STANLEY KETCHEL VS. SAM LANGFORD | Ringside Talk with Lou Eisen
EPISODE: Episode 4
Lou discusses April 27, 1910 six round middleweight fight at the Philadelphia AC between Sam Langford and Stanley Ketchel.
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[, Music, ], foreign [, Music, ], and I’m a boxing writer and historian – and this is room talk and today we’re going to talk about a wonderful fight that happened between the greatest fighter ever to have lived that never won a title.
Sam Langford from Weymouth Falls Nova, Scotia, Canadian and Stanley ketchal, which took place April 27th 1910 at the national Athletic Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania uh.
On the opening credits.
There you saw photos of um, Cacho and Langford Langford was interesting.
I was looking at stuff at Langford.
Last night on Wikipedia, I have a great book on him by Clay Moyle, which is the book to get and for Jack Johnson actually had to write them and make a notation there on the page that this is not Sam Lang for this photo you have.
This is Jack.
Johnson Johnson was 6-1 Langford with five six, so there was a definite difference in height, uh Langford was from Nova Scotia.
His father was a brutal man.
He was born in um, 1886 March 4th and used to get beaten up all the time by his father him and his.
I think brother and other siblings, foreign father was a dock worker and, of course, back then being black and on the waterfront, whether you’re in Canada, you know or anywhere it was a brutal life and so Langford at 14.
13 14 had enough because that’s the last weapon I’m ever going to get from my father and he left and he went to start working on the docks, different docs there Nova Scotia and did what many Canadian Fighters did in the maritimes.
He made his way down along the maritime Coast to Boston where you know he began his uh fabled and famed career um.
It was an interesting fight, stand the catch all the time was the world middleweight champion with Langford and with him with the golden Steve that was his nickname.
Capsule had no racism racism in him at all.
He was very good friends with a lot of black Fighters.
He was a lot like Terry McGovern.
In that sense, he liked people uh.
There was film that still exists of of Langford by the way, just film a catch-all too fighting Jack, Johnson and other people, but and we’ll get to that, but uh.
He this film of Langford, two of his fights Fireman Jim Flynn and uh and Bill Lang.
But uh, it should be noted too that um uh at when they fought after the schedule had four more fights and then he was murdered and uh uh the fight with ketcho.
Okay, let’s get to the fight with ketchup, Johnson or Langford fights.
Catcher Langford has a tough time coming up uh through the boxing ranks.
He beaten a lot of really good guys.
He beat Joe Ganson points, uh uh 1903.
He lost to Jack Johnson in 1906.
I think it was his 20th Pro fight and Langford Johnson had like 80 Pro fights and there’s been revisionist history about that.
As often happens in boxing, especially in Canada and people are saying well a lot of people in the audience or the writers felt that Langford won Langford didn’t win, he didn’t come close to winning Johnson dropped him uh it’ll, say in BoxRec six or one in the Sixth round, but he he dropped him four or five times and and Langford dropped Johnson once but Johnson dropped him four or five times, and he clearly won the fight he he gave uh Langford a good beating, but he could also see into the future Johnson and He could see what Langford was trying to do and he knew that eventually in two or three years time, Langford would be difficult to beat because to start boxing and in your 20th Pro fight fight, the best heavyweight on the planet is not an easy thing to Do and he went the distance uh Johnson, it was said, held him up at times, because Langford was set on his feet several times.
You have to understand.
Excuse me that Langford was uh.
Five, six, so Langford fought.
You know he fought a lightweights like Jack Blackburn.
Now, that’s an interesting fight, because Blackburn went on the train, The Immortal, Joe Lewis, and so Langford at the time I think was 135 or 138 pounds.
He was only five six and then he moved up and he fought welterweights.
He beat Barbados.
Joe Walcott gave him a terrible beating and then of course there was not much money in that and then he moves up and he fights he fights uh welterweights.
And then he fights his main category was middleweight to heavyweight the turning point in his life in terms of boxing happened when he beat Joe Gans in Boston at the Criterion Athletic Club, it was December 8 1903.
This changed Langford around because before that, Lankford was just a guy that followed you around and looked the land punches wherever he could.
He wasn’t looking.
He wasn’t thinking three or four steps ahead, which is what he became a master at Great Coffee Starbucks.
So what? How does that change? Why? How does Langford come go from being a really good fighter to being a an immortal? Well, what happened was after he beat scans he’s at a local bar and he’s sitting there with Gans and a bunch of people they’re all friends and a guy named George uh budge um buyers.
Now George Butch Byers was from Prince Edward Rhode Island.
Here’S the most incredible thing about this story of black fighters from from the Canadian Maritime so went on to become the best fighters in the world.
