Originally Posted by McGrain
The thing is, Ketchel fought fighters with all style. Technicians like Kelly, cute master-boxers like Sullivan, brutal punchers like Papke...he thrashed all of them. Thrashed. Burns is a little bgger but he succumbed to Sullivan. What do you know about that fight Adam?
I give pretty detailed accounts of the Burns-Sullivan bouts in my book, In the Ring with Tommy Burns
. They fought a 20-round draw the first time. The writers generally agreed with the decision, though most of the crowd thought Burns had won. Burns lost the 20 round decision in the rematch, but it was a good and entertaining bout. Most subsequently came to feel that Burns was weak at middleweight, and was much better physically in every way when he did not have to make weight. He was stronger, faster, and busier when he did not have to drain himself to make weight. He proved it in his next fight, moving up from 158 to 175 to fight the 200-pound Hart. He also showed up much better in all of his subsequent heavyweight fights. Remember also, back then, they made weight the afternoon of the fight. And in a drained state, going 20 rounds was no easy task.
Plus you have to consider that Burns fought younger and better versions of Sullivan and Kelly than Ketchel did. Sullivan last fought Burns in 1905. He was taken out by Ketchel in the 20th round in 1908, after a few more years of wear and tear, including losses to Kaufman and Flynn.
Burns clearly beat Kelly in their 20-round rematch in 1905. Kelly wasn't taken out by Ketchel until 1908.
Regardless, Ketchel was more of a puncher than Burns, though Tom was no slouch in the punching department. Just because A KOs C and D but B does not, does not mean A beats B. Common opponent results is often overused and misused in assessing a head to head match-up. Yes Ketchel was more of a puncher than Burns as a middleweight, but they might have had similar punching power at 170 or 175, and even if Stan was still the harder puncher, there is more to analyzing a fight than punching power. If that were the case, then Foreman and Liston would have wiped the floor with Ali, but they didn't.