1909-07-05 (158lbs) Stanley Ketchel w pts 20 Billy Papke, Mission Street Arena, Colma, San Francisco, California, USA
1909-07-05 (158lbs) Stanley Ketchel w pts 20 Billy Papke, Mission Street Arena, Colma, San Francisco, California, USA. Referee: Billy Roche. Billed for the championship at 158lbs, it was a poor fight from Ketchel's point of view. Although Ketchel blamed his performance on breaking his right hand early on, the truth of the matter was that Papke had found a way of negating his power by staying close. The tactic also enabled Papke to get his own blows off to advantage. Gilbert Odd, the well-known historian, described it as: "Give and take, no clever stuff, no real boxing; just a toe-to-toe bruising battle, each waiting for the other to show a weakness", while the referee stated: "Never did I imagine that two human beings could stand such punishment". In his book, The Michigan Assassin, Nat Fleischer wrote: The men fought like bulldogs from gong to gong. Each delivered punch after punch that would almost have felled an ox, yet neither could get across the wallop soporific". In what was the fourth fight between the pair, Papke winning one of them, the general consensus was that it could have gone either way. It was also felt that had it been a finish fight Papke would have won.
Having had his crack at Jack Johnson for the heavyweight crown, in January 1910 it was announced that Ketchel was relinquishing the title due to increased weight. On hearing the news it was no surprise that Papke, who was campaigning abroad, claimed the crown.