Tony Glento dead at age 69; The life and times of Stanley Ketchel.


One of the most colorful fighters ever, Stanley Ketchel electrified the
country with his whirlwind style for 3 years before meeting a dramatic end.
Ketchel had a reckless attitude, fearless both in the ring and out.
Nicknamed "The Michigan Assassin", he had no problem fighting bigger men 
his perpetual motion, strength and exceptional stamina would bring them
down. Staniclaus Kiecel was born on 14 September 1886 in Grand Rapids,
Michigan. Raised on a farm by his German-Polish parents, he was a restless
kid who often got into trouble. When Ketchel was 14, his parents died, and a
year later he left Michigan riding the rods of boxcars. He drifted westward,
working whenever possible and engaging in unsanctioned fights when he
couldn't work. It is rumored that Ketchel was involved in as many as 250
fights before turning pro.

On 2 May 1904, a hungry and slim Ketchel walked into the Big Casino saloon
in Butte, Montana. It was a place that welcomed "knights of the road", as
travelers called themselves. A ring dominated the center of the bar, and on
this day the local Champion, Kid Tracy, was scheduled to fight a 4-rounder,
if an opponent could be found. Ketchel volunteered, entered the ring and
simply went to work. He did what he felt comfortable doing, which was to
keep throwing punches at his target until the opponent fell. A simple
strategy, but one that Ketchel perfected. He slaughtered Kid Tracy, knocking
him out in 1 round.

He continued to fight in Butte, going 35-2-3 (35) during the next 3 years.
He was outgrowing Butte, though, and migrated to California, then the boxing
center of the world. Unwilling to fight in anything but the main event,
Ketchel encountered strong resistance from the local boxing establishment.
After all, they reasoned, building up a record in Montana didn't mean that
you could fight in main events in California. He was eventually paired with
Mike McClure, a promising Middleweight. They fought on 23 March 1907 and
McClure was properly disposed of in 7 rounds.

After winning 2 more fights by KO, Ketchel rode into Marysville, CA. A
private detective wielding a blackjack was tipped by the railroad that some
hobos were riding on this train. The detective grabbed Ketchel, who had been
riding for free and swung the sap at him. Ketchel took the blow across the
face, buckling but not going down. The 2 fought for a bit before a Ketchel
left hook flattened the detective. He was carried off by the townspeople,
none of whom liked the sadistic detective. Coincidentally, Joe Thomas, who
was recognized as a major contender for the Middleweight crown, had been
promised a fight on 4 July there, but no available contender could be found.
Ketchel was signed up that night by the promoter. Ketchel dominated the
20-round fight but was handed a draw, to the ire of the crowd.

He would fight Thomas 2 more times, winning via 32nd round KO and a 20-round
decision. Matched against Mike Sullivan, he demolished Sullivan in a single
round. Mike's twin, Jack, held the World Middleweight Championship, and he
was put in front of Ketchel on 9 May 1908 in Colma, CA. In a torrid affair,
Ketchel swarmed Sullivan and knocked him out in 20 rounds to became the new

Ketchel was an active Champion, defending his crown every month. He beat
Billy Papke on points, Hugo Kelly in 2 rounds and Joe Thomas in 3. Rematched
with Papke on 7 September 1908, the opening bell rang and Ketchel offered
his gloves to shake hands, customary at the time. Papke instead
sucker-punched Ketchel on the windpipe, and Ketchel went down. He never
fully recovered as Papke administered a beating and eventually stopped
Ketchel in the 12th round to take the Championship. 2 months later, on 26
November, Ketchel engaged Papke in a rubber match. Ketchel never let up in
this fight and gave Papke a brutal thrashing, knocking him out in the 11th
round to regain the Middleweight Championship.

Ketchel then embarked on an east coast tour. He faced Philadelphia Jack
O'Brien, the current Light Heavyweight Champion, in a classic saga. O'Brien,
a clever and defensive boxer, dominated the first 6 rounds, easily sliding
around Ketchel's wild attacks and throwing his jab in Ketchel's face. In the
7th and 8th rounds Ketchel began to reach O'Brien and savagely pounded his
body while O'Brien clinched and stalled, determined to make it to the end.
In the 9th, Ketchel knocked O'Brien down for a 9-count. In the 10th and
final stanza Ketchel let it all go. He drove O'Brien onto the canvas twice,
and with a final right hand, knocked O'Brien down a 3rd time, his head
resting in the resin box at his own corner. The referee, Tim Hurst, began to
count but only reached 8 when the bell rang, ending the fight. Under New
York rules at the time, the bout was declared a no-decision although Ketchel
supporters believed that their man had knocked O'Brien out. In a rematch
less than 2 months later, Ketchel KOed O'Brien in 3 rounds.

