It is not easy, when we are out of moves, to find the courage to refuse our own sake so as to preserve another one bigger.
This is the story of Billy Miske, one of the strongest boxers of the first years of 1900, who decided to sacrifice his life in order to save his family from a fated and uncertain future.
He was born as William Arthur Miske in Saint Paul, Minnesota from a family of German origin in 1894. He began to fight as a professional early but he immediately managed to highlight his characteristics as a medium weight in 1913: in fact he was said to have a good punch, an excellent technique.
Futhermore the same Dempsey, his renowed rival, who faced him three times and who esteemed him, argued that it was really difficult to hit him as he was able to evade and stop every actions.
Since his beginnings, the Miske’s career seems to be anything but easy: first of all, generally a middleweight had to fight really often to get decent bags and mostly against the best. Then, he was a young man from the Midwest and for that reason he never had too much support from the local press at the time, although he used to combat the best boxers of his time.
Knowing that fighting would have accelerate his death, he decided, anyway, to keep on staying in the ring because all his boxing earnings had been invested for his future and his family in the car sales sector, but the business was failing: he did not want to die leaving his widow wife with her children in a misery condition, so he began an authentic tour of force sinking the best of its time to eliminate debts and make something remain a legacy.
He climbed in the ring about 23 times from 1919 to 1923. He disguised his illness to journalists by pretending that he was training in a discreet place at a small lake in the Minnessota: actually, he had already some difficulties walking and had to stay often in bed. In these conditions he had the opportunity to combat against the great Jack Dempsey winning a huge bag of about 19 thousand dollars that allowed him to take off most of the debts.
Later Dempsey would have written that he had realized that he was not the usual Miske but he defend him from the accusations that “Billy was afraid of him that day”, instead he commented that was a fight full of braveness.
Miske made his last sacrifice on 7 of November 1923, which would have beed exalted by the journalists as the behaviorof the Hurricane of the better times. No one noticed his state of health, nevertheless Miske reached to defeat Brennan, indeed he put him on the fourth shot, definitely saving his family by the debts.
Six days later, on the morning of the new year, that first of January 1924 Billy Miske died at the age of 29, fighting until the last moment of his short life.
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