Triple shift

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New Style of Fighting

Ketchel has invented a new style of fighting, and it is far ahead of the old straight jab and get-away game. [Robert] Fitzsimmons beat all the middleweights and heavyweights of his time, barring only [James] Jeffries, by using a shift. Ketchel shifts, too, but he is continually shifting. He fights equally well with right or left foot forward. He uses what might be called a triple shift. First he comes in with both hands poised for starting a hook. He chooses his opening. It may be for the the left hand, either at the body or jaw. He slips a sudden hook over to the chin. Up comes the clever boxer's guard. The blow may or may not get through. If not Ketchel has already shifted his right foot forward, and at the same instant hooked the right hand for the jaw. Up comes the clever opponent's left arm to guard. That's about as far as the other fellow gets, for with both hands up, or his left up, he has left an opening for Ketchel's left fist. Either jaw or body is sure to be uncovered. Ketchel is always shifting his feet again, and his left fist hooks swiftly to the exposed target. The whole succession of blows is so swift that blocking is useless. He is sure to land, and land with all the shifting weight of his body behind the blow.

He fooled Jack O'Brien, the cleverest defensive fighter in the game and hit him with as little trouble as he might have in hitting a novice. Ketchel is much faster than Fitzsimmons in his prime. He outfooted O'Brien and refused to let him wriggle and dodge out of corners in his usual style.

Ketchel isn't a clever blocker, like Fitzsimmons. He fights wide open. But his continual shifting and his swift punching make him a bad target to hit.