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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, February 23, 1910, Image 10

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Ten Thousand Men and Four Women See
Curtain Rung Down on Battling Nelson's
Brilliant Career in Prize Ring
Battling Xclson
took one beating
too many. Ad
Wolgast, a dark
skinned Gorman
boy from Milwau
kee, is now light
weight champion of
the world. The
end of Nelson's
championship came
at Richmond field
yesterday after
noon in the fortieth
round ot^a" contest
which had. been
scheduled for 45
*£eison was just
- raising his tired
arms to force another futile punch
against WolgastV flat face, when Kddie
Smith, the referee, stopped the contest.
.Smith grabbed one of Wolgasts gloved
hands and raised it as a sign that the
Milwaukee lad was the winner.
Xclson. a bloody Cyclops, his left eye
having been closed an hour before,
could not accept the verdict. Auto
matically he tried to struggle on. But
th<- fight was over. Nelsou. in all his
ring career had won his battles by
taking a beating and then coming back
indomitably for more until his opponent
ha. l no jnore to give. He could not
come back yesterday, though ho made
;i most tremendous effort, and in the
twenty -Fo<onil round it seemed that he
would i-bnie back and hold his cham
Rut lie could not seem to hurt the
youth from Milwaukee, who -came
;i;i..ush the fight showing scarcely a
Li-uisi- on his tough, dark skinned fac«*.
AVolgast showed the same pranieness,
•;n<ir«' endurance and considerably more
cleverness. Ho gave Nelson his worst
N'olson was in terrible shape. His
mouth and nose \u25a0were - bleeding, his
rauli flower car ran pcarlet. his left
<heck was puffed as if from neuralgia
and his left eye was no eye at al!, but
a black and blue and red bump on his
fa<*e. His Cyclopean right eye glow
ered wickedly and redly, but at times
he tried to wink with his discontinued
left eye. All he could do was to come
back automatically for more punish
ment, but such was his wonderful grit
and pluck that he did the leading all
the way, and even when the fight was
Stopped he was tottering forward to
ward his victor ready to take another
blow on his terribly swollen face in
exchange for the possible chance of
landing an effective right on the not
ioo strong Wolgast.
From 20 minute/; after 3 o'clock until
£ojr minutes of 6 the men fought yes
terday on the Richmond marsh. The
stun was shining fitfully when they
started in. It had set some time be
fore they ended their journey, and in
the gathering dusk, under a heavy sky
that was filled with the menace of rain,
the 10,000 men and three or four women
sat fascinated, unable to turn from the
bloody scene before their eyes.
It might not have been the most
patriotic way of celebrating- Washing
ion's birthday, but a pluckier contest
between two men could not have been
Nelson was the champion. He had
beaten all the other lightweights and
had finally downed Joe Gans. Wolgast
was decidedly • new. The betting was
2 to 1 that Nelson would win, and few
wanted to hazard their pile on the Mil
waukee boy. It was known that Nelson
would be beaten some time, but he was
still considered the "durable Dane.'' It
*va« not thought that his time was
• •nmiiig yesterday.
San Francisco sport followers invaded
Richmond yesterday In the face of a
threatened rainwitli a spirit that showed
them to be passionately hungry for a
fight. Richmond is not the most ac
<essible place to reach, though it was
easier to get there than to get away.
Probably the greater number of people
who went to the fight did not realize
lhat there was such a place aj? they
found at the other end of a 55 minute
ferry and I<* minute railroad trip. They
found a town with plenty of house* and
van areas of mud, which had been
neutralized In strips by crushed rock.
,\ fine drizzle dampened the spectators
a* they entered trie octagonal arena.
The feats had been placed on a board
floor, so the people were dry underfoot
at any rate.
The town did not lose an opportunits*
to boost itself. A real estate dealer
decorated one of the fences with a wise
suggestion. "I he poster read:
"Richmond is the largest city in Cali
fornia of its age. You fellows better
buy a lot with your winnings and make
some of the easy money."