Today, the African Canadian population in Prince Edward Island is infantismal, it’s almost non-existent, so you can imagine what it was like in the 1860s and 70s and in 1850s there was a man.
The original George Godfrey was born.
He moved to Boston, he became a great fighter and John O’Sullivan wouldn’t fight him.
One of his proteges was the great middleweight another black fighter from Pei George budge, Byers and buyers beat everyone but couldn’t get a fight with the real Champion.
Tommy Ryan now you’re thinking Lou.
How does this play into Sam Langford? Well, Langford was at the fight between Gans or excuse.
Me Byers was at the fight between Langford and Gans and he was at the bar after and uh Langford certainly knew who he was and said.
You know I beat dance tonight yeah.
He said I saw you got lucky because then get lucky.
I beat him.
He said no, no, no! You you got lucky now.
Langford was smart enough not to tell him off.
Why do you say I got lucky? He said well, this was he said Joe, what let’s go right: seventh or eighth fight in the past 12 days yeah, so you caught him at the end of like eight fights I mean the guy’s exhausted, you beat them, but if he hadn’t fought in a couple Of months it’s unlikely you’d win.
You had him ready to go on certain occasions, but you didn’t do anything with it and he said what should I have done and buyers got up along with Joe Gans in the bar and they showed Langford what to do.
This is what you do.
Instead of throwing wide that right hand, keep jabbing with your left hand, hide the right hand, turn your body a bit to the side, so he doesn’t see it coming and then come over with it.
If you’re going to keep jabbing jab jab keep doing it and then one time instead of a double jab, throw one then throw the right hand.
So he was showing them all sorts of tricks to the trade which he could use to beat other Fighters.
And he was saying come there’s certain tell signs you can tell when another guy’s going to throw a particular punch and buyers went on to train him.
His manager was Joe Woodman, who, who was one of the few honest guys in the business uh um, train, Langford or manage Langford.
But buyers was the one who turned him into an all-time great fighter and – and it was interesting because George Godfrey was the one who turned buyers into a great fighter.
So you you have these Great Canadian black Fighters passing along their knowledge to each other.
And, of course, the very first at the beginning of that scale is George Dixon.
You know the first black man to ever win a world boxing title won, it lost it won.
It again prevented the speed bag invented Shadow Boxing, so there in that bar and you can see buyers on certain films of um Langford.
I just happened to notice it a couple years ago, watching Langford, filming and saying wait a minute.
That’S George buyers.
I can’t believe it and I was thrilled to have seen him buyers lived until I think 1938 working for the Boston electric company, but they became close friends and and once a lesson was learned, Langford really picked it up.
There’S lots of wonderful stories about Sam Langford, Langford uh underwent incredible racism and just let it roll off his shoulders.
In fact, when he fought in Paris uh at different fights, um, Paris, England, you know there’d be a white guy walking to him and he stepped off the sidewalk into the street and and uh British friend said.
What are you doing? Well, I’m letting the white gentleman pass and he said this isn’t the United States.
You don’t have to do that and he’d never encountered that being in Canada and the United States.
Whenever a white guy approached you, you would always step off if you’re a black man step off the sidewalk into the street.
That was the racism of the times, there’s another great story of when he fought at the national Athletic Club there, and they were talking about referees and Langford said I bring my own referee and uh and, and the British official said no, no, Mr Langford, you don’t Do that here here we have our own referee, that’s more of a Southern accent, but you know we provide you with it, because now I bring my own well, that’s not allowed and then Langford held up a huge right hand and said this is my referee um.
There was one of my favorite Langford stories and I made um Lennox Lewis laugh very hard with this and it’s a true story.
He was in a fight and he was told that, like a lot of black Fighters back, then you can’t really start fighting until after the seventh or eighth round you got ta.
Let the white guy get some rounds in.
You got ta.
Let him win a couple rounds.
You got ta, let him hit, you got ta, let him bloody you and he did, and then they said.
Okay, now you can fight after the seventh round.
So he comes it’s a 20 round fight at the as he comes out for the eighth round.
He touches gloves and the opponent says Sam.
What are you doing? You don’t touch clubs in the last round and he said you’re right but son for you.
This is the last round, and it was you knocked him out in fact, normally giving octagi out.
This was in Britain at the national um uh sporting club there.
He he there was a writer there for the uh for one of the papers who called uh uh Langford to coward.
He said he had a yellow streak.
That was a common insult, the black Fighters back then that they had yellow streaks.
They couldn’t take it into belly or they couldn’t take it into head, which reminds me of the great Joe Lewis line.
