Battling his way from the coal mines to the middleweight championship of the world, Spring Valley, Illinois' Papke turned pro in 1905 and quickly made a name for himself as a terrific puncher with fantastic left hook and plenty of courage.

In 1908, he defeated Hugo Kelly and was ready to meet Stanley Ketchel for the world middleweight title. The two met three times in 1908, with Ketchel registering a 10-round win in their first encounter. In the second bout (Sept. 7th) Papke scored a 12th round TKO and the world title. He lost it back to Ketchel on November 26th and later lost their fourth and final match in 1909.

Following Ketchel's untimely death in 1910, Papke claimed the world title and beat Jack (Twin) Sullivan and Georges Carpentier before unsuccessfully challenging Frank Klaus for the vacant title in 1913.

Papke retired in 1919. On November 26, 1936 he shot and killed his estranged wife and then turned the gun on himself.

Born: Sept. 17, 1886
Died: Nov. 26, 1936
Bouts: 62
Won: 37
Lost: 11
Drew: 6
ND: 8
KOs: 30
Induction: 2001
Billy Papke
Courtesy of The Ring