No more sapient sign ever decorated
a fighting arena. Most fighting field
fence* in history have been.draped with
placards advising the winners on the
kind of wine they should buy for the
Rirls. A town lot, even if it is muddy,
• is 'a better investment than wine bot
tler, and the placard of the Richmond
oracle gave interesting figures on the
town's growth. These figures were: -
Pouplatlon— l9oo, 100; 1310, 13.000;
131 E. 20,000.**
The town was full of deputy sheriffs,
policemen and other digni
taries of the law. They were busy grab
bing ticket scalpers. Thlre was no pre
liminary contest yesterday, as there
should have been, because one of the
preliminary fig-hters, a versatile chap,
whiled away his time before the con
test by' peddling 1 scalped tickets. He
was arrested.
The ringside was the gathering place
of celebrities. Nat Goodwin, the come
dian, was there, and so was Robert
Mantell, the tragedian. Janifes Britt,
the father of ."Jimmy," who was con
quered by Kelson four years ago, sat
to see kelson come to his defeat. Ed
die Grancy and Tex Rickard were
there, of course. So were Senator Gus
Hartman and other politicians, sport
ing men and prominent people. Many
sailors from the warships in the bay
were among the crowd.
There was a long, long wait before
the lighters appeared. While the con
test was scheduled for 2 o'clock it was
2:35 beforc-Wolgas appeared and 15
minutes later before Nelson came into
the ring-. ....
Wolgast,, the new hero in the fight
ing game, is a chap 21 years of age,
with a shock of dark hair and a dark
skin. lie weighs less than 133 pounds.
He climbed into the ring wearing a
green bathrobe. When he stripped for
action he was in white trunks and
lighting shoes and wore a red and blue
sash about his waist. He is a hand
somely put up boy, with bulging mus
cles on his shoulders and rather lean
Irpp. His face is peculiarly Hat. His
nose, while broad, is set close to his
face. He lias a large mouth and a
hard smile at times.
Wolgast grew impatient over Nel
son's delay in following him into the
ring. '•Nelson will get fat while he is
waiting," he said, "but Til cut hihi
down to my size."
At 3:10 Nelson came in on the back
of Abdul the Turk. He had put on his
lighting shoes in his dressing room and
would not risk wetting his feet in the
-loppy arena. Nelson wore his 'red
shirt. He doffed it and stood in blue
knit trunks. 1
Billy Jordan, , the announcer, was
there to officiate. He introduced Wol
gast first as "The flying Dutchman of
Milwaukee — Ad Wolgast."
Nelson was introduced as "Still the
hardest nut to crack, the lightweight
champion of the world, Battling "Nel
Then came .a series of other people
to be introduced, including a youngr man
in a green plush hat, who proved To be
Sid Hester, the promoter of the fight.
There were photographers who want
ed poses of the fighters and that kept
up the interest. The men had drawn
on their red boxing gloves. Nelson had
a conspicuous "23" on' his. H| nearly
verified the prediction of the mitten.
The referee, Eddie Smith, a news
paper writer, appeared, to give a light
and jaunty touch to the picture. He
•was a shirt waist man and wore a
bonny little cap and properly wide
When Nelson, Wolgast and Smith
found themselves alone in the ring the
battle started. It Was then 3:20 o'clock.
The sun came out and warmed the
Nelson landed the first punch that
counted. He drew blood from Wol
gasfs mouth early in the first round.
That was a good red omen for the
Kelson camp. But it was discounted,
obliterated, forgotten before the flght
was far along, for Wolgast drew blood
from every corner of Nelson's face and
Nelson could draw little more from the
face that may yet make Milwaukee
In the second round Wolgast drew
his first blood from Nelson and
roughed the champion considerably.
"Don't hit his face, he's homely enough
already," some one shouted to Wolgast.
But Wolgast did not heed the warning!
The story; of the tight is a story of
blood — of Nelson's blood. The little
Dane had shed mueli blood In hie time.
It had afways been his game to wa«le
in .fields of gore, his own gore, and
when the blood was very deep to swim
out, leaving hig opponent drowned.
But he could not swim out yesterday.