When someone said you don’t like getting punched in the stomach and Lewis said who does do you know anyone that particularly asked for that it? No one enjoys that so Langford uh positioned this guy, where he was he’s against the ropes but sitting in the first row was this writer who called him a coward of course, Langford knocked him out into the writer’s lap and then put his head through the ropes And said: hey boss, how’s, that for a yellow streak, so Langford was an incredible fighter.
There’S also another time where langford’s walking around the ring before the fight and he sees the the corner um using different stools, trying one stool, then another stool.
What y’all doing so we’ll see what still would work best in between rounds, mindful says: Ah, you, ain’t gon na need no stools.
In other words, it’s only going to go.
One round same thing happened when he saw his opponent’s ornament, cutting up oranges, it’s for him to gain energy.
You can suck on them between rounds and Langford, said well.
Ain’T gon na need more than one because it ain’t going more than one and he and he lived up to it both times.
Um Langford because of the racism of the time, fought the other great black Fighters, Joe Jeanette, an all-time great.
He fought him 14 times.
The great Harry Wells, who was 6’4 langford’s, five six.
He fought him 17 times.
He also fought Sam McVeigh 15 times, and they would give there’s a key that black Fighters would give each other.
It was just a regular key, but if you saw a black fighter that you thought was uglier than you, you’d give it to him.
That was a joke amongst the black Fighters and when Langford first saw Simon Faye said this is your key.
I think you’re going to be hanging on to it for a long time, so it was just a joke between them.
He also fought Fireman Jim Flynn, who held the one around knockout over Jack Dempsey uh.
He fought him six times, in fact, Dempsey when they said you weren’t afraid of any man.
He said I was terrified of um uh of Sam Langford.
When Dempsey was very young before he became the Big Jack Dempsey, he was still a teenager got to New York and he was managed by a guy named John, the Barbara Riesling, who, who was a criminal ripped off all his Fighters for all their money and then Put them in against Good Guys, where they wouldn’t last a round or two Dempsey.
It only had a handful of pro fights found out you’re going to fight Sam Langford next, and he just said no and he left town and he said years later and he became very close of Langford.
He just said Langford would have not only knock me out within a round or two he could have very well have ended in my life.
Had me so chosen so so chosen.
So he said uh I there’s no way.
I was gon na fight the great Sam Langford, so Langford has to fight all these guys and the thing about Jack Johnson was um when Johnson fought Tommy Burns in Australia and beat him for the world heavyweight title.
He’D signed a contract before that with the national sporting club in in London England saying that if he beat burns, the first type of Defense would be against Sam Langford at the national sporting club and and, as we know, Johnson easily beat Burns goes and travels.
All over the world after, but he didn’t honor the contract.
People say well, that’s you know that was uh typical back then of Johnson.
Yes, Johnson very rarely got under contracts, but that was also typical of boxing, and it still is today, so it wasn’t necessarily just Johnson, but Johnson did sign a legit contract, saying he’d, defend against Langford and Langford hated him for that for for years after and whatever He saw him, he said I’ll fight you for nothing, you know, but, but ironically, it was Jack Johnson who also drew the cutter line.
He only thought battling Jim Johnson near the end of his Title reign.
Who was a you know, middling fighter that passed? He wouldn’t fight any of the black Fighters.
Johnson had certainly fought them before he won the title and he knew how good they were, and at this point Langford was great and Johnson just said: no, I’m not going to take the chance, but Langford uh there.
There’S a misconception about Langford they’d say it he’s always known as the greatest fighter to never win entitled.
That’S true and then the other thing people would say.
Well he never had a chance at a title.
That’S not true! He.
He fought uh Barbados, Joe Walcott, for the world Welterweight Title and he he um.
This was on September 5th, 1904 at Lake Massachusetts, Coliseum in New Hampshire, in Manchester, New Hampshire and both guys weighed in 142 pounds and in his newspaper said you know, Langford clearly won.
I mean he beat and battered him all over the ring, but it was called the draw back in those times it was an agreement.
If I can’t knock you out, then the fight’s a draw uh.
It wasn’t a points, fight and Langford won.
There’S no doubt about that, but he wasn’t given the title enormously, given a rematch.
So what’s interesting here is Langford was dominant as a welterweight, a middleweight and a heavyweight I mean given the chance.
It’S a big.
If but you know, if no racism exists silly thing to say because it still exists, but if no racism exists back then Langford stood a good chance of being welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight champion of the world.
He was dominant in three different weight divisions over the course of his entire career.
Um Langford was supposed to fight uh Stanley Ketchum, and this fight, as I said, took place April 27 1910 at the Athletic Club in Philadelphia.
It was a six-round boat.
