- Jun 28, 2016
He was a gangster amongst gangsters. James Jeffries was the world's heavyweight boxing champion, and he was good friends with Burns. One night, Burns and Jeffries were at a house where guys were playing cards, and in strolls Stanley Ketchel. Ketchel is undoubtedly the greatest middleweight boxer of that generation, a Roy Jone Jr. level. And a reputation as a bad mofo. But Jeffries has beef with Ketchel, because Ketchel had a fight with Jack Johnson in the run-up to Jeffries' fight with Johnson.Ah Gable.
Haha, that's a good story.
Back then, guys fought every couple months, so they booked a 'work' with Ketchel and Jeffries. So Ketchel, Jeffries, and Johnson have an arrangement that Johnson will carry the fight to a decision, Ketchel gets money from the film and gate and doesn't have to lose. Also, Jeffries is trying to downplay the White Hope in his fight with Johnson. But Ketchel uncorks a shot on Johnson in the 12th like an asshole, and Johnson responds by laying Ketchel straight the fuck out. For a couple minutes. Famous photo in all the papers. Now Jeffries' fight with Johnson is all about Strong Mean Sambo Negro vs White Hope. Jeffries is pissed
So Ketchel shows up to the card game, and Jeffries asks him to leave. Ketchel ignores him, deals in a couple more games. Jeffries looks at Burns, nods at Ketchel and says "put that fellow out." Burns, 160lbs at his peak, walks over to Ketchel, grabs him by the shoulder and goon-walks him to the door, giving a shove towards the steps. Ketchel tucks, gets in his car, and leaves.