He was busy over Wolgast. He
mauled the younger man. he punched
him and took an unaccountable num
ber of blows. Wolgaet had a wicked
f mash which he worked' on Nelson
again and again when they got at
close quarters. He would reach his
right over Nelson's shoulder and crush
a fierce blow rnto the Dane's kidneys.
But every one said that Nelson al
ways took punishment, that he thrived
on it and was not happy nnless lie
was being mussed up.
Wolgast cleverly boxed and ducked
and hit, and Nelson bled and hit back
and continually carried the flght Into
German territory. Wolgast had a
flexible forearm which he could whip
around I^plson's wrist .and get in a
punch to make the Battler's face the
more bloody. But Nelson was not
daunted. He^ kept boring in, busying
himself with Wolgast, makng v Wol
gast back and block, but' .all
the time Nelson was taking a piti
less rain of blows on the face and
body. Wolgast is a good boxer.
About the eighth round Wolgast
seemed apparently to tire. Busy Nel
son made him look like a kid. But in
the next round the Milwaukee boy
came back and walloped Nelson's ;bad
ear in a merciless sort of way. In the
twelfth round it seemed that Wolßast
was holding his own. : The Battler was
not coming back with his old time
fire — but the knowing ones sard.
"Never mind, he likes to lay back and
take punishment." .
Nelson rushed his man in the four
teenth, putting- him through the ropes,
but Wolgast winked at the motion pic
ture machine. He seemed a fighter, of
the Dane's school. \u25a0'.'.' ** -.* \V ~Z~,
The twenty-second round was to
have, been the one in ; which.' Nelson
would recover h.iinnelf and retain his
glory. He started in as briskly, as a
\u25a0terrier.. He haa .Wolgait staggering
The Lightweight Champion of the World
I fought \u25a0 careful battle, and
UK I havennid all nlonjs -ijan «iire
of lrtnnlnpr. .I' fonicht with more
care than I wanted to.- I wanted *\u25a0-
to wide In-mill tlßbt .\fl»on
fantrr, -lint my nmnnKor. Tom .
.lonm, innlf<e«l that I nbould obry |
bIM Instructions and ' take no *
chance*. l\ would ha'iV . finiitbed f
Arlson noonor had not 1 mj- man- -
aicer Interfered. . 1. think that
>el»on can whip any lightweight
In the ring- harrlnc mioclf, ami
I will bet- on; him siny time he
•tart*. I. Iran • dazed 'In the;
twenty-neeondironnd,' but K^rr I,
got * around -' tu'. myself \u25a0 a*;, fevt,
roundji Inter .1 was' 'hh good \nn
ever. I: nil frenb'. at; the finish »
and could have fought many, more '
round*. Ido not know .{unit What
I will do, Mr ninnaKrr hofKry.
eral big offers'to appear,'on 'the
stage. " Yes, I mljcbt fiitrht 'noon
If Inducements, are. aultable.- \u25a0 I \u25a0
will tight any one who Is looked
upon .as the best card.* I will
be here . until. Saturday, when I
leave ,for. Los Angeles, and then '
to Chicago.' " :
. --\u25a0:\u25a0 ..'-\u25a0 . ," .. ....._.:•\u25a0\u25a0• \u25a0 , '\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0'\u25a0 • r_ .'.\u25a0
all around the sing- The crowd, which
had been cheering Wolgast, changed its
tune and ye^d . for /Nelson.' . Bat
smashed one *oyer ; to ' Wolgast's . Jaw.
The Milwaukee! boy fell to;: his knees.
The *gorig \u25a0 sounded..' and \u25a0 -Wolgast. tot
tered to ,- his. corner. ."Everybody." cheeked
Nelson. ! He" was! the 'man to take, a
beating and-" then. f . to come back and
give a better." tafatirigjnireturn.
But : he dfdnT\eomef back. ;
Wolgast kept pluckily^ atlhis Work
In" the twenty-third^round. Nelson did
not | have' another -decided advantage.
