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Ad Wolgast-Michigan Wildcat

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  • Ad Wolgast-Michigan Wildcat

    This great lightweight was so aggressive in his fights that in the end he sustained permanent brain damage which led to him being institutionalized as a mental patient. Adolphus Wolgast, as he really was called, was the world lightweight champion between 1910 and 1912. He was known for his ability to take a punch and also hit pretty hard, scoring 40 ko's in 60 victories. He was only stopped 3 times in 13 losses. This is the story of "Michigan Wildcat", Adolphus Ad Wolgast.

    Born 8 February 1888 in Cadillac, Michigan, his younger brothers Johnny and Al were also boxers. Wolgast stood 5'4 and had a reach of 65 1/2 inches. He turned professional at only 18 in 1906. On 11 December 1908, he fought the legendary Abe Attell in a featherweight 10-round fight and it ended as a newspaper draw. On 13 July 1909, he for the first time fought Battling Nelson and beat him by a newspaper decision in 10. The two would square up again on 22 February 1910, this time with Nelson's lightweight world title at stake. The fight was held at Arena in PointRichmond, California and it was a savage, brutal war, as both guys were known for their aggressiveness and the ability to absorb punishment. Wolgast was down in the 22nd round before prevailing by a 40th round TKO. New York Herald Tribune called it "the most savage bout they had ever seen". After losing a controversial decision in a non-title fight to Jack Redmond and two to Knockout Brown in another non-title fights, Wolgast made his first defense against George Memsic, whom he already beat twice, and won by TKO9, 17 March 1911 in Vernon, California. He made his second defense only TWO WEEKS later when he beat Anton LaGrave by TKO5. In fact, he won all his world title bouts by stoppage, except the last successful defense, which was a draw. He stopped Oakland Frankie Burns by TKO17, Owen Moran by KO13 and Mexican Joe Rivers by another KO13 (yet this was a very controversial victory). He made his sixth and last successful world title defense by drawing against Joe Mandot. He finally lost the world title when he was disqualified against Willie Ritchie in the 16th round, 28 November 1912 in Daly City, California. After nearly being knocked down by a long right in round 16, Wolgast landed two low blows on Ritchie and thus was disqualified.

    Next year, he again beat Battling Nelson, this time by a newspaper decision in 10. In January 1914, he again fought Mexican Joe Rivers and this time it ended as a draw after 10 rounds. On 12 March that year, he fought for the world title again against Ritchie, but was down in the seventh and lost a 10-round decision. On 2 November same year, he was stopped for the first time against Freddie Welsh by TKO8, after breaking a small bone in his right arm. He was stopped for real for the first time against Frank Ray Whitney, by TKO5 in December 1915 and then again only THREE DAYS later against Leach Cross, after getting both his eyes closed and with blood streaming from the wounds, by TKO6. The horrific punishment he sustained in all these fights would mark him seriously. He again fought Freddie Welsh on 6 March 1916 and lost another decision in 10. On 4 July that year, he faced Welsh again, this time for the world title, and lost by a disqualification in 11. In 1917, Wolgast was declared incompetent and a guardianship was established for him. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1918 and was then put in a mental hospital, from which he then escaped. In December that year he was again found competent by a Los Angeles court and terminated his guardianship. He returned to the ring next year and had 6 fights, but won only one, by KO8 against a 0-1 fighter, drew 3 and lost 2. After his last fight on 6 September 1920, which ended a draw against Lee Morrissey, Wolgast continued to train under the wing of manager Jack Doyle, but never fought again. He was constantly promised another bout, but it never came. Finally, in 1927, Wolgast was again institutionalized and remained in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. Tragically, after being interred in a new hospital, the guards had heard he was a "tough guy" and beat him up. According to another report, they were trying to restrain him and got too rough, breaking his ribs. He died on 14 April 1955, of heart complications. Though there have been reports his death was caused by the beating, it was apparently incorrect. Ad Wolgast died at 67 years of age and was first inducted into the IBHOF in 2000.

    On an interesting sidenote, his brother Johnny, born in 1897, is by boxrec still listed as alive!

  • #2
    --- Boz, boxrec don't have an death update for their record, so bro is long gone.

    Does Ad hold the KO record for the longest fight?

    Hmmmm...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
      --- Boz, boxrec don't have an death update for their record, so bro is long gone.

      Does Ad hold the KO record for the longest fight?

      Hmmmm...
      Might just be. I doubt there are any later ko's. And about the brother, the other one does have a death date listed, that's what's odd...

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      • #4
        --- Joe Jeannette , one of my fav boxers, KOed Sam McVey in the 49th for the colored hvy title...epic fight to the finish where Joe had to climb off the deck several x.

        https://boxrec.com/media/index.php/J..._vs._Sam_McVea

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
          --- Joe Jeannette , one of my fav boxers, KOed Sam McVey in the 49th for the colored hvy title...epic fight to the finish where Joe had to climb off the deck several x.

          https://boxrec.com/media/index.php/J..._vs._Sam_McVea
          Oh holy crap!And another sidenote-Midget Wolgast is not or was not related to Ad. His real name was Joseph Loscalzo. Why he chose that last name I don't know.

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          • #6
            --- Ad legend after KOing Nelson after 40 rds, so Midget would be like Jersey Joe Walcott and Jack Dempsey adopting famous fighting legends.

            Or given Ad had two bros, maybe like Moe, Larry, and Curly had Shemp as their adopted bro...yuk-yuk-slap-yuk-yuk!

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