Now some records will have it as a no decision uh, but it was clearly a newspaper decision to win for Langford as he beat ketchup, but here’s some interesting stuff.
I just want to tell you right now about um about Langford Langford.
This happens every week.
I guess I’m losing my eyesight here.
Okay, so here we go so tell you how great Sam Langford was.
He had 314 professional buds.
He won 210 professional boats, 210 Fighters.
All the fighters fighting today added up together, wouldn’t be that 314.
Bugs 210 wins 126 Knockouts.
He lost 43.
Many of those losses were when he was legally blind.
There was a draw in 53 of them that 53 of them limit.
It’S not that the fights were equal, it’s that they just weren’t, given you know they weren’t giving out a decision at that time, so it was ruled to draw, and then of course, after that he had eight that were considered no contest, for whatever reason, whether he Was cut or the other guy was cut or they didn’t want to give a decision um.
He, the one.
The fight with Jack Johnson was a 20-round fight at the Lincoln uh athletic center in Chelsea, but it was for the colored world heavyweight title and you know the record his record and the record of Sam of Stanley ketchal.
So ketcho had 63 Pro Boats.
Knockouts and five losses and three draws: you have to remember that when ketcho lost a world middleweight title to Billy papke that came out to shake hands and Patsy walloped him and knocked him down and then continue to Wallop them and and finally stopped them in 12 Rounds of course, in the rematch he destroyed Papi because he was too smart for that to happen again, um the amount of times these guys, you know, fought each other and fought other Fighters because of the um racism of the time.
You know Sam Langford had to fight the best fighters out there who were black uh Joe Jeanette 14 times Sam McVeigh 15 times Harry Wills.
He had to fight 17 times and and uh.
I know I mentioned this before, but also fought Fireman Jim Flynn six times.
I mean, if you look at it these to fight the same guy.
That many times I mean we see.
You know many trilogies these days, chocolatito Estrada coming up, but the fighter guy 15, 16 17 times, simply because the best white Fighters won’t fight, you is is almost heartbreaking.
It’S hard to get up for all of them, but he managed to so this fight their fight.
Coming up in Philadelphia, uh, basically, what happened was ketchal said.
If you do well and you beat me or you put on a good show, but we’re going to make an agreement you’re not going to hurt me, I’m not going to hurt you.
The catch always made.
Those agreements he made the same amount of Jack Johnson and he never looked up to them and Langford trusted him because they were good friends Dad.
If you beat me in July.
Okay, because remember this fight this fight’s uh, going on in April, you know April May June July.
I will give you a legitimate shot at the world.
Middleweight title and Langford believes him and ketcha was telling the truth.
He had no reason to lie to him, and so the fight starts and Joe Woodman Who Loved Langford, who was his manager, said to him.
Listen, just you know, don’t go out and kill them right away.
Okay, I mean they were about this.
You know ketchup was a bit taller.
Their weight was about 165 each for the fight, but just you know give them a good fight.
Look good but don’t destroy him, because if you knock him out one or two rounds he’s not going to give you that title shot, whether he promised it to you or not.
So they go out for the fight and ketcho.
You know and and Langford aspiring the throne shots and then catch all Rings, langford’s Bell a couple times and he really starts to go after him, but Langford covers up, he holds his own, he parries catch up shots and they go back.
He goes back to his corner and Joe Woodman says you know Sam, I don’t think he’s living up to the deal and Langford says you think I think he’s trying to knock you out and Langford says I’m gon na have to fight all out, because if I Don’T he will knock me out and so Langford has to go out there and fight his heart out and he does and it’s a great fight.
Langford definitely wins the fight.
But back then you don’t have uh points decisions.
It was just a six round fight, but there were 13 writers ringside, you know from New York and Philly, so seven of the writers said: Langford clearly won four gave it to ketcho and two of them escorted a draw.
I don’t know who they were.
Maybe they were the entertainment editors, but they scored it.
A draw anyways after the fight Captain hugged him, and he said we’re on for July, and Sam you’re gon na get a big purse and and Sam was happy.
I’M gon na get a lot of money and it would be a legitimate title shot and this would be great because it’s April May June July, so I’m going to get a chance to actually train for this.
You know and uh you probably fight quite a few more fights so after that catcho has four more fights.
Ketchup was very well liked with inboxing.
You know when Billy Papi went to shake hands and ketchal extended his hand and then Pat hit him and dropped him in the first round.
Guys like Langford and Johnson were really upset because they love capital and they just thought.
That’S not how you do it.
That’S not how you beat the champion, so ketchall has four more fights, he wins the fights and he has a a farm and his farm.
I’M just looking for the address of his farm yeah.
