Re: Alternate Career History For Ketchel
Post Johnson he was pretty much phoning it in in comparison to those early days.
Ketchel definitely was prone to being out-boxed, but I don't think that Carpantier would be the man for that particular job. I just don't think he was ever tough enough, if he could break Sullivan he could break Carpantier. A Gibbons bout would be distant dependent. Mike never fought further than 15 rounds, and we see the difference the first real modernisation makes to this match up because 15 rounds is the tipping point. Mike in 1908 gets broke, but in 1916 Ketchel probably gets frustrated in a ten-rounder for at least 2/3.
Packey McFarland, too.
The point is, Ketchel was the perfect fighting machine for his time. Brutally aggressive, an insane puncher, an incredible engine, near-limitless durability and toughness. Gibbons was of his time. Ketchel's story is fascinating because he represents the perfection of a generation whilst also being its last real standard bearer. IMO, even completely modern fighters like Hearns and Hagler would have struggled to beat Ketchel over the 25 round disatnce. But over 12 rounds he'd probably only have fleeting moments, rather like he did against Sullivan.
I rate Ketchel as one of the truly great MW's, and I think he performed the best "clearing out" in the history of the middles. But there is a chance he would have become a man out of time trying to take on these new breed of scientists over shorter distances.