title fights by Ben Jordan and Joe Bowker.
In 1907 Palmer killed a man on a train to Epsom races and served four years for manslaughter. On his release he boxed again but his great days were over.For the last 20 years of his life he was a bookmaker in Brighton.
The North Adams Evening Transcript
14 August 1899
McGovern v Palmer
The Champion American Bantamweight Tells How he
Expects To Win from The Clever English Fighter
ON SEPT. 1, in the arena of Westchester A. C., Tuckahoe. N. Y., I hope to win the title of bantamweight champion of the world. That has been my ambition ever since I began to fight, and I have worked hard and faithfully to attain it. As Pedlar Palmer is the acknowledged bantamweight champion of England, and I am certainly the best man at the weight in this country, the winner at our meeting next month may surely claim the right to call himself champion of the world.
Of course, when I have beaten Palmer, I shall not rest content, but will seek higher honors. But of that I will speak later. First of all, I want to say something of how I am training for my go with the Britisher and why I am so confident that I can defeat him.
As for all my previous encounters, I am training for the coming battle at Fleetwood, which is on the northern outskirts of the city of New York. There are several reasons for my choice of this spot for preparing for my contests in the ring. It is near New York and Brooklyn, where most of my contests have taken place and in which I have business interests and yet is far enough from the latter city, which is my home, to prevent a lot of fellows being continually around my training quarters. Of course I like to see my friends occasionally while I am training, to vary the monotony of the work, but it is bothersome at times to have outsiders continually around and is apt to interfere and take one's mind off the real business of the day.
As I have been fighting at short intervals for the past two years, I was in pretty good shape when I started in this time. As a matter of fact, whether I have a fight arranged ahead or not, I always do a certain amount of athletic exercise every day and thus keep in trim. Besides which, I never smoke or chew tobacco and don't indulge in intoxicating liquor of any sort, except an occasional glass of beer, when in training, so as to have "something to work off. If I didn't drink beer when preparing for a fight, I should be apt to "dry out," as the saying is, and so go stale.
I get up in good time every day, and after a light breakfast I take a short rest and then go out for a 10 or 15 mile walk. While out I alternately walk, then sprint for a short while or jog along for a mile or so. When I get back to my quarters, I am ready for dinner, which is plain, but varied from day to day. During the afternoon I punch the bag or skip the rope for several hundred times. The latter is one of my favorite- exercises, as it is a wonderful aid to a fellow in developing staying power. Sometimes I vary the monotony by boxing a few rounds with" Charley Mayhood, my trainer, or with Tim Kearns, who is my sparring partner.
After the next ten day or so, when the date for the fight is near at hand, I shall drop all but the lightest work, just enough, in fact, to keep in good trim without getting over trained. It is practically impossible for me to tell you what tactics I shall employ against Palmer. As any fighter of experience knows, one has to study an opponent and then go at him by directing the attack on that point which seems to be the most vulnerable, or where he gives the best opportunity for an opening. However, I'll venture to make the same prophecy in regard to the result of my fight with Palmer as I have before every one of my previous encounters, and that is that if Pedlar has not licked me by the end of the first three or four rounds I'll win sure.
I do not say this in a. spirit of bravado, but because I thoroughly believe what I say. My reasons for this belief are as follows: A glance at Palmer's record will bring to light the fact that the majority of his victories have been gained by outpointing his opponent, whereas, if you look up my career, you will see that most of my battles have resulted in my adversary being knocked out. Now, from this I argue that, while Pedlar was much cleverer than any of his opponents, yet he could not hit hard enough, as a rule, to knock them out.
I am considered to the hardest hitter for my weight in the ring today, besides which, I think I can claim credit for considerable ability as a boxer. Consequently I am certain that Palmer will not have enough steam behind his blows to knock me out, and I am willing to receive a good deal of punishment for the sake of getting him to leave an opening so that I can land a few good ones on my own account. If I get the opportunity, and I am sure I shall, I guarantee that an American will be the next bantamweight champion.
Even if Palmer does get the opportunity to land some smart blows on me I am not even then so certain that they will hit me where they will do much harm, for I have made it a practice to avoid blows by ducking my head and otherwise dodging without using my hands, so as to have them immediately available for the purpose of doing some offensive work at the slightest opportunity. I have managed to attain considerable cleverness in this dodging work and, as a rule, receive the blows on the back of my neck or some such harmless place.
As I can hit equally hard with either hand, it makes no difference to me on which side the opening comes or which fist lands the blows. I don't want any one to imagine from' the foregoing that I am not well aware that I am going up against the hardest proposition I have yet tackled and the man who is credited with being the cleverest bantamweight in the business; but, as I have endeavored to convey, he is essentially an extremely clever and scientific boxer, while I am first and foremost a fighter, with a good knowledge of the art of self defense, and thus have the better of it if previous battles under the same conditions are any criterion.
I may here mention the fact that in none of my fights have I had my nose bled or an eye blackened and in other respects have hardly received a mark.
Now as to my plans after I have won from Palmer. I shall immediately sail for England, as I think there will be more money to be made there than over here, and I think I shall be entitled to all I can get of it. Palmer gets $500 a week for appearing in the London music halls, and as his conqueror I ought to get more for the same thing, besides which, I shall give exhibitions throughout the larger towns of the country.
When my tour there is over, I shall return to America and after some exhibitions will set to work to prepare for my fight with George Dixon the featherweight champion, which will take place in December or early in January. After that, well that’s a long look ahead and I leave such matters to my manager.