He held '-Mb \u25a0bleeding
irom cuts' and ..lacerations;;^ with ~s his
cneek, horribly /"swollen, '- his , one « eye
closed. his;body<crlmson--with the stain
that-dripped '-[from' hisjHps.'. ,
His friends cheered 1 him ;on, and :hls
opponents -V taunted him -with"-' being
"beaten ;by *a :\u25a0 high ' schoolb oy.", ; Even
Wolgast .easedrup his^flghting.ia, mo
ment. to jab with; a* cruel'. word. >; "He's
\u25a0 - Thr nattier missed an old sec
ond like Willis llritt. In the
twenty-second round he had Wol-
Kamt at his niert-y.'" ' lie either Is
not like the: old Battler or:tl»p
br wnn not properly advised, lie
had-the next three rounds to win
the fight, hut inwteiid offdlsplay
ing Ills'* old time stamina, which
'made him a wonderful fighter, he.
: could not come buck.' Kelson
might .have been able to go to
the finlMh,' hut what was the use?
I did- not want 1? to", lake any
-chances, 'as. there i might V have
.been a tragedy' In the fight*: had"
'gone farther.:. "Wolgast' Is a good,
tough fellow. He nan not tired
at the finish and-, put up a-good,
heady battle. Nelson got the
worst of the butting, «;« he 'was
the taller' man. '\u25a0 Walt until, "Wol
,-gast Is fighting 13 years and/see.
how long he holds bis champion
ahlp. ' It Is ,the 4 same' old story..
-\elson'started:once too often.
so homely he makes me laugh," said
the "Flying' Dutchman." Then he pro
ceeded to make the Danp homelier. .
: It was a terrible beating that Nelson
took, but he took It cheerfully, deter
minedly and ..with" a malicious disregard
'for'his'bwn poor body. S His heart-beat
blobd "into: his arteries; and Wolgast
opened |up \u25a0 the veins .and j the ' blood
flowed out. But 1 the heart kept on vits
hopeless -work. Kelson tottered .'on . to
H'jivM very sorry tliat'iHeferee
Smith stopped the ngbt in'that
round. .There was still- a punch
left in my. richi hand and I still
hnil it dinnir (o Innd 11. \u25a0 I,Was
not. hacking up at the;finish.' but
was forcing the: tight, and .there
wiw no reason; for. him' to end
the battle the way he did. If I
wnn'bearen I wanted to be laid
low on the broad of mj-'back and
.then I here would have been no
question' about-.the result, and It
would have given Wolgast more
credit 'than .what '-be ; earned | by
Smith's 'decision. ° I was not hurt."
I .will admit" 1; w*"^'*^*-: hut 'I
had a chance v^t«»^ get my wind
again. | My.face did not. hurt me.
I was physically flit and I had the
heart to go on and flght. I will
fight AVolgast again,-; hut It must
he to ft finish and there, must be
no \u25a0 Interference..! by ; the .referee.
One or the oth"er must-take the
count ..before' he; Is 'declared'; a
loser. I • will-leave for j Chicago
;in Ihe morning to'keep my" the
atrical engaßement there.
punishment. * .Wolga'st'vwas^wary.* He
knew how. Nelson^ keeps a^ punch-, after
everything seems lost. The cautious
little ; "high school. bby":kept-hisr shoul
der humped up to; shield; his" jaw from
the blow. 'that • woiild- mean'.the • end of
his ; chances. :-': -' \ '*.*-• Vv-£ ; '- V ' «
It was growing dark arid, chilly. The
lithe; bodies'/were.!; blue with/ cold. ; The
clouds seemed aboutUo'spill'arairvbut
the'4wb ;men . in --the "ring/ kept, at", their
indomitable work-rrNelson;bleeding<and !
punching -recklessly; iWolgast dodging
and/ guarding. and' punching. cruelly, ;
.Fromjlforr/uof^ habit' or. with .his lion
hearted 1 instinct .{Nelson A tottered . into
punches, nnd :-WQlgastrimarke,d- for vic
tory," backed, and Sgiiardedand^punched.
