History: Stanisław Kiecal (September 14, 1886 – October 15, 1910), better known in the boxing world as Stanley Ketchel, was a Polish American professional boxer who became one of the greatest World Middleweight Champions in history. He was nicknamed "The Michigan Assassin." He was murdered at a ranch in Conway, Missouri, at the age of 24. He was born in 1886 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Tomasz Kiecal and Julia Kiecal (née Olbinska), whose family immigrated from the village of Sulmierzyce in Piotrków Trybunalski, Guberniya, in modern-day central Poland. He avoided school, instead falling in with a gang of street kids and often getting into fist fights. At twelve years old, he ran away from home, becoming a child hobo. As a teenager he lived in Butte, Montana, where he found employment first as a hotel bellhop and then as a bouncer. This profession obviously led to many scraps that established his reputation as the best fist fighter in town. Soon enough sixteen-year-old Stanley was performing in backroom boxing matches with older locals for twenty dollars a week. He began traveling throughout Montana, offering to take on any man brave enough to face him. Between 1903 and 1906, he lost just twice in thirty-nine contests and, in 1907, moved to California, where he knew most of boxing's big names and big fights waited for him. On February 8, 1908, Ketchel met the man who was generally recognized as the World Welterweight Champion and one of the leading middleweights of the era, Mike "Twin" Sullivan, knocking him out in the first round and winning general recognition as World Middleweight Champion. Sullivan often fought above the welterweight limit, making him a light middleweight. Whether Ketchel became world champion when he defeated Thomas or Mike Sullivan has always been up to debate, but the fact remains that Mike Sullivan and not Thomas is historically remembered as a world champion. He proceeded to retain the title against Mike's twin brother, Jack "Twin" Sullivan, also a former world champion, by a knockout in 20 rounds; against future world champion Billy Papke by decision in 10; against Hugo Kelly by a knockout in three and against Thomas, by a knockout in two. Then, he lost the belt to Papke by a knockout in 12, but Papke and he had an immediate rematch and Ketchel regained the title when he beat Papke by a knockout in 11 in their third match. Ketchel began 1909 by fighting reigning Light Heavyweight Champion Philadelphia Jack O'Brien. Ketchel survived a terrible beating at the hand of the slick, quick O'Brien in the early rounds, only to mount a terrific comeback and score four knockdowns in the ninth and 10th rounds. When the final bell rang at the end of the 10th round, O'Brien was lying unconscious on the mat, his head in a resin box in his corner. Under New York rules at the time, though, O'Brien had been saved by the bell and because official decisions were outlawed in New York boxing, the fight was declared a "no decision". A few weeks later, Ketchel had a rematch with O' Brien, knocking out Philadelphia Jack in three rounds. A fourth fight with Billy Papke followed. Ketchel again won in a tumultuous slugfest to defend his championship and end their series of fights with a record of 3-1 in their four encounters. This (fourth) fight took place in the outdoor Mission Street Arena in Colma, California, during a terrible thunderstorm, yet neither fighter relented in his pursuit of victory until Stanley took the 20-round decision. Ketchel fought Sam Langford on April 27, 1910. It was a hard-pressed fight by both men, each displaying terrific hitting power for all six rounds of the short bout. No knock downs were scored and both had plenty of energy in the end. Langford won by decision. A longer rematch bout was rumored, but never happened. Some disputed the decision, although a majority of people felt that Langford had won the bout, which following a decision-appealing vote, it was decided (in an uncontroversial manner) that it would stand as a decision win for Langford. Ketchel's 1909 battle with Jack Johnson has been called by many a modern-day "David and Goliath". In the 12th round, Ketchel floored Johnson with a right hand. Johnson got up and knocked out Ketchel with a right uppercut. Ketchel and Johnson were rumored to have been friends and to have gone gambling, as well as hit the brothels, together; they shared a love for women. Ketchel and Johnson planned to fight together. Because Ketchel was shorter than Johnson, he wore long coats to conceal the platform shoes he had worn to make him look taller at a publicity event. They set up a script for their fight to stretch it to 20 rounds, as a 20-round fight would guarantee boxing fans would pay to go to local theaters to watch the replay of the fight. After 12 rounds, Ketchel swung a surprise punch that knocked Johnson down. Regaining his feet, Jack Johnson knocked out Ketchel with a swift combination to Ketchel's head and jaw. Ketchel did not wake up for many minutes and some of his teeth were knocked out by the blow, some embedded in Johnson's glove. Offered here is an original, first generation photograph depicting Ketchel in fight gear.

Full description: This is an original, first generation photo. Has stamp on back from Gilliams Press Syndicate. Bold, clear image. Clean front and back. Not creased or torn. Minor edge wear. 4 1/2" x 6."

Size: 4 1/2 x 6

Categories: Antique Photographs (Pre-1930) - Ketchel, Stanley -

Condition: excellent

Quantity: 1

Price: $800.00

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