Arthur Pelkey (Peltier) (1884 – 1921)

Sport: Boxing
Year of Induction: 2003

About

This native of Dover Township, whose original name was Andrew Arthur Peltier became a champion boxer under the Anglicized name of Arthur Pelkey. Arthur was considered at one time to be one of the best boxers in the world. He stood 6’ 2” tall, weighed 210 pounds, and had a reach of 78 inches. During his ring career, Pelkey met practically every top-notch heavyweight, white and coloured, in Canada and the United States and always retained his popularity with the sporting element in both countries. Unfortunately, his career and his life changed forever on May 24, 1913, the day he became the World White Heavyweight Champion. 

Career Highlights
  • 1910 – fought his first professional fight in Boston against Kent Salisbury which ended in a draw – former World Champion, Tommy Burns, a Canadian himself, began to train Arthur hoping he would become the “Great White Hope”
  • 1911 – 1913 – fought 20 times around the world with 17 victories, 1 draw, 1 no-decision, and only 1 loss
  • May 24, 1913 – fought Luther McCarty an American in Calgary for the World White Heavyweight Championship – at 1:40 of first round, Pelkey hit McCarty lightly on the chin and what looked like a meaningless right to the chest – McCarty collapsed and died in the ring – death was determined to be as a result of a fall from a horse 2 days before the fight – Pelkey and Burns were subsequently charged with manslaughter but were later exonerated 
  • As World White Champion, was considered as contender for the World Championship held by Jack Johnson, but he was not the same after McCarty’s death
  • 1914 – 1920 – January 1, 1914, lost his next fight and his championship to Gunboat Smith in San Francisco – lost next 9 fights including one to Jack Dempsey – in his last fight, fought to a draw with Peter Jackson in Chatham – retired from fighting and became a police officer in Windsor, Ontario
  • Feb. 18, 1921 – died as a result of “sleeping sickness” at his home in Windsor at age 38
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