He was born in an area bounded by South Bartges, Washington, High Streets, and called Hell's Half Acre. During his youth he literally had to fight for his life - so in 1913 he launched his competitive boxing career by knocking out Hall of Famer Willie Ames. Lavery, who weighed between 97 and 112 pounds fought 39 bouts in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions. Two of those bouts were with Eddie Rosner the U.S. flyweight champion. One was a no decision while the second, in Barberton Lavery won by a decision in a 10 round no-title bout. He hung up his gloves in 1922 with a 17-8-2 record. Twelve others were no decision contests.