Battling Nelson, the Durable Dane

World Lightweight Champion, 1882–1954

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About the Book

Oscar “Battling” Nelson (1882–1954) was perhaps the toughest professional boxer ever to enter the ring. Although a Hall of Fame inductee, Nelson remains a lesser known great of boxing lore. From the beginning of his career at 14, the Danish immigrant presented himself as a man of integrity who never smoked, drank or took a dive.
In the ring and in public, Battling Nelson crafted a Renaissance man image as a lightweight champion, reporter, entertainer, real estate mogul, entrepreneur and ladies’ man. The first ever champion in his weight class to mount a comeback, he strove to break new ground (even if he wasn’t always successful).
This book tells the story of a ring legend whose endurance was second to none and whose trilogy with Joe Gans is one of the great rivalries in sports history.

About the Author(s)

Mark Allen Baker is a former business executive, author, historian, and writer of hundreds of articles and more than 20 books. He is the only person to serve the International Boxing Hall of Fame as an author, historian, chairperson, sponsor, volunteer and biographer. He lives in Hebron, Connecticut, and Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Mark Allen Baker
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: 66 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6372-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2625-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Preface 1
One—1882–1899: From Copenhagen to Hegewisch 3
Two—1900–1903: Making Headlines 20
Three—1904: Positioning for the Title 40
Four—1905: Five Memorable Lightweights 55
Five—1906: McGovern and the Fight of the Century I 76
Six—1907: Repositioning for the Ascent 102
Seven—July 4, 1908: The Fight of the Century II 117
Eight—September 9, 1908: The Fight of the Century III 128
Nine—1909: Retaining the Title 142
Ten—February 2, 1910: A Disappointing Loss 162
Eleven—1911–1912: Mounting a Comeback 188
Twelve—1913: Fay and a Final Descent 202
Thirteen—1914–1917: At Long Last, Freddie Welsh 213
Fourteen—1918–1954: The Final Rounds 234
Appendix: Records 255
Chapter Notes 262
Bibliography 279
Index 281

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “[Baker] enthralls the readers of the brutal encounters Nelson engaged in in his scrappy career…It is simply the best book ever written on the life of Battling Nelson. Not only does Mr. Baker bring to life the long forgotten pugilist, but his era is vividly reconstructed where the reader feels as if he were sitting in the early years of the 20th Century…To those fans who enjoy reading about a bygone era and the great fighter who plied their trade, this is the book for you. It is terrific….highly recommended”—The USA Boxing News