Born in 1892, Eddie Palmer reigned as World Colored Welterweight and Middleweight Champion in the early 20th century. While he was a champion and contender in the loose colored ranks for most of his career, he would face a number of future World Champions.
The Career of Eddie Palmer
The New Orleans-born Palmer began his career fighting out of New Orleans in 1911. Since most of the hot competition of the period was on the Atlantic coast, he would move to Philadelphia a year later. His first match was a draw against the Congo Kid in late-March 1911.
He would follow this up with a few victories in New Orleans before heading off to Philadelphia in August. His last New Orleans bout for years was against Congo Kid. Palmer’s career was noted for periods of settling in an area and taking on challenges for some time before moving to another area.
His time Philadelphia saw him take on a future Light Heavyweight champion in Battling Levinsky. Their first encounter in March 1912 ended in a draw while the second in May ended in defeat.
Between 1911 and 1912, Eddie Palmer would lose to Young Tommy Coleman four times and defeat him once. Following one loss, Palmer declared himself the first World Colored Welterweight Champion in an odd fashion. Also in this same September 1912 bout, he was made World Colored Middleweight Champion–or he claimed the title.
The history surrounding Palmer’s title win is very odd. He is shown to have defended the middleweight crown four times and the welterweight title twice. Things get murkier when its shown that he gained the titles on the same day in two different locations–New York City and New Orleans.
Brawl in Louisiana
Between 1914 and 1916 he had series of bouts against fellow Louisiana-native Gorilla Jones. He won their first encounter in 1914 but lost back-to-back fights in 1915, losing the World Colored Welterweight title in their February 1915 bout. Jones would lose in the eighth round of their April 1916 match. All of their matches took place in Louisiana.
West Coast Tour
Following a mixed run in Salt Lake City, Eddie Palmer found himself on the west coast in late 1916. He fought in Portland with two losses to Jimmy Darcy and a win over Frank Parslow. When 1917 started, he was in California where he had a decent run racking up an impressive chain of wins during the weekly Dreamland Rink cards in Sacramento.
The later part of his California run ended in a mixed fashion, leaving the area with a win over tin can Jack Fitzgerald in April 1918.
Return to New Orleans
Palmer would rest for over a year before returning to action, running through the debuting Jack Sarpy in October 1919. At the end of the month, Gorilla Jones welcomed him back to boxing with a loss.
The end of his career was mostly New Orleans-based and saw him rack up a number of losses. His last six matches saw him go 3-3, ending his career on a three-round KO loss to Roland Dixon.
Eddie Palmer’s record was 47-23-5. What happens after he retires in December 1930 is unknown.