It was in Springfield Missouri and he was born September.
4Th 1886 Stanley ketcho as the poems to Langford who was born uh um, it’s just a bit older March.
4Th 1886 in Weymouth Falls Nova, Scotia, so he’s on his farm and it was called.
They were apparently a husband and wife team working there.
They weren’t husband and wife.
They were grifters.
They acted like a husband and wife they’re, basically professional con people who, who would go out to different farms and places and gain the confidence of the people working there.
And then, when the people working there let their guard down, they would Rob them blind and one day quecho comes down.
You know on his farm he loved living on the farm.
He comes down to the to the kitchen where his safe is, and he sees this woman opening the safe and then taking the money goes.
What are you doing? Can take my money behind him.
There was an open window and her husband or her partner, shot ketchall in the back and catch it goes down and he lived for another three or four days, so he could name, he named them and they went to prison when his manager, Wilson Meisner, heard that Catch he was told you know.
While he was having dinner in New York, Stanley was shot in the back by a grifter and uh.
He said well count to ten and and ketchup will get up so uh the man’s name uh.
He gave his name as Walter Kurtz, but his real name is Walter dipley and the woman’s name was Goldie Smith and it was ketchall’s boss of the uh of RP Dickerson, who ran the farm, who hired them and uh um and apparently deeply shot him because katiel Had upgraded him, he had chastised him in front of everyone.
I think it was just a plain robbery and they got caught and that was it.
He shot him with a 22 caliber rifle and you know, apparently I mean there’s two stories.
He shot him in the back, but it’s also the story.
He said, get your hands up and then ketchall stood around stood to turn and when he turned around looked at him, he shot him and the bullet went into his shoulder and his lung and ketchall fell to the floor and then deeply took his handgun that he Had with him and smashed ketchall in the face with it repeatedly and um, then he went, you know his partner went and rifled ketcho’s Pockets.
It was terrible and uh, they ran from the ranch and then he told the farmer Ranch Foreman catch, a uh C Bailey.
What had happened and uh um, she told police and then the woman who was caught said that catch all raped her and that that was the reason why diplier shot him but of course, later on.
She recounted that and said he never raped me.
We were a team, we robbed a lot of farmers uh all over Missouri and uh it.
You know she’d lied completely and she admitted it um, but she said I I thought he would hurt him.
I didn’t think he was going to kill him and catch up with the reigning world middleweight champion at this time, so the award was offered five grand Dead or Alive.
You know to capture them and typically was captured at a neighboring Farmhouse the next day and uh.
It was just sad, so you know they both were found guilty of of murder and robbery.
Angoli Smith had her murder, conviction of return and uh, which was, I don’t understand, and she served 17 months for the robbery.
Walter dipley ended up serving 23 years before he was paroled.
He died in 56, 22 years after his release in prison.
He should have been in prison the rest of his life for what he did, because ketcho treated them well, yeah ketchal yelled at him, but that’s part of life having people yell at you like that.
That’S part of life when you’re working on a farm.
You know the guy can’t take that, then you know, but that had nothing to do with that.
They had planned all along to Rob him and kill him okay.
So we get to this fight there.
They are fighting in Philadelphia and, as I said, the first round goes by and it’s quechel’s round Langford comes out and he starts to fight back and he starts to ring.
Ketchal’S, bell and ketchal is is an interesting figure in boxing history because he was completely outclassed by Jack Johnson, but Jack Johnson was 6-1 Jack Johnson came into the fight over 200 pounds.
Capro was 160.
, so you know he wore a thick Overcoat weights in his shoes and his pocket when he stepped on the scale for that Langford wasn’t as tall as ketchup, but he was physically wider.
He was a bigger man, Mike Tyson isn’t tall, but he’s wide.
Like a Coke machine, so Langford was handling quechel, no problem, six round fight, and you know Langford comes back after dominating catching on the second round says to Joe Woodman his manager.
You know what am I going to do.
I mean if I knock him out or I I really dominate him, he’s not going to give me a title shot and he said it was in agreement.
It’S a written agreement he’s got an honor it.
So don’t worry about it.
You don’t have to knock him out, just beat him and so Langford we frame from trying to knock him out, but he he beat him.
He beat him for for the whole six rounds.
Why was it six rounds? Because that’s what happened back then, you know gave the public a chance to see two Elite Fighters going at it for a six round distance and third round catches Landing some good shots.
Ketchall is is beaten but he’s still doing.
Well, you know it’s not a landslide.
Quechel is still getting his shots in at Langford he’s taking langford’s best shots, remember the same weight.
It isn’t like catches or langford’s coming in 180 or 190.
they’re at exactly the same weight and langford’s just so gifted at slipping shots and and hiding his punches and lying him.
