View Full Version : Chalky Wright: Was He Really A Native Of Mexico??

05-03-2007, 01:34 PM
Needless to say, he didn't look Mexican. Although his fight with Enrique Bolanos was billed as the "Battle of Durango," I've always suspected that he came from Durango, Colorado. Articles about him in the LA Times refer to his preference for tacos and enchiladas over hamburgers, but I don't recall ever reading that he conversed in Spanish. Mae West would know (Chalkey chauffered her car and reportedly had a few sessions with her in the back seat), but, of course, Ms. West is inaccessible. I believe his fight with Willie Pep was the very first "Gillette Cavalcade of Sports" TV fight. However, whether one considers Chalkey a legitimate title-holder or not, he was essentially a very busy journeyman. Muchas Gracias to whoever can answer my question.

Mike DeLisa
05-03-2007, 02:00 PM
No he was not Mexican or born in Mexico. Roberto Valero, I believe, is the researcher who proved that.

05-03-2007, 04:18 PM

No matter which Durango may claim him as a native son one thing is certain. Chalky Wright must have had a bit of the Latino rubbed off on him somewhere (San Bernardino, maybe?). Because in all the years that I knew him and conversed with him, Chalky never spoke to me in English----Spanish only----and fluently, sans a traceable accent of any kind.

He was also, perhaps, one of the less fortunate of all title claimants, as he knocked around the fight game for years, sometimes leaving it for weeks at a time, until he finally hit the questionable jackpot as a featherweight. During a part of the time that Chalky was recognized as champ in New York, a fellow Californian, Richie Lemos, held the other half of the 126-lb. title----the NBA version.

In his prime, Wright employed a ring style similar to that favored by another black champion, Ike Williams---i.e. both appeared to be stalking their opponents, pressing the attack almost relentlessly, until they could work their foe into a vulnerable posture.

Like Henry Armstrong, Chalky was a member of the Wirt Ross stable of coming champs early on--- a late bloomer who was knocked out in one round in his first try for a minor championship--- mythical supremacy in the junior lightweight class in California. Chicago's Eddie Shea turned the trick at the L.A. Olympic, in 1933.

I liked the man. A quietly polite, very soft spoken sort who kept on plugging, always hoping for a fairer shake from the fates.

hap navarro

05-03-2007, 04:18 PM
No he was not Mexican or born in Mexico. Roberto Valero, I believe, is the researcher who proved that.

Mike, you are correct. IBRO's boxing historian Roberto Valero and his late father (also a boxing historian) from Mexico confirmed that Chalky wasn't born in Mexico.

05-08-2007, 05:06 PM
Hi, Yes I want to confirm that Chalky Wright was not born in Mexico. He is american.

Roberto Valero

05-11-2007, 07:43 PM
Sir -- Can you elaborate please. Did he become fluent in Spanish by living in a U.S. barrio, or did his parents move to Mexico after he was born?? Thanks

02-11-2012, 05:50 AM
Chalky Wright was not a native of Mexico. He was born in Willcox, Arizona, February 1, 1912. He was born in the Territory of Mexico, now know as Arizona. Arizona became a state February 14, 1912. I am his second cousin. His Grandfather was a runaway slave from Natchez, Mississippi. The family name is Martin. He come from a family of Black cowboys who owned a ranch near Fort Grant. Him, his five sisters and brothers, his six cousins, mother, father, uncle and aunt all speak fluent Spanish and spoke it all the time. In the late 40 or early 50, I remember visiting his mother in Los Angeles a couple of times. He lived next door and was no longer fighting. I am currently researching my family's history and working on a project on Chalky for Black History Month.