I wouldn't want to knock the present generation of fighters, but for a real two-fisted character I'll take Paddy Calligan, the great hammerweight champion of the Nineties. Paddy could hit from any position, including on the floor, and it was said that he could knock out an ox. As a matter of fact he got in trouble with the S.P.C.A. a few times over that, but don't get the idea that Calligan minded knocking out people too. He loved it.
Even as a schoolboy Paddy scored kayos over a geometry instructor, a principal and two truant officers, but when he turned professional he really went to town. Inside of a year he had turned in an amazing string of quick knockouts, accounting for Jim Manceford in the 21st round, Mace Collins in the 43rd, Tip Monahan in the 37th and Harry Spanger in the 52nd. In each case the knockout came from the first blow he landed, and it staggers the imagination to think what Calligan could have accomplished if he'd had a little better sense of direction.
Paddy's greatest satisfaction came from his victory over Eddie Nelson at Llanffglaffahllllf, Wales. Calligan hated Welshmen. He also hated Englishmen, Scotchmen, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, Germans, Italians, Russians, trees, streetcars, birds, pencils, vegetables, odd-numbered streets, barbers, milk, New York, New Haven, Hartford, 2¢ stamps and anybody whose last name began with anything but C or S. He was pretty fond of hair mattresses, though.
June 5, 1955
But for all his truculence in the ring, Paddy had a keen sense of humor and was fond of practical jokes such as derailing trains, sawing through floor timbers of his friends' houses, and sending women telegrams informing them that their husbands had dropped dead.
It is a great tragedy that Calligan met an untimely death at the age of 23 in a peculiar accident that still defies explanation. He was found, securely bound hand and foot, hanging from a tree.