But ketcho’s phenomenally strong and they’re really going at each other and and it’s a very close fight.
You know third round catcho comes out and he starts to Wallop Langford, while it clinches him or well.
Okay, Langford clinches him and then Langford starts going back after him, and this went on for the third round goes on for the fourth round fifth round.
You know and they’re really going at it and the fight seems to be up in the air, but, as the fans who were there said, Langford is clearly the man dominating the fight.
Who knows what would have happened? Had the fight gone to 15 or 20 rounds, I think Langford would have stopped him because catch a buzzling for sure, but I don’t think at any time.
He hit him hard enough to stagger him or put any real fear into Langford.
If I go six rounds and there in the ring, it’s declared a no decision, although in those days you go to the newspaper the next day and the newspapers gave the fight to Langford, but catcho hugged him and he said you got your title fight, you know It will be in July so in the meantime, langford’s still fighting uh other people all the time and he he just you know uh he’s dominating all these other guys and uh.
You know Langford was it.
You have to see these stories to understand.
You know Langford knocked a guy out and went around once didn’t apologized publicly to the audience and the fighter, but he said I have a train to catch in 15 minutes.
I couldn’t afford to let it go more than one round.
I mean obviously acknowledging at that point that you know um, that uh uh the fight wasn’t on the level.
In other words, I was supposed to carry him for eight rounds, but because I knew I would miss my train, I didn’t want to pay twice for the same ticket, so I knocked him out.
Langford had a great career, a lot of his losses, uh near the end of his career and from from the teens on to 1926.
He was blind, legally blind and so at the international Boxing Hall of Fame.
I was talking about the Jack Dempsey and how uh he knocked out Fred Fulton, who had a really good record other than the fact Dempsey knocked him out in 18 seconds or 19.
, and this person said to me.
Well, you know full knocked out Langford right, but he knocked out Langford when line free was blind, so you can’t really say knocking out a man is legally blind is a legitimate boxing Victory.
Uh Langford had his career and he did well eventually after his career I mean he was, he was the Mexican heavyweight champion and, and he fought all over the world, he ends up in New York and he’s broke.
He’S penniles he’s blind and he’s living in the back of um a restaurant, and you know just him and his dog he’s completely blind and he’s got his house coat.
But you know, Sam didn’t complain, always smiling, always laughing uh wonderful person and a writer for the New York Herald Tribune named Al Haney found him and he wrote a column saying a dark man, laughs and when he said dark man, he didn’t mean a black man.
He meant a man who lives in darkness and he said it’s very, very upsetting to see someone who’s considered the greatest prize fighter ever to have lived over the last 300 years, living completely destitute and blind and living on handouts from the owner of a restaurant.
He was penniless so when this happened, this was 1944.
What all Amy did was Al Laney.
He helped raise ten thousand dollars from fans to help blankford Langford move to Cambridge Massachusetts to be with his family uh.
He was also that you’re enshrined in the ring Boxing Hall of Fame cam, the Sports Hall of Fame.
They held a tribute to him at Yankee Stadium, Jack Dempsey was the man who walked him in and uh Dempsey, loved him and uh.
They helped raise money, he had surgery.
Eventually, this is such a heartwarming story and, and he eventually got his eyesight back and there’s a clip you can see online.
This is one of the great things about YouTube and having all this stuff online, there’s a two-minute clip of him talking and sorry.
I don’t want to get emotional, but it’s very emotional to me because voice contracts, time so to hear Langford talk is a window not only into his soul into what it was like back then so to hear him talk and see him laugh.
You know and saying I got my eyesight back, maybe I’ll be able to see one of those pretty girls rocking You by and he laughed what really turned it around for Langford was in the I think, 30s or 40s in New York.
It was blind, it’s crossing the street.
He got hit by a car, ripped his jacket yeah.
He had less than five percent fish and ripped his pants mayor, fiorellio LaGuardia, who was Italian and Jewish uh, who was fluent Yiddish by the way [ Music ] um, was in front of the newspapers.
Helping Langford gave money for a new suit, gave him a lot of money, helped him out, and this sort of helped get Langford back into the public eye again that they shouldn’t be happening.
That’S such a great warrior, the thing about Langford.
Was he never blamed anyone? He never complained to anyone.
He never got ripped off by Joe Woodman.
He just thought the money would last forever and when he had it, he spent it.
Athletes back, then, were never canceled, but you got to save your money for this or you got to save your money for that that wasn’t a concept that existed at that time, so he never would have you know he wasn’t a stupid man.
It just never occurred to him.
