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Thread: What if Ketchel had lived?

  1. #1
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    What if Ketchel had lived?

    Looking at Stanley Ketchel's record one sees victories over some good middleweight contenders- Joe Thomas, Hugo Kelly, The Twin Sullivans- and title claimant Billy Papke. But I am of the opinion that Ketchel died just as one of the division's "Golden Eras" was taking shape. While the aforementioned battlers were good(or, in Papke's case, VERY good) you would be hard pressed to compare them to the veritable avalanche of excellent middleweights of the post-Ketchel era(though Langford and Klaus were ranked during SK's reign).

    Here's a list of the top 10:

    Sam Langford
    Mike Gibbons
    Jack Dillon
    Frank Klaus
    Georges Carpentier
    Les Darcy
    Jeff Smith
    Jimmy Clabby
    Eddie McGoorty
    George Chip

    I have my ideas on how Ketchel would have fared against these guys, which I'll post later. How do you folks think he would have done? Would he have remained champion for many more years or would he have been dethroned by one of these gents?

    Looking forward to reading what you all have to say.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    Let me get the ball rolling(these are 15-round fights, btw). I have already stated in another thread that I think Langford ko's him quick. He was just a better overall fighter and proved much more in his career than Ketchel did. Stanley's record is almost anemic compared to Langfords.

    vs. KLAUS- They fought to a draw but from what I heard SK looked awful before the bell even rang for round one. Klaus was tough as nails and strong too, but he was a slugger and thus would play right into Ketchel's superior firepower. It would be a barn burner for about 5 rounds before SK would land one of his patented warheads and knock Klaus out. KETCHEL KO 5

    vs. CARPENTIER- Georges could make things interesting with his powerful right hand and overall skill. But Billy Papke ravaged him(Carpentier called it the worst licking he ever received) and we all know what Ketchel did to Papke. Georges fights well and checks Ketchel's mad rushes for awhile, but Stanley will nail him sooner or later. KETCHEL KO7

    vs. SMITH- Harry Greb called Smith the toughest, most difficult fighter he ever faced. Was knocked out only 4 times in 155 bouts(all in the waning years of his career) despite facing an incredible array of middleweights, light-heavies and heavyweights all over the world. Smith had considerable cleverness and defensive prowess and would make Ketchel look silly at times. But Stan would keep boring in and landing his haymakers with more frequency as the bout wore on. He wouldn't stop Jeff, but his dominance in the later rounds(in which he would score the bouts only knockdown) would secure him the win. KETCHEL W15
    Last edited by Surf-Bat; 07-13-2008 at 06:16 PM.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    vs. GIBBONS- Mike was a defensive wizard, a sharp jabber and an excellent counterpuncher who had brilliant footwork. These would serve him well against Ketchel. Despite having had 133 bouts against top flight opposition(many champions and hall of famers dot his resume) he was never once stopped. He made the much faster and busier Harry Greb miss in both of their bouts, so he would have no trouble making Ketchel miss. Plus his undented chin is proof that what few punches Stanley did land Mike would be most likely able to take while peppering the wide-open "Michigan Assassin" with fussilades of quick counters. GIBBONS W15

    vs. CHIP- George was tough, durable and could take a blow. His 1 round ko loss to Al McCoy is still one of boxing's great mysteries, but at his best he was a dangerous fighter who could take you out if you weren't careful. But like Klaus George liked to mix it up and swap powershots, which isn't a good thing when fighting someone like Stanley Ketchel. Chip makes things interesting in a short, entertaining bout but eventually succumbs to Ketchel's tireless ferocity. KETCHEL KO4

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    The Darcy and Dillon bouts are going to be the toughest to call, really taxing to the imagination if you know much about the careers of these men. Anyone care for a stab?

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    Surf-Bat, I'm really not sure Ketchel would have done a whole lot more in the sport, if even anything, had he not been murdered, as he was reportedly in physically really tough shape in the last couple of months before he died due to his hard living lifestyle.

    Earlier in the year (around June or July) Ketchel expressed wishes to only fight two or three more times, and one of those was to be an August date with Bill Lang, which Ketchel had to pull out of due to what the papers called a "severe breakdown", as well as the papers stating that his condition was "so serious that it is doubtful whether he will ever be able to indulge in a championship fight again". That was in mid August, and a couple/few weeks later when he returned home to Grand Rapids, Ketchel himself admitted to the press that he was in really bad shape, and always expressed that it was likely that he'd have to give up his middleweight title to Hugo Kelly without ever fighting again.

    Also, when he was murdered in Oct of that year, the reports coming out about his death were stating that Ketchel was told by the doctors that he wouldn't live out the year if he didn't change his lifestyle, so, while he was said to have been recuperating some at the farm he was killed at (described as being quite thin and pale when arriving there a month earlier), it's tough to see him coming close to the best of the form he was showing in previous times. That is if he would have even came back, at all.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    Yogi-

    Correct you are. I had read the same. So let's for arguments sake say that he had a few more prime years left then. Do you think he could have remained THE dominant middleweight? The competition got pretty fierce after 1910.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    If Ketchel had lived he would have lost to Langford later in 1910, that was the point of their 6 rounder earlier in the year to promote a second fight for the title.
    Langford would have beaten Ketchel in a title fight. I cannot think of one thing that Ketchel did better than Langford.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    Stan was in a bad way at the time of his death - drinking heavily - as he always did - and heavily into opium if one believes the stories.

    His death was romantic and timely - as terrible as that might sound.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike casey
    Stan was in a bad way at the time of his death - drinking heavily - as he always did - and heavily into opium if one believes the stories.

    His death was romantic and timely - as terrible as that might sound.
    Do you think- had he arrived on the scene a microgeneration later- that he would have been dominant? Could he have remained champ had he had to fight the middleweights of 1911-1920?

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    If ketchel had not been shot he would still be dead today.

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    *sigh* Et tu, Mike D?

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    Re: What if Ketchel had lived?

    Surf, I think Stanley would have been dominant in any era, if that's your point. I would love to have seen a scrap between Ketchel and the wonderful Harry Greb - I simply don't know who woukld have won that one.

    Runyon famously said that Ketchel and Joe Louis were the only genuine two-handed killer hitters he ever saw - and marvelled at Stanley's innate ability to retain his balance even after throwing the hardest of swipes.
    Last edited by mike casey; 07-18-2008 at 07:25 AM.

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