Stepping into the ring for his first sanctioned fight as a 12-year-old, Spears admits he got started on the wrong foot. However, through the efforts of Clifford Smith, Butch Flowe and several others, Spears went on to win approximately 80 percent of his bouts as an amateur and professional boxer. Lying about his age on various occasions, including when he entered the United States Navy as 15-year-old, Spears boxed for the Berryhill Bombers and the Navy, winning several bouts and the Fifth Naval District Tournament. After hanging up his gloves, Spears remained involved in the sport as a trainer, referee and ring announcer and as an active supporter of the Carolinas’ Boxing Hall of Fame. His involvement with boxing has spanned 50 years.