Stanley Ketchel, Boxer, the "Assassin"
G. R. Herald Article Below
Stanislaus Kiecal was born 14 September 1886 and died 15 October 1910.
In boxing he was better known as Stanley Ketchel, American middleweight boxer who became champion. He was nicknamed Michigan Mauler or Michigan Assassin.
Known as a playboy, his personality was compared to Billy the Kid. He was also known for taking on heavyweight boxers and he was seconds away from becoming world Heavyweight champion when he challenged Jack Johnson for the title. His method of preparing for fights was to think of his mother, with whom he had a close relationship, and imagine his opponent insulting her.
He fought in an era where scoring systems were not applied in most states and countries, so many of his fights were not recorded.
He started fighting in 1904 in Butte, Montana, this state having established a scoring system for fights. In his first fight, he knocked out Kid Tracy in the first round. He second fight he was beat by Maurice Thompson. He boxed 41 bouts in Montana and won 36 of them.
In 1907 he moved to California and won three fights. He had a rematch with Joe Thomas and knocked him out in 32 rounds. He was recognized by some as the Middleweight champion.
In 1908 he met Mike Twin Sullivan, brother of Jack Sullivan, who was considered by many to be the Middleweight champion and knocked him out in the first round. He retained his title against Jack Twin Sullivan, against Billy Papke, Hugo Kelly and against Thomas again. He lost to Papke but had a rematch and recovered the title.
In 1909, still retaining his title, he challenged Johnson, the world’s Heavyweight champion and the battle has been called a "David and Goliath" fight. It was thought that Ketchel agreed to fix the fight but go the full 20 rounds. This fight was one of the early ones that was filmed. In the 12th round, Ketchel threw a devastating right hand and flooring Johnson but he got up and put Stan out with a right uppercut. This blow hit Stan full in the mouth. He didn’t wake up for an hour and all of his teeth were knocked out and imbedded in Johnson’s glove. Johnson said of Ketchle, "That man isn’t human." Later, they were found playing craps together and Stanley relieved Jack of much of his prize winnings. The blow administered was believed to cause permanent brain damage and he was never the same, always "punch drunk".
His last year, Ketchel had a series of fights at the heavyweight division. He went to a farm near Conway, Missouri to train for a fight with Sam Langford. A jealous farmhand, Walter A. Dipley, caught his girlfriend, Goldie Smith, chatting on the night of October 14th and the next day while Ketchel ate lunch, he shot him to death.
Stanley Ketchel was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan. His funeral was one of the most well-attended event in Grand Rapids history.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was named number six among boxing’s all-time best punchers by Ring Magazine. His record is: 52 wins, four losses, four draws and four no decisions, with 49 wins by knockout.
Stanley Ketchel - Michigan Boxer
Obituary and Article on His Murder
OBITUARY – Grand Rapids Herald, 17 October 1910, Page 4
Stanley Ketchel – The body of Stanley Ketchel will arrive in the city tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock and will be taken directly to his parents home at Belmont, Pine Island Lake. The body will lie in state two days. Funeral announcement will be made later.
Ketchel Murderer Caught by Farmers
Springfield, Missouri, October 16 – Walter A. Hurtz, alias Walter Dipley, who shot and killed Stanley Ketchel at the ranch of R. P. Dickerson, 7 miles from Conway, Webster conty, Missouri, yesterday was arrested near Nianqua, Webster county, 17 miles from the scene of the crime, this morning by three farmers. Dipley went to the home of Thomas Haggard, one mile south of Niangua, last night and asked to be permitted to remain over night, which he was allowed to do. He arrived at the house about 8 o’clock. Mr. Haggard later hearing of the Ketchel murder, guarded the room occupied by the man until this morning about 4 o’clock when he went to the home of his brother, Joseph Haggard, and a neighbor, Zip Murphy, telling them of the man. He then called a newspaper office here for a description of Ketchel’s murderer and on receiving it said that he had the man at his home. The three men at once left for Mr. Haggard’s home.
Going into the room occupied by Dipley, they informed him of their discovery, asking him to roll up his sleeves to see if the tattoo marks were on his arm. Dipley acquiesced and immediately confessed that he had shot Ketchel, saying that he had done so because of the fear of his own life.
The prisoner then told of the alleged remarks made to Goldie Smith by Ketchel on the day before the murder, he feared that he would lose his own life, as the fighter had a revolver in a scabbard around his waist.
When arrested by Haggard, Dipley did not have the revolver taken from the body of Ketchel after he had been shot. He was immediately started to Marshfield, the county seat of Webster county, but on his way when asked where the revolver was said it was in Haggard’s barn. He was then taken to a farm house, where he told Mrs. Haggard over the telephone where to find the gun, which she did. Dipley was then taken to Marshfield and placed in the custody of Sheriff C. B. Shields and is now in jail there.
He refuses to talk much concerning the affair, and then only answers questions that suit him. He admitted late today that his real name is Walter Dipley, instead of Walter A. Hurtz, and that he had served four years in the United States navy, had deserted, and that his home is in Webb City, Missouri where he resided for the past ten years, with the exception of the time spent in the navy.
While in Webb City, Dipley worked in the zinc mines. His reputation there is not bad, according to police records, but he was known to be a little rough and to play cards considerably for money. After leaving the navy he had been working as a barber throughout the country while hiding from the officials who were hunting him on a charge of desertion from the navy.
He met the woman, Goldie Smith, in Christian county, at Bluff, the home of her stepfather, about a month ago, when, he says, they decided to live as man and wife. Dipley first met the woman ten years ago in Christian county, while she was single, but after leaving there he did not see her until they met a month ago. In the meantime the woman married a man named Knight, who later secured a divorce from her. She has been conducting a rooming house at Cherryville, Kansas since her separation from her husband. She admits that she and Dipley were never married. Dipley on his arrest claimed that the woman was his wife, but the officers have never apprised him of the confession made by the woman. He is being questioned by a number of newspaper men and the prosecuting attorney of Webster county and it is expected that the man will break down and give a complete account of the trouble. He is greatly alarmed and he has made many conflicting statements.
The remains of Ketchel will not be sent to Grand Rapids tonight, as had been anticipated for the reason that an inquest must be held before they can be taken away. The coroner of this county will conduct the inquest, instead of the Webster county official as the death occurred here. Coroner A. H. Nichols states that the inquest will be held tomorrow if possible, to allow the remains to be taken to the Michigan home as soon as possible.
Funeral services were held over the remains at the Elks Club this afternoon by Dr. J. T. Bacon of the Presbyterian Church, who took as his text, "Be ye also ready, for when ye thing not the "---" of God cometh." The services were attended by about 2,000 people, three times that many more being turned away because the hall would not accommodate them.
The body of Ketchel lay in state in a local undertaking establishment this forenoon and was viewed by thousands of people. The remains will be accompanied to Grand Rapids by R. P. Dickerson and General Emmet Newton, a sporting writer.
Created: 10 March 2006