Frank Gotch flirted with the idea of boxing throughout much of his wrestling career. After Jack Johnson beat Tommy Burns, Gotch's name was sometimes mentioned as a potential "White Hope" capable of taking the fistic laurels away from the black champion. The following appraisal of Gotch's talents in this area comes from Tommy Ryan, the great nineteenth century middleweight, who worked with him for a time in Milwaukee:
"The big fellow is not well versed in the art of boxing, despite the fact he has had a number of private tilts with 'Kid' McCoy and he has had several fights. I thought he knew enough to cut loose and whale away with both hands, just to demonstrate that fighting and not clever boxing was his idea of the game, but he was away off at that sort of work. Do I think I can make a fighter of him? Well, that depends on him. i do not think he will be of the scientific class, but he should make a clever slugger if he follows my instructions."
Shorthly thereafter, Gotch signed for his first match with Hackenschmidt, putting any boxing aspirations to rest.