GAVE PAPKE FIRST LESSONS. ~ Ernie Potts, or Kid Selby, Reviews the Fighter's Beginning.

September 8, 1908

Ernie Potts, or Kid Selby, Reviews
the Fighter's Beginning.

"So Billy has won again. Well, what do you think of that?"

It wasn't the wail of a disappointed sport who lost money on the fight yesterday. It was the expression of genuine surprise from the man who taught Billy Papke his first lessons in boxing, and who thought two years ago that Papke would never amount to much. Ernie Potts is his name. He, with Mrs. Potts, is doing a bag punching and singing turn at the Orpheum this week.

Two years ago Potts was doing stunts with a show that broke up at LaSalle, Ill. A few days later he drifted down into Spring Valley, and there met a man who asked him if he wouldn't take hold of a young miner who had the ambition to become a prize fighter. The young miner was none other than Billy Papke, who was then going on in preliminaries at $6 per.

Potts's introduction to Papke occurred in a little grocery store in Spring Valley, where he had fixed up a punching bag. After a few rounds Potts saw that the young man might be made a fighter, and at the earnest solicitation of the man who is now Papke's manager he secured work in Spring Valley and gave Papke lessons for six weeks.

"He's a good, tough fellow, with an unlimited amount of endurance," Potts said last night. "I was in his corner in the first professional fight that he ever made. He was inexperienced at the time, as any young fighter would be, and for the first four rounds was inclined to stand up and box with his man. But he was cool -- just as cool as any old fighter I have ever seen, and when I told him to bore in like Nelson does, he went at it and whipped his man in the seventh round.

"But even at that I didn't think much of the kid's possibilities. He was determined, though, and told me time and again that he was going to work his way to the top. I told him to keep at it, just to encourage the boy along."

Potts is a fighter himself. He is better known as Kid Selby, and under that name he has won no less than thirty-four fights. His home is in Minneapolis.