He always thought after his career he’d be working as a judge or a referee or in some capacity, but he was blind.
So there wasn’t really anything he could do um.
So Langford, you know, lived the rest of his life in Cambridge Massachusetts and always had fond memories of ketchup.
Now you have to understand back in ketcho’s time in langford’s time, except for Jack Dempsey, let’s say in Jack Johnson uh for the heavyweight titles which, where you could say this guy was the guy that beat the guy.
It wasn’t like that in other divisions, because in the middleweight welterweight lightweight divisions, there were always several claimants to the title, so rarely a guy would come along, maybe like a Joe Gans, where you could say undisputably the world lightweight champion.
But this wasn’t like that in in the uh middleweight world – and you know, catch will beat Mike twin Sullivan in the first round to win the World middleweight championship.
But then again you know there were other fighters who claimed the world middleweight title at that time, but Sullivan was generally acknowledged to be the world middleweight Titleist and ketcho knocked him out.
He also knocked out his twin brother, another former champion in 20 rounds and, as I said he, you know he beat Billy papke by decision intend.
Then he knocked him out and then he beat Hugo Kelly ketchall every other claimant for the middleweight title was knocked out by kecho um uh after being knocked out by Pat Keane 12.
He destroyed a papi in 11 rounds and he could have taken him out in the first or second round.
He didn’t he wanted to punish him and um.
He took a terrible beating from Philadelphia, Jack O’Brien.
The world light heavyweight champ.
When he moved up.
It was a really smooth fighter and um.
He scored four knockdowns in the ninth and tenth rounds, but and O’Brien was lying unconscious, literally on the map with his head in the right in the uh rosin bag or rosinbox, but on the New York rules.
At that time, O’Brien had been Saved by the Bell and because of that, the fight was declared a no decision um and, of course they fought several weeks later in quecho.
Uh was not not that O’Brien in three rounds.
You don’t want to wait this time.
The fight with uh Langford had plenty of energy.
As I said lying for one by decision uh.
They said it was a rumor that they were going to have the fight in july.
It wasn’t a rumor it.
It was a legitimate thing that they were going to fight.
Quechel promised him in the ring.
There was a contract, he said yes, but and then unfortunately, ketchup was murdered and uh after he was murdered.
It upset a lot of Fighters, but especially Langford, not only because he thought that, and this really was his one-lone chance to get a world title shot um after after the Welterweight Title shot.
He really liked.
He he liked ketcho.
He called him Steve as I said, and he hung out with him socially a lot.
Kachel didn’t care.
What other people thought in fact, ketchal and Jack Johnson would go uh and and Corral’s uh [ __ ] houses all through the Midwest uh catchall didn’t see color.
He liked everyone and he loved the sport he was in so ketcho was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery at Grand, Rapids Michigan and until the Ford family came along.
It was the best attended funeral in the history of the state of Michigan and there’s a plaque and is on it that you can see if you go there, the corner of stocking Avenue and Third Street and there’s a statue of 438 Bridge Street North North West And the catch a valley, neighborhood on Grand Rapids west side is naming catches on her.
So, as I mentioned, Langford lived in 1956 he’d gone back to to hit a daughter when he was young.
His family grew to be very large.
He’D gone back to see his kids uh, you know and his kid and his grandkids and you know he would come by and visit New England Falls and they would use the blind man there.
They got your grandfather, that’s your great-grandfather.
You know he’s the greatest boxing that ever lived and he lived.
You know he lived a long long time in Langford, 1886 to 1956 and uh January 12th is when he died in Cambridge Massachusetts.
He’S considered by far to be the greatest fighter to never have won a World title and when you look at Ring magazine even writers today, it’s an interesting thing.
When you go to the Hall of Fame, the writer is my vintage.
When I say that I mean I’m about to turn 62.
, so a lot of people I spoke to, like my mentor or one of my mentors, um uh burnt sugar.
You know always thought highly of Langford, and so did so many other great writers, and they would say you know he he was the best in ever win a world title and my mentor Father Figure Angela Dundee never met Langford, but his brothers certainly uh knew him.
Uh Chris Dundee – and he said, Langford was a great fighter.
Great person and you know it’s doubtful guys today could have done well against him.
Imagine a fighter today like a Canelo, but he had more power and and and more Brio and more intelligence, and as well as the welterweight division would just simply be unheard of, because Langford wasn’t physically a big man, but he he was very well liked.
Within the sport uh he’s in the international Boxing Hall of Fame and as I said, if all the fighters that have fought in professional boxing over the last 300 years, no one, no one – has been at his level and not won a World title, and that was Langford langford’s also the linchpin, starting with all the migration of all the great fighters from the Canada’s maritimes down to Boston.
