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Thirsty P. McKinley was born on March 15, 1936 and lived until February 12, 1974. Although McKinley was a boxer and world champion in the lightweight and light middleweight classes, he fought under the nickname “Big Thirsty.” Throughout his career Thirsty P. McKinley accumulated a record of 41 wins with no losses. 38 of McKinley’s wins came by way of knockout or TKO. He retired undefeated at the age 31. It has been speculated that he retired due to a lack of competition. He was inducted into the boxing hall of fame on June 1, 1970. After his retirement, McKinley lived for only seven more years. During these latter years of his life McKinley wrote and illustrated a series of children’s books. These books were centered on the travels of a prize-fighting worker bee whose morals constantly came into question. Every book McKinley wrote ended with the lines “He did not do what was easiest, he did what was right.” McKinley wrote and illustrated a total of 923 children’s books during his lifetime. At McKinley’s funeral, his family, friends, and fellow boxers all gathered and told many stories about McKinley in his younger days. His mother claimed that it was his dream to write novels and would have done so his entire life had his father not urged him to become a professional boxer. His mother also claimed that all Thirsty ever wanted to do was please his father so he began to dedicate his life to the sport of boxing.

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