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Terrors of the Lightweight Brigade: Ad Wolgast and Battling Nelson

In one of the most savage fights of the 20th century, mortal enemies Ad Wolgast and Battling Nelson tore at each other before 18,000 fans in Richmond, California, for the right to be called lightweight champion of the world. On February 22, 1910, these two ironmen, in the days when drawing first blood was still a betting proposition, nearly murdered each other between the ropes. Finally, after nearly two hours of combat, Wolgast won via TKO in the 40th round when referee Edward W. Smith saved a defenseless Nelson from permanent injury. In the end, neither man could escape the frightful punishment accumulated in the ring. Nelson and Wolgast both wound up in sanitariums, with Wolgast, to his last sad and distant days, still "training" for a rematch with Nelson. Andrew Fruman presents a look at the fight from the viewpoint of those involved over a century ago. By Andrew Fruman
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