Statue for Grand Rapids boxing legend unveiled

Posted at 12:56 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 12:56:35-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Grand Rapids boxing legend has a statue now in the city.

A bronze, 7-foot sculpture of Stanley Ketchel was unveiled Friday morning on Bridge Street between Summer and Winter Avenues by Peter Secchia and family and Grand Rapids city officials.  The event served as a kickoff for Pulaski Days this weekend.

Ketchel (born Stanislaus Kaicel) was a Polish-American, and was known as “The Michigan Assassin.” Ketchel’s legacy lives on as the subject of Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Light of the World.” As a professional middleweight boxer, Ketchel won 51 fights, 48 by knockouts, while suffering only two defeats and one no contest. Ketchel won the World Middleweight Title in 1907 and is regarded by boxing historians as one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history.

Ketchel’s life and promising career ended soon after his 24th birthday when he was murdered. His funeral at St. Adalbert’s Cathedral on Grand Rapids’ West Side drew an estimated 5,000 people.