- -Then ' the'end'ca^ie^Ll 1 -^" '- • A
"".*'- Everybody,'; was I glad-, when . the 'fight
was „ stopped.^ lt^was^a/-; good \ day - in
fiffhtins-jannals... .'lt i\had ' a
new - champion, , but", tlic. old V had gone
>down seeking > punishment,^ eager/t o
\u25a0take a ";, blow --.that ifevmight >get. the
chance" to'-glve-a^better'in-return^^; *
For Forty Rounds Men Pummel Each Other
Until Sport Becomes Butchery and
Strong Men Shed Tears
Battling "'Nelson,
the greatest light
weight champion
that the Queens
berry ring has ever
known, lost his
crown* yesterday
afternoon toAdolph
Wolgast in the for
tieth round in the
Richmond ring. Like
one of the gamblers
and all around bad
men of the early
plain • days. the
champion died with
his boots on. He
was / standing up
and fighting away*
with, all the spirit*.- ; 77--.
that was left in him when Referee Ed
die Smith stepped in.^brought the.bat
tle to an official close and awarded the
palm of victory to Wolgast.
There have been fights and fights in
California, but never another one like
this. No two men ever stood toe to toe
with each other and gave and took as
Wolgast and Nelson did. At first -the
great crowd marveled and cheered itself
hoarse, but as the rounds were reeled
off and the butchery became more ap
parent, the finer instincts of those at
the rfngslde were roused, and they
prayed for a fast finish. But the butch
ery continued and the battle waged
with all its fury till the referee hu
manely; waved his hand.
Even the Wolgast backers had tears
in their eyes as they looked over their
shoulders and took a last glimpse of
Nelson before leaving the ringside. If
ever, a fighter presented a pitiful ap
pearance Nelson was the man..
Two hours before he was. the cham
pion of the world, and considered in
vincible by the majority of i the fol
lowers of the prize ring.
Nelson was far from being the same
battler who in his day has beaten them
all. Instead he was but a mere shell
of the fighter as he was in his prime.
Before the fight had progressed 20
rounds the spectators who knew him
could see this. The Battler had noth
ing left save his fighting heart, and
this will remain with him till his last
day on earth.
But what good is a man's gameness
if he has nothing else to back it up?
This is the story of Nelson's downfall
in a nutshell. He started once v too
often. He thought he was the same
old tearing fighter, but, like Jim Cor
bett and Bob* Fitzsimmons, he was
forced to admit that the "something"
which made him a champion was lack
ing in his makeup yesterday.
Bruised and beaten, his face repul
sive to the eye, but still imbued with
the fighting sense. Nelson came up in
the fortieth round, weak and giddy.
Wolgast, fresh and full of confidence,
met hiß man in the center of the ring
and began to pound him with rights
and lefts to the head. Nelson's eyes
were closed and his teeth chattered. He
swung madly but vainly, and his mer
ciless opponent kept stepping in on
him and crowding him fast.
Suddenly the Dane reeled over to
ward the ropes and a fresh spurt of
blood issued from his lacerated mouth.
Wolgast was crowding him fast, and
the crowd was urging the former on
when Referee Smith stepped between
the men, stopped the fight and declared
Wolgast the winner.
Bleeding and crushed as he was, the
battered man rebelled. "Let me fight."
he cried. "Thi* fellow can't knock me
out. I want to go on. I .still have my
punch. L«t me at him." t
But it was too late.-" Wolgast was al
ready the champion. Smith shook his
head and cast a sorrowful look at the
vanquished gladiator. The crowd began
to swarm into the ring to shake the
hand of the new king of the light
weights. Nelson was carried to his cor
ner to be consoled as best his friends
and seconds, could comfort him... As
usual, the mob was with the new chara
\u25a0 Thursday,, Feb. 24, 1910
% Every facility for fine service and superior cui-~
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tlemen who appreciate refined surroundings.
French : and Italian Dinners Daily- (
„ I ALA CARTE ,| , '\u25a0\u25a0-
75c I V MUSIC l' 7s^
%$ TURK STREET, Hotel Paleßua^ng
; pion. lie was the victor and to him
! went the spoils.