So it starts with the original George Godfrey, not the American Phoebe Williams.
He changed his name and then it goes to from from George Godfrey to to uh George Bunch buyers, who was the colored middleweight champion? That’S what they call it.
Godfrey held the college, heavyweight title and buyers also held that and then you get Langford, he trained so Godfrey trains, buyers, buyers, trains, Langford, you know and Langford helps out other Fighters and that’s the way it was done back then.
So Langford is really the linchpin in all of that he’s.
The most famous of all of them and still famous to this very day, still holds a hallowed place.
You have to understand something.
His last fight was 1926.
He was legally blind.
His Heyday was in the early 1900s, you know 1900 1910 and a bit beyond that and we’re in 2022 and yet any book that comes out of the greatest fighters of all time, like Bert Sugar’s book langford’s, always in the top three or four still still in The top three or four because tremendous skill, tremendous ring, smarts phenomenal one punch power when he was allowed to actually go out and let his hands go.
He could drop anyone anywhere anytime when he wanted to.
You know you talk about ali predicting around.
If there were no metaphorical handcuffs because of his skin color, he would have been able to predict every round on which he beat a guy, and these guys you see him when he knocks them down.
They’Re done they hit the canvas, they don’t move and these weren’t bombs a lot of them were very good Fighters, but lying for its skill, level and intelligence in the ring, and it’s balance was so Superior to anyone else on the planet that time, except maybe for Jack Johnson that Langford dominated boxing at that point, the shame, of course, is that he never got a chance to um a legitimate chance to win a middleweight title or the challenge again for the heavyweight title, because, ironically Jack Johnson drew the cut of line himself.
Even though he himself was African-American because he knew and he’d face Joe Jeanette and Sam McVeigh and and Sam Langford, he knew how good they were and he knew what was a big risk.
Fighting them, especially Langford, and he didn’t want to take that risk.
And that’s the Champion’s prerogative, but if you get a chance you know pick up Clay moyle’s book on Sam Langford, It’s a Wonderful book and also uh go to YouTube and watch both ketcho and Langford.
I don’t think their fight is on YouTube, but you can watch them individually, langford’s phenomenal, to watch you don’t really get a sense, sometimes of ketchup, because the film isn’t that great, sometimes it’s Granny, the ketchup was a gifted fighter.
Ketchal knew what he was doing in the ring.
He wasn’t just throwing punches willy-nilly and posing his eyes and throwing punches out the window as the old Trina, Charlie Goldman used to say he knew how to set a guy up.
Langford was brilliant as well at using a man’s own momentum against him.
You want to rush into Langford, face first, go ahead, but like a matador, he’s going to move to the side and catch you with a shot in the chin and you’re just gon na fall.
So many guys you see when they fight Langford dang, get hit and then hit the canvas and they don’t move.
And you wonder why the referees counting because langford’s in the corner, laughing joking with people and the guy, even after the Count’s over and the film, still rolls on for another one, two three minutes the guy’s telling the canvas he hasn’t moved his Corner.
Men are looking at the guy Jim Flynn, whoever it is, and the guy’s just not moving.
I mean he’s when Langford knocked you out you’re out for a good 20 minutes half an hour.
I mean he really.
He turned out the likes of a lot of guys.
There’S a lot of wonderful stories about uh about Sam Langford and how kind he was and and how much people truly loved him.
And that was evident when they had the benefits for him and had the one at Yankee Stadium, with uh uh with Jack Dempsey and Langford uh didn’t whine or complain about the loss of his eyesight.
He didn’t complain about his station in life.
The fact that he ended up broke, he said you know, I had more fun than Rockefeller, you know, and he did.
He said I traveled to Australia, England, France.
I was all over the world doing what I loved and you can’t have a better life than I had so he’s one of the all-time great figures in in boxing, and so is Stanley ketcho uh it’s hard to get a good reading on ketchal today, uh in Relation to today’s middleweights, but different kind of fighting, boxing evolves and and ketcho is the dominant middleweight of his time, and he was so good.
He beat heavyweights and light heavyweights and did so rather easily.
So these are two all-time great Fighters.
The Shame, of course, is the fact that they never had a chance to fight a second fight, because that would have been a 15 or 20 round fight and there would have been no handcuffs, uh, figuratively or metaphorically.
They could have actually gone out there and fought till their hearts content and that would have wouldn’t have been been one of the all-time greatest fights.
But if you get a chance watch film on both these man next week, uh we’ll be back and I’m still working on the getting the author of The Hurricane Carter book and I hope you guys have a great weekend.
This has been ring, talk, I’m little Eisen and we’ll see you again soon.