Oscar Battling Matthew Nelson was without question the toughest and most durable professional boxer ever to enter a ring. Obscure, although he was selected by the Hall of Fame as part of their third induction class, unheard of yet often appropriately called the most hardwearing boxer in ring history, overlooked, yet many boxing historians rank him among the 100 greatest boxers ever.
From the moment he set foot in the ring, he presented himself as a man's man, a Danish immigrant of integrity who never smoked, drank or took a dive, and in both his pugilistic exploits and his often very public behavior established a heroic image of himself as an athlete-a world lightweight champion-and sportsman, reporter, entertainer, real estate mogul, businessman and lady's man. As the first champion in his division to ever mount a comeback, he broke new ground, even if it wasn't always pretty, or ultimately successful. In the years since his death in 1954, there has been little disagreement over the significance of his life: A bona fide ring champion, whose endurance was second to none, and whose trilogy with Joe Gans was one of the greatest in sports history.