Throughout those 40 bloody rounds
Kelson fought every, inch of the way,
but at all times there was something
lacking In him. He did not have h!s
old time steam nor his punch. He was
slow on his feet and wild with his
blows. He could not force Wolgast
around the rinff as he forced Gans ana
Britt and Younsj Corbett and Hyland
and a score of others. The stamina, the
substance, was not there. Too many
beatings had had their effect.
Nelson's only chance earae In the
twenty-second round, but he failed ut
terly. Near the middle of this period he
struck TVolpast a migrhty right swins,
which sent the little fellow reeling half
way across the ring:. Bat was slow in
getting: near his man. but he finally
landed and by dint of good body punch
ing drove him to the center of the rinp,
where they indulged in one- of their
many mixups, with heads locked.
Suddenly the Dane lashed out with
another right swing. It caught Wol
gast flush on the jaw and he fell to
the floor. He was almost done for then
and there, but though groggy and be
wildered he regained his feet and dkl
the best he could to defend himself.
Nelson was on top of him quickly,
but instead of finishing the fight he
was compelled to allow Wolgast to
clinch with him. hold 'on'and stall the
round out. For the first time the spec
tators realized fully that it \va3 not tba
Kelson of championship form who was
fighting. The old time Battler would
have completed hi» job within a few
seconds and everybody woulil iiave Son?
hom«*. Fut the Battler could not de
liver. Tie wm not there.
Wolgast came up for the next routu!
in bad shape. He was still sroggy
\u25a0 and weak and uncertain on his trot.
\u25a0The Battlrr dashed aftor him like a
' madman, but lie failed to makf goo.l.
He could not deliver the punch. Hid
strength seemed gone, and, though li<
knew thai he had his man where be
wanted him. he was« unable to put th»*.
finishing touch on htm.
During the next three rounds Wol
gast was In a bad way. He was slow
to come back and his friends were
praying for him to stay 23 rounds. It
certainly looked bad for him along
about the twenty-third and the twenty
fourth, and when Nelson failed to bring
the battle to an end in the twenty-fifth.
a mighty cheer -went up. for there had
been a lot of betting that the little fel
low would stick 23 rounds.
After the twenty-fifth Wolgast got
a new lease on life. His second wind
returned and he be^an to fight the
champion cleverly. He stepped around
the ring at a lively pace, blocked Nel
son's leads and shot in rights and lefts
to the head with lightnlnglike rapid
ity. Still, It looked as though Nelson
was holding something back and was
due to come on with one of his famous
rallies. The Wolgast admirers were
hoping against hope that their ma"n
might still keep on and outgeneral the
After the thirtieth had passed and
another volley of cheers had filled tft«
air the Nelson supporters began to lose
hope. They saw their great' champion
gradually slipping back. He was a
sight then. His face was beaten prac
tically to a pulp, both eyes were closed
and his body 'was covered with th<*
blood thaC trickled down from his
mouth and nostrils. Perhaps nobody
ever gazed at a more hideous sight than
Nelson presented. But still he was
fighting and rushing and doing the best
he could.
- From the thirty-fifth round on. the
Battler's finish could be seen. But few
of his stanch admirers conceded him
a chance then. Wolgast was clever
and cautious and he kept picking his
man off at will. Occasionally he vooKt
(ush and rough the champion around
he ring and the Battler was forced to
take it with only a mild comeback.
Try as he might he could not land an
effective blow on the sprightly little
fellow from Milwaukee.
Six rounds before the finish Nelson's
manager, John K. Robinson, made
many a frantic effort to toss the
sponge into, the ring, the signal that
his man had had enouarh. But the other
seconds in the Battlfer".«» corner would
not think of it and when Nelson re
turned to his chair in the thirty-flfth
he warned Robinson not to Interfere,
saying he was able to protect himself.
"I could not. bear to see Nelson be
ing subjected to an unmerciful beat
ing." said Robinson after fhe flght. "I
think too much of hfm. I knew he was
game and would fight till he could not
stand up, but it was awful to see him
being punched around that ring in the
condition he was. Wait till next time.
I know that he can beat Wolgast and
he will do it yet." .

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