After defeating Papke a 3rd time in a 20-round decision, Ketchel was faced
off against Jack Johnson, the Heavyweight Champion. Ketchel gave away over
50 pounds and 5 inches, but he didn't care. Johnson had been instructed to
"take it easy" on Ketchel, so the fight's movie production could be more
profitable. Johnson boxed him for 11 rounds, Ketchel getting some decent
shots in but not enough to win any rounds. In the 12th Ketchel landed a wild
overhand right hand which half-pulled, half-hit Johnson down. Johnson
grinned, got up, and unleashed a flurry, ending with a right uppercut that
sheared Ketchel's teeth off and sent him down for a 10-count.

Ketchel would engage in 5 more fights, including a 6-round no-decision
against the great Sam Langford, but it was apparent that his wild lifestyle
was eroding his skills. He was taking a well-deserved vacation in Conway, MO
when a hired hand, Walter Dipley, shot Ketchel in the back with a rifle as
the Middleweight Champion was eating breakfast served by Dipley's "wife",
Goldie Smith. Dipley accused Ketchel of "having his way" with Smith, but it
came out that Smith was currently on her 4th divorce, had led a life of
"varied careers" and the 2 were in fact not married. Both of them were found
guilty of 1st degree murder.

Ketchel died when he was only 24, a fabulous whirlwind of action and drama
his entire life. Ketchel never had any formal boxing training, but he is
compared to the great Middleweights of all-time regardless, a true testament
to his abilities. He had a huge following of fans who were enamored with his
power and ferocity. His final record was 52-4-4 (49) with 4 No Decisions,
and he defended the Middleweight title 4 times. He was inducted into the
Canastota Hall of Fame in 1990.

(The above story may be found at the Internet Boxing Record Archives site,

                              TONY GALENTO DIES

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 23, 1979)
By United Press International

LIVINGSTON, N.J. -- "Two-Ton" Tony Galento, who nearly knocked out
heavyweight champion Joe Louis one shocking night in 1939, died Sunday of a
heart attack after a lengthy illness. He was 69.

Galento had just undergone surgery last week for the amputation of his right
leg after losing his left foot in a similar operation one year ago. A
circulator disorder, caused by a worsening diabetes condition, led to
Galento's death, which occurred at 4:50 a.m. (EDT).

Galento, a man built like a beer barrel who hit like a mule, was an Orange,
N.J., saloon bouncer who, one evening in 1939, was nine seconds away from
knocking out the "invincible" Louis and winning the championship of the

Just another "easy mark" in Louis' "bum of the month" campaign, the
five-foot, 8-inch Galento, who weighed between 233 and 255 pounds for his
fights, had one great asset -- a left hook that could knock down a horse.

And on the night of June 28, 1939, Galento tagged Louis squarely on the jaw
with one of those hooks in the third round of a title bout at Yankee

Louis went down and 34,852 persons rose as one to see the supposedly
invincible champion on the canvas. And over him was a funny looking fat man,
who predicted before the bout: "I'll moider the bum."

It was the greatest moment of Galento's career but he paid dearly for it.
Rising from the canvas, Louis backpedaled through the third round and then
in the fourth, rained blow after blow on the outclassed Galento. One veteran
boxing writer calculated that Louis landed 27 consecutive blows without a
return. Finally, the fat man went down, his arms clutched around Louis'
legs, and was counted out by referee Arthur Donovan.

One of the longest shots in boxing history, Galento had failed by nine
seconds to pull off what might have been regarded as the sport's greatest

Galento, who liked to amuse patrons in his Orange, N.J., gin mill by popping
the caps off beer bottles with his thumbs, became one of boxing's showcase
individuals after that bout. He traveled to hundreds of hospitals, rest
homes and Army camps -- always at his own expense -- telling the story of
that single spine-tingling moment.

Funeral mass for Galento was scheduled for Wednesday.

                        HE WAS 'HOMICIDE HANK' FOR A REASON

(Special to ESPN SportsZone, Aug. 15, 1998)
By Larry Schwartz

Henry Armstrong, a 5-foot-5 buzzsaw, accomplished what no fighter before or
since has ever been able to do -- he simultaneously held three world titles.
And he managed this unique feat before inflation hit boxing, back when there
were only eight weight classes with no junior-this or super-that divisions.
Armstrong had a 151-21-9 record in his 15-year professional career. With his
aggressive attitude and incessant windmill style, he was all over opponents,
as evidenced by his 101 knockouts and his nickname of Homicide Hank.

As welterweight champion, Armstrong made his mark by successfully defending
his title 19 times in less than two years. But it was his triple crown,
accomplished in a 10-month period in the late 1930s, that gained him
everlasting fame.

First, he knocked out featherweight champion Petey Sarron in the sixth round
on Oct. 29, 1937. He won 14 fights before bypassing the lightweight title
and challenging welterweight champion Barney Ross for his crown on May 31,
1938. It was no contest, with Armstrong's rapid-fire attack overwhelming
Ross to gain the 15-round decision.

