ESB Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Re: Post your Stanley Ketchel pictures & stories here!!
One world championship was just a
beginning for Ketchel, and a month
after his fight with Papke he amazed
the boxing world with an announcement
that he would fight Jack Johnson
for the world's heavyweight title.
Johnson at that time was scaling regularly
15 -st Stan's top weight was
never more than 11 st. 6 lb. In addition,
Jack could give him four or five
inches in height ana' a few inches in
To keep up appearance when he had
to get into the same ring with Johnson
to be announced for the coming fight,
Stan got special boots made with high .
heels and a new overcoat that was
heavily padded at the shoulders! This
subterfuge made him look something
like Jack's height and build, but there
weren't many who were fooled by it.
And so, Stanley Ketchel climbed into
the ring at Colma, California, in the
September of 1909. to meet a man who,
I claim, was the greatest heavyweight
champion the game has known.
Stan tore into Jack in his usual
homicidal way and after mixing it well
for 11 rounds, he got through Jack's
guard in the twelfth and floored him
with a terrible chop behind the ear.
Jack staggered up at nine and Stan
sprang at him with right hand drawn
back. But Johnson was far from done,
and as he straightened out of
his crouch, his long arm. lashed
out, catching Stan flush on
the chin, breaking his jaw and
putting him out for a good half
It was little more than a year after
that fight that Stanley Ketchel came
bounding into my room at San Francisco.
I saw him almost every. day for
three weeks and then Hugh Mclntosh
and I struck east to New York. A few
weeks after we got there, Mac told me
he had arranged for me to fight Ketchel
at the Fairmont Athletic Club.
Knowing as much as I did about
Stan, I went into strict training at
Connecticut, about 60 miles from New
York. My chief sparring partners were
Sailor Burke, runner-up to Ketchel
for the world's middleweight championship
and a heavyweight named McClusky.
Every afternoon for weeks, Sailor and
I fought an all-in bout, and, although
I never knocked him out, I floored
him dozens of times.
Then one afternoon, a couple of
flashly-dressed fellows from New York
motored down to watch me work out.
After they had seen me get Sailor's
measure in one of our usual slogging
competitions they followed me to the
dressing-room and made' me the only
offer to fight crook I ever received in
my ring career.
'We represent Stan Ketchel,' they
said, 'and we want your 5,000 dollars.'
'What 5,000 dollars?' I asked them.
Then they explained that Stan had
arranged for each of us to pay 5,000
dollars to an independent stakeholder
as a guarantee that we would be both
be on our feet at the end of the fight.
This, of course, was only a bluff they
were trying to pull on me to get my
5,000 dollar guarantee while Mac was
on his way back to America from England,
so I told them I had never fought
crook in my life and never intended to.
The next day, Stan 'sprained his
ankle,' and the fight was postponed
That incident made me very disappointed
with Ketchel, but after I had
thought it over I realised he hadn't
done anything very bad. After all,
what's wrong with a gentleman's agreement
not to half-kill one another, provided you're
prepared to give the fight
fans good entertainment and work hard
for a genuine decision on points?
And that, apparently, is all Stanley
was aiming at, so that his tender jaw
could get quite better again.
It was only a few months after this
that a bullet ended Stan's career.
Anxious to have another go at Jack
Johnson, he thought he had better put
on weight first, so he bought a ranch
in Missouri and retired to it to eat
plenty and sleep a lot. This was early
in the October of 1910,
On the night of October 15, when I
was walking along Broadway to see one
of the revues, I heard the newsboys
shouting out the story of the murder. .
That morning Stan had lined up for
his breakfast at about 9 o'clock. The
table was set on the verandah, and in
the bright sunshine Stan began to wade
into his bacon and eggs
He was half through the meal, his
friends told me later, when he heard
someone hiss his name from inside the
passage leading to the verandah.
Suspecting nothing, he turned, to receive
a bullet in the chest.
The shot didn't kill him. and he must
have grappled with his assailant, be
cause when help arrived from a neighboring
ranch he was found lying on the
floor, with his head brutally battered.
They didn't take long to get him to
Springfield Hospital, where an operation
was performed, but he sank
slowly, and died soon after 9 p.m.
There was a motive behind the murder
of Stanley Ketchel, and the subsequent trial,
in which a man was sentenced to gaol for life,
indicated that it was a woman.
Still, that was a side of Ketchel's
nature I never saw. I only knew him
as a friendly, chivalrous, generous fellow
and a prince of fighters.