Taking away Lou Ambers' lightweight crown on Aug. 17, 1938 in Madison Square
Garden proved more difficult. Ambers had Armstrong spitting blood from a
torn bottom lip, and he cut the challenger's eyes as well. Despite almost
blacking out in the 15th round, Armstrong won a split decision to make

Born Henry Jackson on Dec. 12, 1912, in Columbus, Miss., he was the 11th of
15 children. His father, also named Henry, was a mix of Indian, Irish and
black blood. His mother, America, was half-Cherokee Indian. When Armstrong
was 4, the family moved to St. Louis. His mother died a year later, and he
was raised by his grandmother. As a youngster, he got into neighborhood
street fights. But there was a sensitive side, too, as he showed at his high
school graduation when he read an original poem.

As an amateur Armstrong fought under the name of Melody Jackson. He quit his
job working for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, figuring he could make his
fortune fighting for pay. His debut as an 18-year-old pro was inauspicious,
as he was knocked out in the third round by Al Iovino on July 27, 1931, in
Pennsylvania. It was one of only two knockouts Armstrong would suffer in his
career. His next fight was four days later, and he won a six-round decision.

Armstrong moved to Los Angeles, where he resumed his amateur status. He
teamed up with -- and took the surname of -- a trainer and former boxer
named Henry Armstrong. He officially turned pro a year later after failing
to make the 1932 Olympic team, and he lost his first two fights, both
four-round decisions in Los Angeles in 1932. Boxing as a featherweight, he
gained quite a bit of experience from 1933 to 1935, fighting 46 times,
mostly in California and Mexico.

In 1936, he won something called the California-Mexico version of the world
featherweight title, winning a 10-round decision from Baby Arizmendi, who
had beaten him in their first two bouts. Legendary singer Al Jolson saw the
fight and purchased Armstrong's contract. Jolson's front man was manager
Eddie Mead, who showed the fighter the road to Title Town.

The next year was an incredible one for Armstrong as he fought 27 times --
and won all of them. Twenty-six of the bouts were ended by a knockout,
including that of Sarron in their 126-pound fight.

But 1938 was an even better year for Armstrong, as he took the two more
championships. Although Armstrong was outweighed by at least 15 pounds by
Ross, he dominated their fight in Madison Square Garden, pounding the
champion unmercifully for 11 rounds. "I carried him the last four rounds,"
Armstrong said. "I was asked to do it, and he thanked me."

Ten weeks later, Armstrong's fight with Ambers was a war. Armstrong knocked
down the champ in the fifth and sixth rounds, but Ambers cut him severely.
"If you spit any more blood on that floor," referee Billy Cavanaugh told
Armstrong, "I'm going to stop this fight."

Armstrong had his cornermen remove his mouthpiece so he could swallow the
blood flowing in his mouth the last five rounds. Despite losing three rounds
on fouls, having both eyes cut and swollen, and needing 37 stitches later to
close the wound inside his mouth, Armstrong won a split decision. He had
fulfilled his goal -- he reigned as champion over three divisions.

But not for long. He voluntarily relinquished his featherweight crown, and
the next August he lost the lightweight title back to Ambers on a unanimous
decision. That fight, before 29,088 fans at Yankee Stadium, was another
brawl as the fighters pounded each other for 15 rounds. Armstrong was
penalized five rounds for low punches, and that cost him the fight as two
officials had Ambers winning by only an 8-7 margin.

After the decision was announced, the second fight started; both managers
and the New York State Athletic Commission were the participants. Mead was
suspended 13 months after accusing commissioner Bill Brown of favoring
Ambers. Al Weill, Ambers' manager, was suspended four months for his
unsportsmanlike behavior.

On March 1, 1940, in Los Angeles, Armstrong sought to become the first-ever
four-division champion when he attempted to wrest the middleweight crown
from Ceferino Garcia, whom he had decisioned in a welterweight defense in
1938. Fighting true to form, Armstrong applied pressure throughout the bout.
But Garcia shut the challenger's left eye and gained a draw, enabling him to
keep the title.

Seven months later, a fading Armstrong finally lost his welterweight title
after the 19 successful defenses, including six in 1940. Fritzie Zivic, a
veteran journeyman best known for questionable tactics, worked Armstrong's
eyes, which were scarred and vulnerable to cutting, and took a unanimous
decision. Armstrong fared even worse in their rematch in 1941, suffering a
12th-round TKO. That was the last time Armstrong would fight for a

After taking 16 months off, he came back and stayed around until 1945,
fighting 49 times although he had lost most of his skill. He finally did
beat Zivic, by decision in 1942, but Zivic was no longer champ. In 1943,
Armstrong lost a 10-round decision to an up-and-coming Sugar Ray Robinson,
who had idolized the three-division champion.

Armstrong's purses had totaled between $500,000 and $1 million, but most of
the money was gone when the Hall of Famer retired at age 32. Armstrong won
his most significant fight when he overcame alcoholism. He became an
ordained Baptist minister in 1951. Returning to St. Louis, he founded the
Henry Armstrong Youth Foundation and directed the Herbert Hoover Boys Club.

He died at age 75 on Oct. 24, 1988, in Los Angeles. After his death, his
heart was found to be one-third larger than average. That didn't surprise
anybody in boxing.